This paper (minimum 800 words, submitted via email) builds on the “Coming to Terms with Issues” activity. Our main goal is to advance our own positions in response to an issue but to do so by countering another text in some way. With this in mind, it will help to remember Harris’s (2006) thoughts on countering:
Countering looks at other views and texts not as wrong but as partial—in the sense of being both interested and incomplete. In countering you bring a different set of interests to bear upon a subject, look to notice what others have not. Your aim is not to refute what has been said before, to bring the discussion to an end, but to respond to prior views in ways that move the conversation in new directions. (p. 56)
Your writing should address the following prompts and questions:.
- Ultimately, you should advance your own argument in response to the issue, and your argument should emerge out of the work that you do to counter another text. Toward that end, some part of your paper should address a text that makes an argument in response to the issue. You should “come to terms” with the text, giving us a sense for the author’s project and how they develop and support their argument. You should also “counter” this text by drawing on Harris’s notions of “arguing the other side,” “uncovering values,” and/or “dissenting.”
- As you counter the main text and build your own argument about the issue, be mindful of opportunities to support your thinking by making specific claims and offering specific evidence and examples. This would be a good opportunity to draw on outside sources that help you support your thinking. In this sense, even though your main goal is to “counter” a text, you are also welcome to “forward” other texts to help you support your argument.
- The introduction of your paper should identify the issue you are addressing, give us a sense for why it matters and why it is controversial, and begin to establish your argument in response to the issue. The conclusion should reinforce your argument, giving us a sense for how you think the issue should be addressed and what you hope readers will do.