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15.7: Suggested Short Readings

  • Page ID
    80154
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    This list contains various articles, sample arguments and repositories instructors may use in a composition or critical thinking course. All readings use a Creative Commons license, which lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the text to varying degrees.  

    Readings by theme

    Gender and identity

    1. The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (7-14). Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes her experience as a young child in Nigeria who was exposed to British and American literature instead of African literature. She posits that not having exposure to different facets of human life can create an alarmingly uncomplicated understanding of others. As an African, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been stereotyped numerous times, and as a novelist, the author implores readers to be mindful of incomplete stories and to seek balanced narratives. This article and TedTalk can be used to illustrate how an argument establishes trust and connection because of the speaker’s many personal examples. Licensed CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

    2. Where Does Anti-LGBT Bias Come from—and How Does It Translate into Violence?” by Dominic Parrott. This article analyzes the roots of anti-LGBTQ+ hate and how it may be addressed and can be used to analyze how an author makes a recommendation in response to an argument, as it attempts to answer the questions: “What spurs on these acts of violence [against the LGBTQ+ Community]? Can we do anything to prevent them?” Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    3. “For the parents of gender-nonconforming kids, a new approach to care” by Tey Meadow.  Meadow argues that parents and clinicians should accept gender-nonconforming kids’ self-assessments about their gender, even when the children experience some ambivalence. The article explores one child’s story, playing on emotions and building trust around a delicate topic.  A good example of a writer situating their claim within a larger conversation and responding to counterarguments. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    Superheros and film

    1. How the New ‘Aladdin’ Stacks Up Against a Century of Hollywood Stereotyping” by Evelyn Alsultany (20-26). Evelyn Alsultany, Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, argues that the live-action Aladdin film does not do enough to combat Middle Eastern stereotypes. Since this article is complex yet clearly organized, it would make a good example to use throughout Chapter 2. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    2. Shadows of the Bat: Constructions of Good and Evil in the Batman Movies of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan” by Simon Philipp Born (81-111). This scholarly article evaluates the mythological struggle between good and evil as seen in Tim Burton’s and Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, pointing out that these filmmakers upset the typical black-and-white polarity of good versus evil. Licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

    Technology

    1. How fake accounts constantly manipulate what you see on social media – and what you can do about it” by Jeanna Matthews. Matthew highlights a popular controversial topic involving social media and discusses how readers can take action to fight against misinformation. This is a good reading to have students recommend a response to, as everyone likely has experience with social media. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    2. That time the Internet sent a SWAT team to my mom’s house” by Caroline Sinders. Sinders describes online harassment and describes why online platforms need to take harassment more seriously. Licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

    3. The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students” by Andrew Lepp, Jacob E. Barkley, and Aryn C. Karpinski. This is a great academic journal article that investigates an approachable topic but still contains all the components of a journal article. Licensed CC BY 4.0.

    Politics

    1. Must the President Be a Moral Leader?” by Michael Blake (69-73). Michael Black explores how a President’s character and virtues may impact leadership. However, the differences between right and wrong are blurred in the world of politics. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    2. Millionaire Candidates” by Carl Schurz. This historical letter written in 1886 by Carl Schurz details the author’s outrage over rich individuals seeking office who have not spent time in public service and bribe their way into office. This text is a great example of how an argument establishes trust through distance and formality (Chapter 9.3). In the public domain.

    3. Ending the Secrecy of the Student Debt Crisis” by Daniela Senderowicz (367-369). Activist and author Daniela Senderowicz gives a bleak overview of the American student debt crisis: flat incomes and skyrocketing education costs leave many students in financial ruin. However, activism and community building can be a solution to crippling debt. Licensed CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

    4.  “Journalism, Fake News, & Disinformation handbook” by Julie Posetti et al. Interesting reading for a course investigating contemporary political issues. It would pair nicely with “How Fake Accounts…” by Jeanna Matthews (see above). Licensed CC-BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

    Race in America

    1. Demanding Equal Political Voice…And Accepting Nothing Less: The Quest for Latino Political Inclusion” by Louis DeSipio. DeSipio outlines how Latinx communities have slowly gained a louder political voice in the U.S., though he highlights that the movement still has a long way to go before achieving true inclusion. This text is a great example of a thoroughly researched piece of writing.  In the public domain.

    2. Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom, 1855” by Frederick Douglass. This is Douglass’s second autobiography and is a full-length text that develops the theme of transitioning from bondage to liberty. In the public domain.

    3. "On Reparations, the Question Isn’t If, but When and How" by Zenobia Jeffries Warfield. Warfield outlines the history of the movement for reparations for slavery in America and makes a case for a way to implement reparations policy. Licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

    Nature and the environment 

    1. Coronavirus closures could lead to a radical revolution in conservation” by James Stinson and Elizabeth Lunstrum. This piece explores the tensions between the needs of wildlife and our desire to promote park visitation as a way to increase human health. It suggests that we shift our paradigm and think about balancing these goals to promote “planetary health.” Good for showing how to limit a claim and how to handle counterarguments. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    2. It’s OK to feed wild birds – here are some tips for doing it the right way” by Julian Avery.  A scientist takes us on a quick tour of the research on the good and bad impacts of feeding on wild bird populations.  He concludes that if people follow certain guidelines, the benefits outweigh the risks. Good for showing how to limit a claim, how to treat counterarguments, and how to show causality. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    3. Climate change is really about prosperity, peace, public health and posterity – not saving the environment” by Ezra Markowitz and Adam Corner. The authors argue that the public would respond better to arguments about the urgency of climate change if they were framed in terms of direct impacts on humans. This is an example of a meta-argument, an argument that makes a claim about how we should think about something. Good for illustrating how to tailor an argument to an audience by prioritizing the things that audience values. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    4. The emotional lives of animals” by Marc Bekoff (61-68).  This article plays on readers’ emotions through word choice and anecdote to convince us that animal behavior shows that animals experience strong emotion too.  Students might debate whether the article has the right balance of examples and analysis. Licensed CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

    5. Climate explained: why carbon dioxide has such outsized influence on Earth’s climate” by Jason West.  A scientist explains in lay terms how science came to understand the role of different gases in the atmosphere.  He aims to convince us that increased carbon dioxide actually could cause significant warming.  Good for illustrating how to develop trust through authority, distance, respect, and goodwill. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    6. “Which water technology will save California from its long, dry death?”  by Kiki Sanford. This article creates a sense of urgency about California’s water prognosis. It then explores in some detail current private-public partnerships to improve desalination and wastewater reclamation technologies.  Useful for showing definition and causal argument. Licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

    Readings by argument type

    Definition arguments

    1. Climate explained: why carbon dioxide has such outsized influence on Earth’s climate” by Jason West.  A scientist explains in lay terms how science came to understand the role of different gases in the atmosphere.  He aims to convince us that increased carbon dioxide actually could cause significant warming.  Good for illustrating how to develop trust through authority, distance, respect, and goodwill. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.
    2. Demanding Equal Political Voice…And Accepting Nothing Less: The Quest for Latino Political Inclusion” by Louis DeSipio. DeSipio outlines how Latinx communities have slowly gained a louder political voice in the U.S., though he highlights that the movement still has a long way to go before achieving true inclusion. This text is a great example of a thoroughly researched piece of writing. In the public domain.
    3. The emotional lives of animals” by Marc Bekoff (61-68).  This article plays on readers’ emotions through word choice and anecdote to convince us that animal behavior shows that animals experience strong emotion too.  Students might debate whether the article has the right balance of examples and analysis. Licensed CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

    Evaluation arguments

    1. The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (7-14). Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes her experience as a young child in Nigeria who was exposed to British and American literature instead of African literature. She posits that not having exposure to different facets of human life can create an alarmingly uncomplicated understanding of others. As an African, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been stereotyped numerous times, and as a novelist, the author implores readers to be mindful of incomplete stories and to seek balanced narratives. This article and TedTalk can be used to illustrate how an argument establishes trust and connection because of the speaker’s many personal examples. Licensed CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

    2. Must the President Be a Moral Leader?” by Michael Blake (69-73). Michael Black explores how a President’s character and virtues may impact leadership. However, the differences between right and wrong are blurred in the world of politics. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    3. Millionaire Candidates” by Carl Schurz. This historical letter written in 1886 by Carl Schurz details the author’s outrage over rich individuals seeking office who have not spent time in public service and bribe their way into office. This text is a great example of how an argument establishes trust through distance and formality (Chapter 9.3). In the public domain.

    4. Ending the Secrecy of the Student Debt Crisis” by Daniela Senderowicz (367-369). Activist and author Daniela Senderowicz gives a bleak overview of the American student debt crisis: flat incomes and skyrocketing education costs leave many students in financial ruin. However, activism and community building can be a solution to crippling debt. Licensed CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

    5. How the New ‘Aladdin’ Stacks Up Against a Century of Hollywood Stereotyping” by Evelyn Alsultany (20-26). Evelyn Alsultany, Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, argues that the live-action Aladdin film does not do enough to combat Middle Eastern stereotypes. Since this article is complex yet clearly organized, it would make a good example to use throughout Chapter 2. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    1. Where Does Anti-LGBT Bias Come from—and How Does It Translate into Violence?” by Dominic Parrott. This article analyzes the roots of anti-LGBTQ+ hate and how it may be addressed and can be used to analyze how an author makes a recommendation in response to an argument, as it attempts to answer the questions: “What spurs on these acts of violence [against the LGBTQ+ Community]? Can we do anything to prevent them?” Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    2. The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students” by Andrew Lepp, Jacob E. Barkley, and Aryn C. Karpinski. This is a great academic journal article that investigates an approachable topic but still contains all the components of a journal article. Licensed CC BY 4.0.

    3. "Which water technology will save California from its long, dry death?”  by Kiki Sanford. This article creates a sense of urgency about California’s water prognosis. It then explores in some detail current private-public partnerships to improve desalination and wastewater reclamation technologies. Licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

    1. “For the parents of gender-nonconforming kids, a new approach to care” by Tey Meadow.  Meadow argues that parents and clinicians should accept gender-nonconforming kids’ self-assessments about their gender, even when the children experience some ambivalence. The article explores one child’s story, playing on emotions and building trust around a delicate topic.  A good example of a writer situating their claim within a larger conversation and responding to counterarguments. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    2. How fake accounts constantly manipulate what you see on social media – and what you can do about it” by Jeanna Matthews. Matthew highlights a popular controversial topic involving social media and discusses how readers can take action to fight against misinformation. This is a good reading to have students recommend a response to, as everyone likely has experience with social media. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    3. Climate change is really about prosperity, peace, public health and posterity – not saving the environment” by Ezra Markowitz and Adam Corner. The authors argue that the public would respond better to arguments about the urgency of climate change if they were framed in terms of direct impacts on humans. This is an example of a meta-argument, an argument that makes a claim about how we should think about something. Good for illustrating how to tailor an argument to an audience by prioritizing the things that audience values. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    4. It’s OK to feed wild birds – here are some tips for doing it the right way” by Julian Avery.  A scientist takes us on a quick tour of the research on the good and bad impacts of feeding on wild bird populations.  He concludes that if people follow certain guidelines, the benefits outweigh the risks. Good for showing how to limit a claim, how to treat counterarguments, and how to show causality. Licensed CC BY-ND 4.0.

    Repositories of additional open-licensed readings

    1. The Conversation” uses a Creative Commons license to share free articles across a wide geographic and ideological spectrum.

    2. 88 Open Essays: A Reader for Students of Composition & Rhetoric”  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

    3. Thematic Reading Anthology. This anthology uses open-licensed readings organized by theme, including consumer debt, literature, culture, and so on.

    4. Reading Anthology: Three Levels. This anthology houses open-licensed readings on a variety of topics divided into three levels. Each reading had a faculty information guide, including information like the reading level and thematic tags.

    5. Open Source Readings Arranged by Theme from Writing, Reading, and College Success: A First-Year Composition Course for All Learners (Kashyap and Dyquisto).

     

    Attributions

    Natalie Peterkin assembled and described all materials except the environmentally themed readings, which were selected and described by Anna Mills.  


    This page titled 15.7: Suggested Short Readings is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anna Mills (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .