Open Letter

Overview: In this research paper, you will be asked to write a compelling argument in the form of an open letter, which is a letter addressed to a specific individual or group of people about a certain relevant issue, but intended to serve a broader social purpose through its connection to a wider audience. Martin Luther King, Jr.s Letter from Birmingham Jail is a superb example. Your argument must arise out of a particular rhetorical situation, and effectively utilize rhetorical appeals to persuade both your target audience (the individual to whom you address the letter) as well as the implied audience (those who may be influenced by the discourse).

Requirements:

Topic You are free to choose any topic and audience you wish, although you need to pick one of recent social significance, such as arguing for/against military action in Syria, Chapman University issues, vaccinations, etc. Your choice does not have to be political in focus or nature, but it should definitely be specific in what it hopes to accomplish; avoid an overly broad argument like global warming is real (please refer to my list of Open Letter topics that are not to be used).

Ultimately, your letter will be effective only if it responds to a specific rhetorical situation:

Establish rhetorical exigency what is the problem or issue, where positive modification invites rhetorical discourse?

Establish rhetorical audience 1.) a specific person who is capable of being influenced by your discourse and being a mediator or agent of change; 2.) a broader potential audience who may also be influenced by discourse and consequently indirect (or even potentially direct) mediators of change.

Establish constraints what factors (persons, events, objects, relations) have the power to constrain decision and action needed to affect change?

The rhetorical situation will help determine your purpose and audience, as well as the appeals and other rhetorical choices/devices you make. Your goal should be to produce either action, change, or awareness/inform.

Minimum Word Count1,200 words

SourcesThis paper requires that you use at least 3 outside sources (Wikipedia does not count) for your research.

Sources may include: scholarly articles, newspaper/magazine journals, interviews, documentary/other educational resources/relevant videos (TED Talks), etc. If you have any questions about a particular source, please let me know.

When you are conducting research online (not including from a credible journal: JSTOR, Chapman University library online, etc.), make sure that you check the source of the article (writer, editor, publisher) in order to verify its credibility.

This is a multimodal paper, meaning you need to include a picture, video, URL link, etc.

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