ENGL 104 CSUN Assessing the Effectiveness of Jared Diamond Rhetoric Discussion

Introduction (25 – 50% of a typed, double-spaced page): Set up the topic. What assumptions have always been made about the agricultural revolution? Why is Diamond’s argument surprising? THESIS QUESTION: Is Jared Diamond’s argument against the agricultural revolution persuasive? Your answer to this question will be your thesis statement.

BP #1 (50 – 75%): Discuss the basic history of human-kind in terms of what the hunter-gatherer lifestyle is and how it contrasts with the agrarian lifestyle. Why is this shift considered a “revolution?”

BP #2 (50 – 75%): Identify and discuss Diamond’s argumentative strategies including his use of classical rhetoric as well as his use of “steel-manning” in his argument. In what specific ways does he employ this rhetorical technique? How effective is this strategy?

BP #3 (50 – 75%): Evaluate Diamond’s conclusions and determine whether he has presented an effective argument. To what degree is the article persuasive? Discuss weaknesses in the argument or possible rhetorical gaps in his presentation.

Conclusion (15 – 25%): Close out the discussion by discussing the potential implications of Diamond’s argument being correct. What near and long-term concerns may be applicable in this context?


  • USE OF READINGS: Use Diamond’s article as your primary source. The James’ article on “steel-manning” should be utilized as well. Feel free to use other external sources. Make sure you cite them correctly. Also, please adhere to the following guidelines:
    • Cite all sources parenthetically in your essay. However, I DO NOT REQUIRE A WORKS CITED PAGE FOR THIS ESSAY.
    • Limit direct quoting
    • Paraphrase and summarize concepts into your own words
    • Do not attempt to write on a concept you do not 100% understand. Please re-read the text and ask for help if you are struggling with the concepts
  • TONE: Adhere to a formal tone. No slang, no contractions, no “I” POV, no attempts at “humor.”
  • FORMAT: 12 pt. Double space. Acceptable fonts: (Times New Roman, Calibri, Ariel, Helvetica). Page numbers should be at the TOP RIGHT HAND side of the page and should include your last name.

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