Welcome back to Modern Argument in Composition, a college-level academic writing and research blog. This is our third year on WordPress, and once again, 22 first-year writing students from Rowan University, located in Glassboro NJ, are using the skills learned in College Composition I to write argumentative essays about the individual topic of their choice. They will be integrating argumentative theory with stasis theory in defining what is important about their topics and what it means to search for valuable, credible electronic sources.
Students will document their research progress on this blog, creating PowerPoint visual slideshows, pre-writing academic essays, creating original annotated bibliographies and visual arguments. You will see multitude of writing genres being introduced in one setting, all with a specific and important purpose on the different ways to communicate in this day and age. All of this work will culminate with a final portfolio consisting of the patches of work you see here. You may not be privy to the portfolios (for instructor eyes only!), but you can appreciate the work that is posted on here. Wherever you are from, please feel free to comment, encourage, suggest and discuss. Our blog is open for the public.
I am an adjunct professor at Rowan University, one that has taught both CCI and CCII, and I have taught Comp, English/Literature at other local colleges including Rowan College of Burlington County, so I am happy to say I have a pulse on the world and word of first-year writers.
While researching for my topic on Prenatal cocaine exposure, I came across an article by S.K Williams and J.M. Johns called prenatal and gestational cocaine exposure: effects on the oxytocin system and social behavior with implications for addiction which was written in 2013 on the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure. What was discovered by the two researchers was the effects the drug has on the baby from being a fetus into its adolescence. “Some effects of the prenatal cocaine exposure is that it produces social behavior deficits with corresponding changes in neuroendocrine and monoaminergic signaling” In other words, the drug has direct effects on behavior, hypoxemia through decreased uterine blood flow, oxygen deprivation, and more. What you can conclude with that discovery is that there is no age limit to when or if those symptoms would go away. A child might be forced to deal with the effects its whole life.
Another article I came across that happened to be similar to the article I found by S.K Williams and J.M. Johns was an article by Singer, Lynn T called, Prenatal Cocaine Exposure and Child Outcomes: A Conference Report Based on a Prospective Study from Cleveland that was written in 2015.What this article is about is the effects of the drug on the unborn fetus as well as on adults (most likely the mother/parents or whoever else is on the drug. It states, “cocaine interferes with presynaptic catecholamine reuptake and activates the sympathetic nervous system to produce toxic effects of hypertension, tachycardia, vasoconstriction, and impairment of the sleep–wake cycle.” This article explains alone what the drug does to an adult so just imagine what it does to a baby who is simply less developed and more dependent than an adult. This article also differs from the previous article because it’s based off of a study where as the previous article didn’t.
While researching for my essay on how marijuana became legal in the first place, I came across a small powerpoint article by the ACLU entitled “Marijuana Arrests by the Numbers.” This article showed a history of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010. On reading this article, I found out that there is a large difference between who is being arrested for possession of marijuana. Across the country marijuana use is about equal between blacks and whites, but blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested than whites are. In Iowa and Washington D.C. blacks are over eight times more likely to be arrested. I found a correlation between this article and another article about how marijuana became illegal in the first place.
In an article by Dr. Malik Burnett and Amanda Reiman, PHD, MSW I read that the origin of marijuana being illegal dates back to the 1930’s after the Mexican Revolution. As a great amount of Mexicans came into the United States, they brought the drug Americans already knew as cannabis into the country with them. El Paso, Texas began using this as an excuse to detain and deport Mexicans, despite its use in most Americans’ medicine and tinctures. The article draws light to the fact that the whole reason marijuana is illegal is due to racism, and not its danger to society.
The correlation I found between the two articles was the emphasis that the fight against marijuana has always been due to racism, from the early 1900s all the way to 2010 and even to the present. Thankfully, some states have begun to see all the benefits of legalization and are beginning to change the way people see marijuana.
Burnett, Dr. Malik, and Amanda Reiman. “How Did Marijuana Become Illegal in the First Place?” Drug Policy Alliance, http://www.drugpolicy.org/blog/how-did-marijuana-become-illegal-first-place. 2 March 2018
The topic of my first essay was that the Americans with Disabilities Act is still lacking when it comes to helping college students with disabilities. Once a student graduates high school the help they received is gone, they have to fend for themselves if they want a higher education. If a student has a chronic illness there are days (usually many days) where their symptoms are too unmanageable to attend their classes and because of that they are failing or being forced to leave their universities.
An article I found while doing research for this essay was a practice brief conducted by Lynn Royster and Olena Marshall, both are faculty of DePaul University, it is an initiative to help college students who are suffering from chronic illness. This brief suggests the way to help those students are to have higher education programs made for students with chronic illness. The second article was by Laurie Edwards who teaches health sciences at Northeastern University. In the article she discussed dealing with students who have chronic illness and the emails from frustrated students who always hit a wall when dealing with college administration. Her message was also the same something needs to be done to help students with chronic illness stay in college and help them achieve their goals. The issue is professors want to keep the integrity of the course, students with chronic illness are not asking for the course to be easier, just that they get the accommodations that they need in order to get a higher education.
While researching human trafficking’s disputed definition and the argument as to how severe the issue truly is, I have come across several differing articles. One of these was Noah Berlatsky’s article “”Human Trafficking” Has Become a Meaningless Term,” in which he discusses how the government has upscaled what the term “human trafficking” truly means in order to justify their reasoning for imposing immigration restrictions and surveillance. Not only this, but Berlatsky also backs up the argument that nowadays, human trafficking is used to describe teenage runaways or people sex trafficking themselves to get away from bad situations. There probably are teenage runaways out there who get incorrectly labeled as trafficking victims, but I think that Berlatsky is making an overgeneralization in order to minimize the issue that is human trafficking.
Another article/video I found was a TED Talk by Noy Thrupkaew in which she explains how human trafficking is all around us, and we don’t even realize it. She states that 68% of human trafficking victims are subject to forced labor. Noy Thrupkaew isn’t just some researcher on human trafficking; rather, she’s a journalist who talks to real victims and whose “dear auntie” was even a victim of human trafficking and Thrupkaew didn’t even know it. Every situation is different and Thrupkaew knows this form both personal experience, as well as listening to a multitude of other’s personal stories.
Both of these articles tell how the term human trafficking is used in many instances, but Berlatsky gives more factual claims supported by other authors and comes off as reluctant to believe the amount of cases of human trafficking out there. He doesn’t seem to be listening to the millions of stories out there, while Thrupkaew is. For this reasoning, I believe Noy Thrupkaew’s article was better because not only did she provide facts about human trafficking, but she also had real evidence from real victims that she both interviewed and lived with for several years right under her nose.
The first source I used was Aastha Sharma’s article in, “Subliminal Perception: Conceptual Analysis and Its Rampant Usage in Advertisements and Music Industry.” located in the Indian Journal of Health, Vol. 6. In this article, it discusses the types of subliminal messages, the history, and how it used in todays society. Something I found interesting was the example they used about in 1990, a heavy metal rock band Judas Priest was put on trial because in their song they had lyrics if played in reverse influencing listeners to commit suicide. Crazy right? In my opinion, I have heard the lyrics because I was so interested and if you listen closely it does sound like it is influencing one to commit suicide.
Sharma, Aastha. “Subliminal Perception: Conceptual Analysis and Its Rampant Usage in Advertisements and Music Industry.” Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, vol. 6, no. 6, June 2015, pp. 640-643. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=108425309&site=ehost-live.
Another source I used in my article was a website called Snopes.com. The article was called, “Fact Check: Is The Word ‘Sex’ Hidden in ‘The Lion king’? and in that article it gives proof of the exact moment the word “Sex” appears in the sky. It is made with clouds and if you look closely enough the clouds and stars make the letters S-E-X in which that spells out the word sex! Some may argue that there is simply nothing there and that people are looking way too close into it, but it is evident that the word subliminally appears in a Disney children’s film “The Lion King”.
“FACT CHECK: Is the Word ‘Sex’ Hidden in ‘The Lion King’?” Snopes.com, 7 Jan. 2018,
During my research, I found an article by Graham C.L. Davey, that discusses how mental health illnesses are still viewed as threatening and uncomfortable. Davey is a professor of psychology at the University of Sussex in the UK. In his article he talks about what mental health stigma is and the different types of mental health stigma, social and perceived. He also talks about the different factors that cause stigma and who in our society hold stigmatizing beliefs. More importantly, he talked about why stigma matter and how we can eliminate stigma. He believes that mental health stigma can have very negative effects on the individual that is being stigmatized. It can lead to poorer treatment outcomes or rejection of treatment as a whole. Davey then goes on to say that since it is clear that we all know how this type of stigma affects the sufferers that there should be some attention put towards it. I believe that something should be done about this because these people have gone through enough and they deserve a normal life just like anyone else.
Another article, titled “9 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma” by Laura Greenstein, talks about how individuals with mental illness can stand up to the stigma and learn to control it. A few strategies that she mentions are to talk openly about mental illness, educate yourself and others, choose empowerment over shame, and be honest about treatment. I like all of the different approaches that she gives. Not every person is the same so Greenstein gives a wide variety of ways that can suit all different kinds of personalities to overcome stigma.
Both of these articles give evidence to support that mental health stigma has negative effects and that there should be a call to action. The first article goes more in depth about stigma as a whole and breaks it down into the different parts. Davey also used studies and statistics to back up his research which I liked a lot. As the second article talks mainly about how to get rid of stigma. Greenstein’s article also uses real life examples. After each strategy that she gives she puts a quote underneath it from someone who has successfully used that coping mechanism. Overall, I believe Davey’s article was better than Greenstein’s because he used factual evidence to back up all of his research rather than just stating out different ways to help.
In my research, I found an article written by Christian Nordqvist, which discusses everything someone might want to know about euthanasia. He first explains what the different types of euthanasia there are, including assisted suicide, which is slightly different than euthanasia. Next he goes into the history of euthanasia and how the Hippocratic oath that doctors must take ensures that no doctor administers a lethal drug to anyone. After that, he explains the legality of euthanasia in the United States and other countries. Then he explains all the arguments for and against euthanasia. This is broken down easily so the reader can see every argument simply. Lastly he finishes the article with statistics relating to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Since he clearly states each side of the argument of euthanasia, it is easy to choose a side. I personally liked this article because it provided me with an ample amount of facts that I used in my essay to describe euthanasia.
I also found an article written by Winston Ross, which explains personal stories and how the idea of euthanasia is spreading throughout Europe. First he explains his personal story of his grandmother who was dying. She got to the point where she wanted to just die to end all her suffering because she was not getting any better. Since assisted suicide was illegal where she lived, she had to suffer until she died. He continues along with his story of meeting a woman from Amsterdam and how she had a whole plan of euthanasia. She did not want to end up being dependent on others if things got bad when she was old. He goes on explaining different people who practiced euthanasia. Knowing people’s stories regarding euthanasia is important because the reader can think about how he or she would feel in that situation.
Both of these articles explain euthanasia and assisted suicide. They both push people into picking a side that makes most sense to them. The first article explains more of the basic information and arguments. This shows the reader what exactly are the pros and cons of euthanasia. The second article explains more personal stories that hits the readers empathy. Overall, I found that Nordqvist’s article was more helpful because it provided the basic information which made it easier to understand the main arguments with euthanasia.
In my one article I came across, it provided a little insight to the topic of mental health, and even more so how it is an issue in school. This article gives the reader facts about mental disorders and shows what it s like to deal with a mental disorder in school. Throughout the article a story is portrayed of a girl named Katie that dealt with a mental disorder while in school. She explains how she felt excluded from her peers and never wanted to talk to someone about her problems unless they asked about them. This article also shows the roles of the people around Katie in her life, and what they could have done. I feel comfortable using this article in my essay because it relates to school and what school systems can do to help children suffering from these disorders.
Another source I used to help further understand mental illnesses, is the video posted below. This video defines what a mental illness is and explains to some who do not understand these disorders why these can impact your life. These disorders can affect how a person feels, thinks, and acts. I can use this source in my essay to explain to the readers not only what these disorders are, but how they can understand what it is like to live with them.
I can sense a counterargument to my solution being that these students who claim to have mental illnesses are either lying to get out of school, or these students not receiving the proper amount of school work. The solutions I have come up with for these are to test students, study them and their personalities. If they qualify for this special program, then they will be accepted. All the same with the other counterargument, students would be given the same amount of work, but be taught a different way, by teachers who also are qualified to deal with these types of issues.