The first year seminar in Writing and Rhetoric provides students with valuable composition and speaking skills for academic and civic life. The major purpose of this course is to demonstrate to students that argumentation in academic writing and speaking prepares citizens for the kind of engagement essential to a functioning democracy, where diversity and pluralism often make even a shared language problematic. However, the model of argument in this course is not exclusively 'agonistic' or bent on imposing upon an adversary one point view. Argument, like literature'the vehicle whereby students study differing points of view'is experiential, deeply ethical, and morally complex. Course readings focus on the way the discovery of the New World required late medieval and early modern writers to develop a new language to explore a new ontology or paradigm of reality. Students read travel literature, plays, and novels that complement the readings in Honors 211; the focus of Honors 101, however, is on the process of academic writing, from the development of a thesis or arguable assertion through prewriting to the final draft, polished through extensive revision.