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Jeffrey Walker, Chair PAR 3, Mailcode B5500, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-6109

Course Descriptions

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing

Meets TTH 800am-930am MEZ 1.210
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Multiple meeting times and sections. Please consult the Course Schedule for unique numbers.

This does NOT meet the Writing Flag requirement.

This composition course provides instruction in the gathering and evaluation of information and its presentation in well-organized expository prose. Students ordinarily write and revise four papers. The course includes instruction in invention, arrangement, logic, style, revision, and strategies of research.

Course centered around the First-Year Forum (FYF) book, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael J. Sandel. Students focus on the foundational knowledge and skills needed for college writing. In addition, they are introduced to basic rhetoric terms and learn to rhetorically analyze positions within controversies surrounding the FYF book.

RHE 306 is required of all UT students. Contact the Measurement and Evaluation Center, 2616 Wichita (471-3032) to petition for RHE 306 credit.

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing

44565 • Leisner, Keith
Meets MW 1230pm-200pm PAR 6
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Rhetoric and Writing is a course in argumentation that situates rhetoric as an art of civic discourse. It is designed to enhance your ability to analyze the various positions held in any public debate and to advocate your own position effectively. You will also explore the ethics of argumentation, explaining what it means to “fairly” represent someone with whom you disagree, or how responsibly to address a community with particular values and interests. Your work in this course will help you advance the critical writing and reading skills you will need to succeed in courses for your major and university degree.

RHE 306Q • Rhet/Writ Nonnatv Spkrs Of Eng

44585 • Sinha, Jayita Prashant
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1100am CLA 1.102
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Only nonnative speakers of English, who did not graduate from a U.S. high school, and have scored less than 600 (or 100 on the Internet based exam) on the TOEFL test within the last two years are eligible to take RHE 306Q. Anyone with questions about his/her eligibility should inquire at the Department of Rhetoric and Writing office in Parlin 3.

Course Description

RHE 306Q is the equivalent of RHE 306, Rhetoric and Writing, and is designed to help students whose native language is not English develop the writing skills they will need to succeed academically at The University of Texas at Austin. RHE 306Q is not an ESL course. This course does not meet the Writing Flag requirement.

The course provides instruction in the gathering and evaluation of information and its presentation in well-organized expository prose. Students ordinarily write and revise four papers. The course includes instruction in invention, arrangement, logic, style, revision, and strategies of research.

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Subversive Cartoons

44590 • ZHU, LILY A
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 6
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Genderswap, sexuality, religious faith, drug experimentation, and feminist utopias – all concepts too complex and inappropriate for children, right? Surprisingly, a large and increasing number of mainstream, PG-rated, animated shows provide not only the expected juvenile laughs, but also treatments of socially controversial topics. Beemo from Adventure Time maintains a fluid sense of gender identity, referred to alternately as both “she” and “he.” Princess “Morbucks” from The Powerpuff Girls explicitly represents the perils of capitalism. Despite the varying characters, animations, and plotlines, what these shows have in common is the ability to entertain and educate an audience – ranging from children to grown adults – through the rhetorical transformation of mature content.

This course explores cartoons which occupy a subversive space – cartoons which are deemed appropriate for children, ostensibly made for children, and yet are just as risqué (if not quite so explicit) as “adult”cartoons. What requirements must be fulfilled in order for something to be classified as a “children’s” cartoon? What is the perceived purpose of children’s cartoons? What are the unforeseen ways in which the artists are able to dismantle genre expectations, cross age and culture-defined boundaries, and address public discourse concerned with the growing roles and influence of children’s cartoons? Students will begin the semester by compiling a definition of subversive “children’s” cartoon and selecting a particular show - from a list - that they will work with.

Assignments and Grading

In addition to completing short blog posts (10%) and short writing assignments (20%), they will map its context and stakeholders for Paper 1 (10%), and analyze the patterns of visual and verbal rhetoric associated with that same cartoon for Paper 2.1 (10%) and Paper 2.2 (15%). For their final project, students will present a written, argumentative "pitch" for their own proposed cartoon, with an optional accompanying storyboard or script (35%).

Required Texts and Course Readings

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford

They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff

Critical Situations:  A Rhetoric for Writing in Communities (UT Custom Edition 2.0), Crowley and Stancliff

Supplementary Materials:

Provided excerpts from texts such as Saturday Morning Censors (Heather Hendershot) and Prime Time Animation (Carol Stabile).

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Country Music

44595 • Hixenbaugh, Dustin
Meets TTH 930am-1100am FAC 10
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Since its emergence in the early twentieth century, “hillbilly music,” as it was then called, has been the subject of debate, ridicule, and occasional disapproval. It has also proven extremely popular with audiences both domestic and international, and given rise to some of the US’s best-known celebrities—Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton to name just a few. But what is country music, and how has it changed in the past hundred years? How does it speak to, and for, the “country” for which it is named? What does it mean to be “country”?

 This class respects country music as a serious form of cultural expression. Through research  and extensive listening, we will situate particular artists and albums within their historical and cultural contexts. Specifically, we will explore how country music has responded to events like the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement, the Vietnam War, and 9/11, and how its artists have contested the meaning of “country” by pursuing alternative sub-genres like honky tonk, the Nashville and Bakersfield “sounds,” and “outlaw” country. Though students are encouraged to research and write about artists they are interested in, the course will keep a tight focus on argument analysis—that is, how artists and audiences have argued through and about country music—and the development of students’ own research and writing skills.

Please note the course carries a writing flag and requires daily listening and reading assignments.

Assignments and Grading

In Unit 1, students will collaboratively research different country music movements before placing one song or album of their choice in its rhetorical context. Assignments include one 15-20 minute group presentation (5% of the final course grade), and one 4-6 page Context Analysis Essay (5% for the first draft, and 10% for the final). In Unit 2, students will conduct an extended rhetorical analysis of one album or song of their choice. Assignments include three Short Analysis Essays of 1-2 pages in length (15%), which they will then revise and combine into one 4-6 page Long Analysis Essay (15%). Lastly, in Unit 3, students will write one 4-6 page Final Argument Essay (10% for the first draft, and 15% for the final) in which they will explain how they see country music, as a genre, responding to a specific historical event or cultural trend.

Over the course of the semester, students will also write four 1-2 page Research Summaries (15%) and post weekly to the class’s Discussion Board (10%).

Required Texts and Course Readings

This course requires two textbooks:

Rhetorical Analysis by Mark G. Longaker and Jeffrey Walker (Longman, 2010); and

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference (4th ed.), by Andrea Lunsford (Bedford, 2009).

Students will also read excerpts from a number of other texts about rhetoric or country music. These will be made available on the online Canvas system and may include: They Say/I Say (2014), Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein; All That Glitters (1993), John Buckley; In the Country of Country (1997), Nicholas Dawidoff; Behind Closed Doors (2002), Alanna Nash; Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music (2012), Diane Pecknold; Rednecks and Bluenecks (2007), Chris Willman; and others.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Editing

44597 • Zacks, Aaron S
Meets MW 1100am-1230pm PAR 6
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Whether or not we’re accepting or conscious of it, we are all editors. In the widest sense of the word, we edit ourselves -- our exterior, our public image, our ethos -- every morning when we dress and we don’t stop editing -- what we write, what we say, what we think, what we are -- until we hit the pillow (at which point editorial responsibility becomes indeterminate).

In this section of RHE 309K, we will spend the first few weeks deliberating over the broad concept of editing before proceeding through units on:

- Casual writing (i.e. email, social media, texting)

- Journalism

- Creative arts (i.e. web video, music, sound)

- Scholarship

- Academic writing

For each discipline, we will explore the various roles of editing and editors play in a text’s rhetoric.

RHE 309K is an introductory-level rhetoric class devoted to teaching principles of argumentation, research, and writing. In service to this goal, students will produce texts in a variety of genres (textual and otherwise) over the course of the semester, all of which will be subject to some mode of editing. Around week 10,  students will compile their best, heavily edited work as a portfolio and begin research toward the Final Project: a thoroughly edited, academic argument.

Grade Breakdown:

Homework: 20%

Peer Review: 20%

Portfolio: 20%

Final Project: 40%

Required Texts:

Easy Writer. Fourth Edition. Lunsford. Longman, 2009.

Everything’s an Argument. Sixth Edition. Lunsford, Ruszkiewicz, Walters. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.

The majority of course readings will be available through Canvas

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Fairy Tales

Meets MW 330pm-500pm PAR 208
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Fairy tales have a long history through which they have presented a multitude of archetypes (the villain, the damsel, the hero, the trickster), tropes and ‘morals,’ and stories. While these elements are continuously reinvented, perpetuated, and/or subverted, the fairy tale remains a constant fascination. This course will investigate and evaluate those archetypes and tropes through critical attention to the author’s rhetoric employed by, through, and around them. To that end, you will over the course of the term select a specific archetype, trope, or tale formulation and a) thoroughly research its context, b) critically analyze its rhetoric, and c) responsibly interpret and analyze its function for the audience(s). You are encouraged to examine a range of story-telling mediums (written, visual, aural, interactive, etc.) and contexts (historical, social, cultural, etc.). For example, you may choose to track the wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood” and analyze the rhetoric employed by one of Angela Carter’s feminist renditions of the tale or Once Upon a Time’s conflation of the wolf with Little Red herself. You will learn to analyze and answer such questions as, What kinds of rhetorical techniques are utilized by the author/producer? How have those appeals changed from the original? How do these altered versions appeal to their audiences? To what end? and the like.

In addition to smaller writing assignments throughout the semester, you will be required to peer-review and complete three 5-7 page papers: one comparison/contrast paper focused on a fairy tale's different manifestations, one analysis paper centering on a fairy tale archetype, and one analysis paper concentrating on a fairy tale trope; all three major essays will include an additional revision aspect. A creative group project at the term's conclusion will ask you to create your own modern-day fairy tale; this assignment has a multimedia option (such as creating a short video-game, drawing a comic, recording a radio-show broadcast, etc.).

Assignments and Grading

Short Writing Assignments: 20%

Research Journal: 5%

Paper 1.1: 5%

Paper 1.2: 10%

Paper 2.1: 10%

Paper 2.2: 15%

Paper 3.1: 15%

Paper 3.2: 15%

Creative Capstone: 5%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Easy Writer, Lusford

Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, Crowley and Hawhee

Course Packet (includes a sampling of tales of various origin and excerpts from folklorists)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Fandom

Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm MEZ 2.122
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Trekkies. Whovians. Potterheads. Beliebers. Little Monsters. Cheeseheads. Twihards. The 12th Man. Fan groups like these, shaped by a shared devotion to music, sports, and popular culture, are becoming more common as young adults from all demographics try to form community in an increasingly partisan and polarized world. This course explores the ways in which fans, fandom, and fanaticism are portrayed in media and pop culture. In what ways has the invention of the Internet changed popular perception of fans and fandoms, and how have fandoms used the Internet in order to build digital and international communities? What distinguishes a "true fan" from a casual follower, and who creates those distinctions? How does participation in fandom communities encourage self-expression?

Unit I of this class will ask students to explore the varying definitions of terminology essential to the themes of the class, such as “fan,” “fandom,” “community,” “creativity,” and “self-epression.” Students will then research the historical and cultural context of a specific fandom, and reflect on the ways in which the terms defined early in the semester apply to their fandom. Unit II will ask students to study an artifact produced by their fandom (fan fiction, fan videos, fantasy football blogs, theories for future episodes of a show, etc.), and consider the ways in which that artifact represents a departure from, devotion to, or reimagining of the original material. In Unit III, students will utilize the rhetorical strategies they developed in Unit II to argue for the importance of their fandom to an audience of skeptics. 

Assignments and Grading

Essay 1.1—History and Context (5%)

Essay 1.2—History and Context Revision (5%)

Essay 2.1—Rhetorical Analysis (15%)

Essay 2.2—Rhetorical Analysis Revision (15%)

Essay 3.1—Defense of the Fandom (15%)

Essay 3.2—Defense of the Fandom Revision (15%)

Short Writing Assignments (20%)

Reading Quizzes (5%)

Oral Presentation (5%)

Peer Review Mandatory

Required Texts and Course Readings

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer (4th ed). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010.

Additional readings will be distributed electronically via Blackboard.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Fashion

44610 • Remiszewska, Helene Grayce
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm GAR 3.116
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In contemporary culture, fashion often functions as an extension of one's identity. Culture enforces fashion choices, and clothing can often represent our socioeconomic status, our personalities, our gender, our sexuality, our ethnicities, our nationality, and almost any otherwise latent aspect of our identities. Fashion has become a token of cultural capital – shoes can often cost more than monthly rent, and musicians like Kanye West, Lady Gaga, A$AP Rocky, Nicki Minaj, and Azealia Banks namedrop designers to represent anything from their status as cool to their success and wealth, even as Macklemore jeers from the sidelines. Conversely, fashion houses search for popular music to accompany their fashion shows, often commissioning live performances by predominantly white artists like Chromatics, Tori Amos, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift to represent their image. 

Though the high fashion customer base is diverse and international, fashion houses cater to and represent hegemonic dreams of tall, thin, expressionless white women, resulting in their varied attempts to combine low culture and high fashion to influence concepts of race, gender, sexuality, and body image. As designers of color remain underground, major fashion weeks are notorious for under employing models of color while continuing to appropriate from cultures other than their own, particularly egregious examples being Victoria's Secret fashion shows, Dolce and Gabanna's controversial “Mammy” accessories, or, most recently, Barney's targeting of black customers in their flagship NYC store. Numerous restrictions have been put into place to monitor models' exploitation, from requiring a minimum age to a minimum BMI, while high prices continue to soar and fashion campaigns fuel unrealistic expectations through Photoshopping thigh gaps and lightening skin tones. How, then, does fashion affect our identity, and how do we relate to the identity of others? When we make the choice to wear either Nike shorts or Rag & Bone jeans, as what are we trying to portray ourselves in relation to our peers? What is the relation between traditional rules like “no-white-after-Labor-Day” and legal restrictions against women revealing parts of their bodies? How do we differentiate between clothing and costume, and what does this chasm reveal about our own relation to cultural identity? Readings will include popular sources like song lyrics and advertisements, as well as excerpts from critical texts including Roland Barthes’ The Fashion System, Anne Hollinder’s Sex and Suits and Seeing Through Clothes, Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, and Pamela Church Gibson’s Fashion and Celebrity Culture and Women, Pornography, and Power.

Assignments and Grading

Short Writing Assignments: 20%

Research Paper: 5%

Research Presentation: 5%

Analytical Paper 1: 10%

Analytical Paper 2: 15%           

Persuasive Paper 1: 15%

Persuasive Paper 2: 20%

Persuasive Presentation: 10%

Peer Reviews: Mandatory

Participation: Invaluable

Required Texts

Rhetorical Analysis by Mark Longaker and Jeffrey Walker. Pearson, 2010.

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fourth edition. Lunsford. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Food

Meets MW 1100am-1230pm FAC 7
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Food does more for humans than secure our survival. Food cultivation, production, distribution, preparation and consumption contribute to our individual and sociocultural identities. These practices also reflect ideological values and social norms. Just as food creates communities, it also causes controversies and raises questions. For example: Why do people practice vegetarianism? What is “healthy” eating? How do people develop “taste?” In what ways do people use food to express their cultural identities? How does food production policy in the US affect the environment and various economies? How does privilege enhance or inhibit access to food? Are factory farms really inhumane and unsustainable? In this course, we will explore representations of food and peoples’ relationships with it through various media, including articles, advertisements, film, even local menus. Through a series of reading and writing assignments, students will focus their research on one controversy in a conversation regarding food and, ultimately, advocate their own position using the rhetorical strategies they’ve engaged with throughout the semester.

Assignments and Grading

Short Writing Assignments: 25%

(Reading/Viewing Responses, Research


Annotated Bibliography: 15%

Literature Review Essay: 15%

Rhetorical Analysis Essay: 15%

Original Argument: 15%

Oral Presentation: 10%

Homework*: 5%           

Peer Reviews: Mandatory

Participation: Invaluable

*Note: The homework grade will consist of a combination of (1) quizzes on the readings, (2) completion of short daily assignments.

Required Texts and Course Readings

They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein (2009).

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A.Lunsford (2011).

Food: The Key Concepts, Warren Belasco (2008).

-  Course Packet

*Note: In addition to print materials, students will view other media that make arguments about food. These materials will provide students the opportunity to perform visual rhetorical analysis. Other media will include: print advertisements, commercials, speeches, interviews, a documentary film about food, etc.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Lies

Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BEN 1.108
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Though national myth would have us believe that George Washington famously asserted, "I cannot tell a lie," the pervasiveness of deception in the world casts doubt on his—or at least the story's—honesty. Children lie as early as age two, and one University of Massachusetts study found that test subjects averaged 2.92 lies when asked to talk for ten minutes. Lying also comes in diverse forms; Wikipedia lists twenty-eight different classifications of lie, ranging from "barefaced" to "white." As such, dealing with deceit—and honesty—raises complex ethical and categorical problems. Throughout history, accusations, condemnations, and denials of lying, as well as justifications and excuses for it, have been hotly contested—from Saint Peter and Galileo to Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Our goal for this course will be to explore three aspects of lying. First, we will look at the question of how to define "lie." From there, we will move to how we lie; what are our goals and our strategies in doing so? Finally, we will take up the question of when we should lie. Would a completely honest world be a better one? What, if anything, do we need to justify deceit? Students will be assessed on one major paper and revision for each unit as well as several smaller assignments and a final presentation.

Grading Breakdown:

Paper 1 First Version: 10%

Paper 1 Revision: 10%

Paper 2 First Version: 15%

Paper 2 Revision: 10%

Paper 3 First Version: 15%

Paper 3 Revision: 10%                                               

Minor Assignments: 20%

Final Presentation: 10%

Required Texts:

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer. 4th Ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.

Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument with Readings. 6th Ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.

 Bok, Sissela. Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life. New York: Vintage, 1999.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Mourning

44623 • Logan, Katie
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WEL 4.224
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This course responds to a question posed by Judith Butler in her Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence (2006): “What makes for a grievable life?” In other words, how do we decide which deaths or losses to mourn, our methods for mourning them, and what this process of mourning produces? Butler understands loss as a transformative event, something that requires us to redefine who we are and what our communities look like; mourning is the process by which we understand and express that transformation. Our answers to these questions, then,  have important implications for who we are as people, members of a particular nation or community, and participants in the historical process. As a result, discussions around this topic are always political, always controversial, always rhetorically grounded.

This class will engage with a variety of texts that answer these questions in different ways and with different goals in mind. How, for example, might a politician and a family member of the deceased talk about the losses of September 11th differently and for what purposes? Why are certain losses commemorated by a community while others pass in silence? How do different forms of memorialization (the obituary, the gravestone, the elegy or the political speech) represent different components of the same loss? How does mourning as a practice assist, obstruct, or complicate the process of community formation? By engaging these questions through case studies of their own, students will learn to think critically about the psychological, social, and political underpinnings through which we frame our responses to significant losses and the rhetorical strategies by which we develop these responses.

Assignments and Grading

Unit 1 Summaries: 10%

Unit 2 Analyses: 10%

Unit 3 Minor Assignments: 10%

Blackboard Questions 10%

Essay 1.1 5%

Essay 1.2 10%

Essay 2.1 10%

Essay 2.2 15%

Final Project 20%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Easy Writer, Lunsford

Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford, Ruszkiewicz, and Walters

Additional selections from the following texts (to be posted on Blackboard):

Precarious Lives, Judith Butler

“Mourning and Melancholia,” Sigmund Freud

Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson

Loss: Mourning Remains, David Eng and David Kazanjian

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Mythology

Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ 1.122
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Mythology is a word which, for most readers, will conjure a series of images: gods; heroes; tricksters; monsters; feats of derring-do; trees, weapons, rivers, mountains imbued with unique powers or living spirits. Above all, it is a word which denotes both powerful, evocative stories or figures and obvious, recognized untruth—a word which both recognizes significance in the past, for some distant culture, and dismisses it for the present and future. Nevertheless, Greek, Roman, Norse, and other mythologies invade our cultural spaces—the gods and monsters of other cultures inhabit our fantasies (Neil Gaiman’s American Gods), our science fiction (Ray Bradbury’s Golden Apples of the Sun), our young adult fiction (the best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series), and our most wildly successful movies (The Avengers). But if myths are, by definition, defunct, why do they remain so powerful? They possess cultural capital: the figures who occupy central roles in these stories represent cherished values and beliefs as well as fears, and they continue to be pressed into service in the texts which constitute the social discourse which we create today. These properties, which make them the ultimate cultural survivors, also make them incredibly rhetorically useful, since good rhetoric appeals to precisely those cultural properties, commonplaces, and ideologies which mythological figures embody.

Over the course of the semester we will map out histories of the contexts in which these tales and characters have been pressed into the service of rhetorical ends. We will analyze what those rhetorical ends are, how they change over time, and how they appeal to their audiences. Students will compose: one detailed annotated bibliography on the history of a single myth, including an abstract describing how the student might arrange that annotated bibliography into a paper; one 5-7 page rhetorical analysis paper; one final argumentative piece, including a reflection paper, which makes use of mythological tropes, archetypes, figures, or stories; weekly blog posts responding to specific prompts designed to generate content for longer papers; and both peer review and revisions for all major writing assignments.


Annotated Bibliography (5%) 1.2 Bibliography, Abstract, and Outline (10%) 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis (10%) 2.2 Rhetorical Analysis Revision (10%) 3.1 Argumentative Essay (15%) 3.2 Argumentative Essay Revision (20%)

Blog Posts (15%) Oral Presentation (5%) Reading Quizzes (10%) Peer Reviews (Mandatory) Participation (Invaluable)

Course Readings

Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, Crowley and Hawhee

The Easy Writer, Lusford

A course packet. Will include Ch. 14, “Visual Rhetoric,” from Everything’s an Argument, as well as selections from classical and contemporary texts that make rhetorical use of mythological allusion, including but not limited to: Bradbury’s Golden Apples of the Sun), excerpts from Virgil’s Aeneid, excerpts from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and excerpts from at least one collection of mythology.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Photography

44630 • Macmillan, Rebecca
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 101
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Photographs may help us to remember, force us to look away, or move us to question the accuracy of what we see. This course will investigate the arguments photographs make, with special attention given to how the materiality of these images influences the stories they tell. We will look at the rhetoric of both digital and physical photographs as they proliferate in contemporary culture—for example, in news media, family albums, and on social networking sites. We will consider how photographs inform gender, racial, class, and political identities, as well as familial and public life. In doing so, this course will address a range of critical questions: To what extent are photographs subjective documents, framed by the concerns of their makers and the technologies used to produce them? To what political and social ends are photographs deployed? How is the rhetoric of photographs influenced by the personal or institutional archives in which these objects are housed?

Course readings will introduce students to a range of writing on photography, material culture, and visual rhetoric. Students will also have the chance to visit the Harry Ransom Center and to explore the archive’s photography holdings. In Unit 1, students will select a contemporary photographer of their choice to research, focusing on specific critical questions. In Unit 2, students will select and analyze a particular body of work by their chosen photographer, describing how this collection of photographs visually constructs its claims. In Unit 3, students will create a visual argument through the curation of their own photographs. In this final work, students may use, for example, a selection of recent digital images or aged family snapshots. Students will also reflect in writing on the argument their photographs make, and how the material form of these photographs contributes to their meaning.

Assignments and Grading

Short Writing Assignments – 20 %

Essay 1.1 – 10%

Essay 1.2 – 10%

Essay 2.1 – 10%

Essay 2.2 – 10%

Collection of Photographs & Essay 3.1 – 15%

Collection of Photographs & Essay 3.2 – 15%

Final Project Presentation – 10%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Lester Faigley, Diana George, Anna Palchik, and Cynthia Selfe, Picturing Texts (2004) 

Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz, Everything’s An Argument (2013)

Andrea A. Lunsford, Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference (2010)

Course Packet – This will include selected works by authors such as Susan Sontag, bell hooks, Rebecca Solnit, Fred Ritchin, and Stephen Shore.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Political Belief

44632 • Moench, B. Duncan
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm GAR 1.126
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What does it mean to be a “liberal” today? What does it say when we call ourselves  “conservative”? Where did these words come from and how does their modern usage relate to their origin? In this course, we will explore how the rhetorical constructions of different political belief systems often mirror their values and ideology. Political ideals are not based in fact, or even historical events, but abstract belief and arguments, which tend to be only superficially understood. The course will empower students by providing the tools and history to understand their own beliefs as well as other people’s. We will discuss the major political belief systems of the Western world beginning with an exploration of the origins of the democratic ideal, proceeding to classical liberalism, socialism, conservatism, and lastly fascism.

Every section will include readings from primary sources, i.e. John Locke as a representative of liberalism and Karl Marx as a representative of communism and socialism. We will break down the arguments and examine their rhetorical construction. Students will complete each section by taking a contemporary controversy and writing as  “conservatives,” “liberals,” “socialists,” and even “fascists.” By writing about current events from the perspective of each political belief system students will gain both a firm grasp of how each political belief system thinks as well as the basics of argumentation and how to apply it to future papers, presentations, or proposals.

Assignments and Grading

Drafting assignments: 5%

Research Summaries: 10%

Essay 1.1: 10%

Essay 1.2: 10%

Essay 2.1: 10%

Essay 2.2: 15%

Essay 3.1: 10%

Essay 3.2: 15%

Presentation: 10%

Participation: 5%


Sharon Crowley and Michael Stancliff. Critical Situations. Custom Edition for The University of Texas at Austin ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2011.

Andrea Lunsford. Easy Writer. Fourth Edition ed. Boston: Bedford/. Martin’s, 2010.

Terence Ball and Richard Dagger, Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal. Eighth ed. Pearson Longman, 2010

Terence Ball and Richard Dagger, Ideals and Ideologies: A Reader.Eighth Ed. Pearson Longman, 2010

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Rights In The US

44633 • Williams Barron, Courtney
Meets MW 500pm-630pm PAR 303
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What are civil rights, how are they determined and by whom? What is the difference between civil rights and human rights? Throughout the history of the United States, the question of rights has been and continues to be a life and death issue for many people. From the founding of the country to the present day, individuals and groups have engaged with each other, the law, and various government agencies to fight over the issue of rights: the right to live, to die, to go to school, to marry, to vote, to own property, to exist as people, to be safe, to make a living, to parent children, to privacy, and many more. We will examine the definitions of both human and civil rights and look at who chooses to make these arguments, how they make them, and why. Our examination will include discussion of current civil rights issues such as immigration, affirmative action, bilingual education, equal marriage, assisted suicide, and others. Students will choose their own contemporary civil rights struggle that remains "unresolved," research the history and context of this struggle, and eventually determine how they might participate in the rhetoric of this struggle themselves.

Course Requirements

Two 5-8 page essays, each revised once

One 2-3 page essay

Additional short assignments of 1-2 pages

Grading Policy

Unit 1: 25%

  • Research, 15-source annotated bibliography, 1-2 pgs, 30pts
  • 1 page summary, 30pts
  • various short written pieces (summaries, analyses, evaluations) in and out of class, 40pts

Unit 2: 35%

  • Visual map of power, players, and perspectives, 25pts
  • written essay mapping the argument following a shift, 5-8pgs, 30 pts
  • Peer review and revision of mapping essay, 5-8 pages, 15pts
  • various short written pieces (summaries, analyses, evaluations) in and out of class, 30pts

Unit 3: 40%

  • short rhetorical analysis essay, 2-3 pgs, 20pts
  • longer rhetorical argument,  5-8 pgs, 40pts
  • Peer review and revision of rhetorical argument, 5-8 pgs, 25pts
  • and oral or visual presentation, 15pts


Critical Situations: A Rhetoric for Writing in Communities, Crowley and Stancliff.

Brown vs. the Board of Education, Bedford St. Martin Press

Easy Writer, Lunsford.

Course packet/handouts including King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," "Three Ways of Meeting Oppression," "Women's Rights are Human Rights" from the women's conference in Beijing, 1994, various song lyrics, poems, movie clips, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Court decisions from Brown v Board, Goodridge v Massachusetts,and additional short readings as appropriate.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Superheroes

Meets MW 1100am-1230pm FAC 10
show description

“We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.” ~ Grant Morrison

You don't have to be Lex Luthor to know that superheroes in modern American culture are a force to be reckoned with. They fly through the pages of comic books, splay their KAPOWS across graphic novels, and constitute a multi-billion dollar movie industry. What makes superheroes such a pervasive presence in our cultural mythos? Why are they appealing? What's so super about their heroism, and, more importantly, what does our fondness for superheroes say about our society's fundamental ideals?

During this course we will explore these questions and more as we delve into the rhetoric of superheroism in American pop culture. We will learn to apply various modes of rhetorical analysis to this multimedia cultural phenomenon by dissecting the use of appeals in short stories, films, news articles and graphic novels. We will also hone our skills of argumentation by examining several thriving controversies within the world of superheroes. Ultimately, we will use research and analysis to develop nuanced arguments about what superheroism has to say about crucial sociopolitical issues like gender, race, individualism, globalism, capitalism and environmentalism. Students will leave the class with a “super” grasp of how to conduct thorough research, perform rhetorical analysis, and construct an argument.

Students will write three major papers ranging from five to seven pages. Students will also be required to contribute weekly to a class blog.

Assignments and Grading

1.1 Research Paper (5%)

1.2 Research Paper Revision (5%) 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis (10%) 2.2 Rhetorical Analysis Revision (15%) 3.1 Argumentative Essay (15%) 3.2 Argumentative Essay Revision (20%) Blog Posts (15%) Final Project (5%) Reading Quizzes (10%)

Peer Review (Mandatory)

Required Texts and Course Readings

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford

Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers, Mark G. Longaker and Jeffrey Walker

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Sustainability

44640 • Oxford, Robert
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GAR 2.128
show description

How do we define sustainability? How do we decide whether a commodity is sustainable or not? From coffee shops to global energy, sustainability has become a frequent and important rhetorical signifier of the twenty-first century. This class will read texts from corporations, cooperatives, activists and governments to explore the different rhetorical claims for sustainable resources. Students will also observe how the University of Texas adopts the rhetoric of sustainability in fulfilling its education mission on campus. Throughout the class, the goal is to question how sustainability influences our life, work and community and to note how various institutions and groups use this phrase to advance their own goals and agendas.

Assignments and Grading

Minor Writing Assignments: 15%

(Reading/Viewing Responses, Research 


Unit I Essay: 5%

Unit I Revision: 15%

Unit II Essay: 15%

Unit II Revision: 15%

Unit III Position Paper: 15%

Unit III Position Paper Revision: 20%

Peer Reviews: Mandatory

Participation: Invaluable

Required Texts and Course Readings

They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford.

All other readings will be uploaded to Canvas as a reading packet. These include:

Excerpts from Onward: How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing Its Soul (Howard Shultz, 2012)

Excerpt chapter from New Paradigms in Global Supply and Demand: Coffee Markets (World Bank, 2004)=

Seeking Sustainability: COSA Preliminary Analysis of Sustainability Initiatives in the Coffee Sector (Daniele Giovannucci, Jason Potts et al., 2008)

Coffee Worker Justice Initiative: US Labor Education in the Americas Project

Excerpts from Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 

Excerpts from 2011 Corporate Citizenship Report (ExxonMobile)

Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” Rolling Stone (July 19, 2012)

RHE 309K • Arguing The Digital Divide

Meets MW 200pm-330pm PAR 104
show description

As students, we research course descriptions and register for classes online. As social individuals, we send Facebook and text messages to connect with friends near and far. As contributors to a globalized economy, we apply for jobs using email and make purchases on Amazon. Yet within Austin, within America and across the globe, diverse populations are not yet included in this contemporary digital age. Over the past decade, the controversy over this disparity — commonly called the digital divide — has widened beyond its political and economic origins. Questions of a production gap between the vast majority of consumers and the few users who create online content have arisen. Simultaneously, as more people plug in for the first time, digital literacy and the ability to interact as informed, critical subjects within this new media environment have become increasingly important rhetorical skills often overlooked.

Within this course, students will closely exam these and other digital divides: their root causes, broad implications and differing responses. The class will work to construct a vocabulary and a conceptual framework through which we can discuss the differing digital divides. Informative, critical and influential articles will introduce students to a variety of controversies within the larger topic, positions within those controversies, and stakeholders who hold those positions. To do this, we will follow the origins of the term digital divide through its historical development, beginning with geographical, economic and political examples of technological inequality on both a micro and macro (local and global) level. With a basic background established, we will then trace the term as it has been used to describe consumerist dynamics on the Internet, gaps in how new media literacy is (not) taught, and demographic divisions that have developed within Web 2.0. Three longer essays will be augmented throughout the semester by short writing assignments and a creative multimedia project that will ask students to engage the problems of the general controversy firsthand.

Assignments and Grading

Paper 1.1: Advisory grade

Paper 1.2: 10%

Paper 2.1: 15%

Paper 2.2: 15%

Paper 3.1: 15%

Paper 3.2: 15%

Research summaries (5): 25%

Social media assignment: 5%

Required texts and Course Readings

Rhetorical Analysis. Longaker & Walker. Pearson, 2010.

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fourth Edition. Lunsford. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

Various readings provided on Canvas including articles by Straubhaar, boyd, McChesney, et. al.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The South

Meets TTH 800am-930am PAR 208
show description

According to the 1970s Southern rock band Lynard Skynard, the South is home to blue skies, great guitar pickers, people who try hard, and the Lord (“Sweet Home Alabama”). Singer-Songwriter Neil Young, however, disagrees with these characteristics. He sings about the South’s destructive racism, hatred and stubbornness in both “Alabama” and “Southern Man.” How can one geographical region spark such divergent feelings? Indeed musicians aren’t the only ones who offer competing views of the South. Remember the glossy, nostalgic Gone with the Wind? What about the creepy dueling banjos in Deliverance?  Or how about the portrayal of Southern hopefulness and DIY via a pimp-turned-emcee in Hustle and Flow? Writers, filmmakers, and mapmakers contribute to the idea that Americans have a complex and various understanding of the South. So, how do you define the South?  What personal, cultural, social, economic, religious, historical and political contexts inform your definition? How does considering different contexts and controversies put a spin on your otherwise solid definition? In this course, students will map out different controversies associated with the South, different meanings of the term “South” and examine the rhetorical devices used to complicate the definition. The final project will allow you to assert your personal definition of the “South.” Readings will include nonfiction, editorials, legal briefs, fiction, cookbooks and poetry, ranging from James Dickey’s “The Sheep-Child” to Supreme Court cases like Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education; from Zora Neale Hurston to crunk to Bon Appetit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking.

Assignments and Grading

Paper 1.1: 5%

Paper 1.2: 10%

Paper 2.1: 15%

Paper 2.2: 15%

Paper 3.1: 15%

Paper 3.2: 15%

Research summaries: 20%

Oral Presentations: 5%

Peer reviews: Mandatory

Participation: Invaluable

Required Texts and Course Readings

Everything’s an Argument. Andrea Lunsford, John J. Ruskiewicz and Keith Walters. Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2013.           

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fourth Edition. Lunsford. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

Course Readings posted on Blackboard and given as handouts.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Tourism

Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 6
show description

In our global economy, travel and tourism are more prominent than ever before. We travel and/or become tourists to have new cultural experiences, to help relieve violence and poverty, to challenge ourselves physically and ideologically, to help victims of disasters, to get and to provide education, to spread religious and political beliefs, and for countless other reasons. Travel has been touted as the best way to broaden our horizons and become better global citizens, yet tourism has been condemned as the 21st century’s most prevalent and widely accepted form of exploitation. This course will begin with a broad range of multimedia texts that introduce contemporary concerns regarding travel and tourism, including work by Anthony Bourdain of the travel series No Reservations, Lonely Planet contributor Nicola Williams, and travel documentarian Rick Steves, among others. You will analyze texts using rhetorical theory as outlined in the course textbook Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers, as well as some recent critical theory, including work by Fabian Frenzel, Edward Said, and Michel Picard, before selecting a relevant controversy for individual research and analysis. Possible controversies might ask questions concerning ecotourism, volunteering abroad, sex tourism, space tourism, or adventure travel. Using your chosen controversy as a platform, you will practice rhetorical analysis of multimedia texts that you will research and select, including print and video advertisements, magazine and newspaper articles and editorials, documentary films and television shows, travel blogs, and personal essays and memoirs. Your final project will consist of a persuasive essay based on your controversy and incorporating elements of rhetoric covered throughout the semester. 

Assignments and Grading

Short Writing Assignments (Reading Responses, Research Summaries, and Short Rhetorical

Analyses equally weighted): 20%

Annotated Bibliography: 15%

Analytical Essay Draft: 10%

Analytical Essay Revision: 15%

Persuasive Project Draft: 10%

Persuasive Project Revision: 15%

Research Presentation: 6%

Persuasive Presentation: 9%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers by Mark Garrett Longaker and Jeffrey Walker

Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference by Andrea A. Lunsford

Course packet including readings by Anthony Bourdain, Nicola Williams, Joseph Conrad, and Jamaica Kincaid

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Action Films

44660 • Ptacek, Jacob
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm PAR 208
show description

From the iconic (“I’ll be back…”) to the ironic (“Go ahead—I don’t shop here, anyways!”), action films have shaped—for good and bad—the discourse of American culture for the past forty years.   And while often critically reviled, action films and franchises are one of the most profitable sectors of Hollywood’s film industry, both at home and abroad.  But action films are more than just an evening’s light entertainment.  They engage in political and cultural arguments from all sides of the spectrum, from the treatment of returning veterans (First Blood) to race relations (Lethal Weapon) to governmental surveillance of civilians (The Dark Knight).  They map shifting responses to, among others, urban fears (the Dirty Harry and Death Wish series), Vietnam (the Rambo films), the Cold War (the James Bond franchise, Red Dawn),feminism (the Alien films, Speed) and terrorism (the Die Hard, Spider-Man, and Batman franchises, The Hurt Locker).  They often, quite literally, infiltrate contemporary political discourse: Reagan praising Rambo, Schwarzenegger as “the Gubernator,” Obama as a “socialist” Joker.  And of course, lots of things explode.

This course takes for granted, then, that action films are worthy of serious study; and our purpose will be to analyze the arguments that they make, both narratively and visually, through rhetorical strategies.  Because rhetoric depends on understanding speech as situated in a particular socio-historical context, our class will look not just at the films themselves, but also the historical moments from which they emerge, and how critics and others responded to them at the time.  As this is a course in rhetoric, and not in film, students need have no familiarity with traditional models of film analysis (camera angles, shot composition, mise-en-scene, suture theory), but rather an interest in what action films say: How do they respond to an historical event?  What kinds of arguments do they make, and for whom?  Is an argument the words the actors say, or the images the director presents, or some combination of the two? How do these films engage with political, social, scientific, and cultural ideas?  How do their arguments change over time?  How can we evaluate those arguments, and why should we? 


Five short writing assignments (one-page, single-spaced; the lowest grade will be dropped): 15%

Paper 1.1: 5%

Paper 1.2: 10%

Bibliography Assignment: 10%

Paper 2.1: 10%

Paper 2.2: 15%

Paper 3.1: 10%

Paper 3.2: 15%

Oral Presentation: 10%

Required Texts:

Picturing Texts by Faigley, George, and Palchik

Everything’s an Argument by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz

Additional short pieces may be assigned through Blackboard (film reviews, critical articles, etc.)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Science Writing

44665 • Alpert-Abrams, Hannah
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GEA 114
show description

The pace of scientific research today is tremendous, from biology to astronomy, from engineering to medicine. Yet there is a communication gap between the science done in a laboratory and newspaper articles or public policy. In this course we will look at the history of science and at current academic and popular science writing to understand how we talk about scientific truth. We will consider why inaccessible writing sounds truthful and how popular writers use scientific facts to draw unlikely conclusions. We will then look at contemporary science writers who are effective in communicating the importance of new ideas while staying true to scientific rigor in order to identify ways of doing science writing right. Intended for science majors and non-majors alike, this course will give students tools for reading scientific writing critically. At the same time, students in this course will be asked to conduct research and produce original writing, including a scholarly essay and a portfolio of journalistic pieces, so that by the end of the course students will be confident science writers.

Assignments and Grading

Oral presentations: 10%

Research Summaries: 10%

Essay 1.1: 10%

Essay 1.2: 10%

Interview Report: 10%

Researcher Profile: 10%

Portfolio drafts: 20%

Final Portfolio: 20%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2007.

Andrea Lunsford. Easy Writer. Fourth Edition ed. Boston: Bedford/Martin’s, 2010.

Mukherjee, Siddhartha. The Best American Science and Nature Writing: 2013. New York: Mariner Books, 2013.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Facebook

44675 • Kantor, Julie
Meets MW 500pm-630pm MEZ 2.118
show description

Why do we update our Facebook status, share a link, or comment on our friends’ posts? Why are we choosing to expose these parts of our lives, these parts of ourselves on Facebook? While Facebook might seem like a way to "stay connected", seamless expressions of ourselves with our “friends”, Facebook affects our culture and social life—the ways in which we engage with others, and how we think about ourselves. Facebook is not just a social networking site; it creates and affects new ways of thinking and being. It affects new ways to make rhetorical appeals.

This course will examine Facebook’s impact on community and culture through rhetoric, as well as its relations with rhetoric. Facebook not only inspires rhetorical response, but it also changes the way rhetoric is used on a daily basis. Words and phrases such as “catfish,” “profile pic,” “selfie,” “status” and its various Facebook applications have new portmanteau meanings that did not exist a couple of years ago. How does the rhetoric of Facebook fit the time and place—kairos—of its creation and engagement? How does it change the way we communicate with others? What kind of arguments can be made about the words, phrases, and language that Facebook has made ubiquitous? How does Facebook change the way people think, use language, and make arguments?

Assignments and Grading

Short Writing Assignments: 20%

Essay 1.1: 5%

Essay 1.2: 10%

Essay 2.1: 10%

Essay 2.2: 15%

Final Assignment 3.1: 15%

Final Assignment 3.2: 15%

Presentations of Final Assignment: 10%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Rhetorical Analysis by Mark Longaker and Jeffrey Walker.

Easy Writer, Andrea Lunsford

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Hip-Hop

44680 • Maner, Sequoia
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 2.122
show description

In this course we will interrogate the rhetorical power of hip hop and the specific cultural contexts from which hip hop springs. We will study the many arguments that hip hop makes and the various arguments made against hip hop. In particular, we will focus on the methods by which controversial messages regarding issues such as race and sexuality are performed and disseminated. In this course, students will unpack the rhetorical devices that underlie generation hip hop’s artistic innovation, dope fashion, fresh beats, and sick flows. Ultimately, this course will examine how hip hop culture has and continues to shape our worldviews.

Students will use the tools of rhetorical analysis to decode the numerous (conflicting) arguments that hip hop and its critics make. The first unit of the course will be devoted to using research tools to map a hip hop historiography. Unit 2 will examine the many controversial aspects of hip hop culture as it relates to identity and the public sphere. Finally, students will make an informed and nuanced argument about a hip hop controversy, presenting their work in visual and textual forms in Unit 3. By the end of the semester, students will have created an archive that represents a cogent history of various viewpoints, both from within and outside hip hop discourse. The goals of the course will be to improve your writing and rhetorical analysis skills when it comes to hip hop texts and their contexts.

Assignments and Grading

Students will be graded on the following assignments:

Short Writing Assignments - 20%

Essay 1.1- 10%

Essay 1.2 - 10%*

Essay 2.1 - 10%

Essay 2.2 - 10%*

Final Paper Presentation - 10%**

Visual + Textual 3.1 - 15%

Visual + Textual 3.2 - 15%*

*Peer review required

**Meeting with instructor required

Required Texts and Course Readings

1.      Crowley, Sharon, and Michael Stancliff. Critical Situations: A Rhetoric for Writing in Communities (2012).

2.      Custom course packet featuring leading hip hop scholars such as Imani Perry, Jeff Chang, Tricia Rose, and Mark Anthony Neal

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Law

Meets MW 1230pm-200pm FAC 10
show description

This course seeks to refine student’s general rhetorical skills and knowledge through the examination of the American legal system, which provides illustrations of many of the most effective methods of analysis, persuasion and argumentation that are available to us.  Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, and what becomes law in our common law tradition is the product of one group’s or individual’s position being more persuasive than others.  Understanding the sort of reasoning and rhetorical techniques employed by judges, attorneys, and politicians (most of whom are attorneys, themselves) will better enable students to be active and effective members of our participatory democracy.  In the shorter term, they will learn how to assess and analyze a given issue with increased objectivity and attention to detail, while refining the writing skills necessary to convincingly articulate those positions.  The utility of the skills gained from this course will by no means be restricted to the realm of the law.  Rather, students will walk away with knowledge that will be of be of value in any academic or professional context where effective persuasion is required. 

Assignments and Grading

-       1 Research paper analyzing mainstream media’s depiction of a contemporary trial (along with a draft and peer review), 1500-1750  words, 20%

-       Short Writing Assignment #1: Composition of a Legal Memorandum, 750-1000 words, 10%

-       Short Writing Assignment #2: Response to a Portion of a Judicial Decision, 750-1000 words, 10%

-       Final Paper: Fully Formatted Legal Brief (along with a draft and peer review), 1500-1750 words, 20%

-       Participation in Course Blog throughout Semester, 2 postings/week, 250-350 words/posting, 20%    

-       Class participation and smaller assignments throughout semester,  20%

Required Texts and Course Readings

-       Donald Lazere, “Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy: The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric”

-       Andrea Lunsford, “Easy Writer”

-       Course packet, including: Arizona v. U.S. (Justice Scalia’s Dissent) (2012), Barnett, Timothy (Ed.) Teaching Argument in the Composition Course: Background Readings. Fan, Shen. "The Classroom and the Wider Culture: Identity as a Key to Learning English Composition."  215-225. Brodkin, John. “How a Single DMCA Notice Took Down 1.45 Million Blogs,” Ars Technica, 10/15/2012, Garner, Bryan. Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises. Chapter 2: Principles for Analytical and Persuasive Writing (2001) Kunz, Christina. The Process of Legal Research., Various Sample Research Situations, Lessig, Lawrence. “Code and Other Laws from Cyberspace,” (Several selections throughout text) (2006), Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants (aka The McDonald’s Coffee Case) (1994), S.M., et al. v. Griffith Public Schools (Facebook Cyberbullying Case) (2012)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Monsters

Meets MW 1230pm-200pm FAC 7
show description

Zombies, demons, beasts, fiends, freaks, cyborgs, dragons and… Lady Gaga? From the celluloid to C-SPAN, we’re steeped in a culture fixated on monsters. But what makes someone or something monstrous? Whether they are evil, hideous, or flat-out strange, one thing is certain: monsters are not like us. However, insofar as they’re made for people and by people, monsters aren’t inhuman. So, what can monsters tell us about ourselves? Studying monsters as rhetorical constructions reveals the concealed boundaries between “us” and “them.”

This course explores how monsters, whether from the Black Lagoon or Sesame Street, expose the undisclosed fears and desires of their audiences. First, you’ll select a type of monster to study and map its history. Then, we will analyze representations of an array of monsters in various media, paying close attention to how they operate as rhetorical objects. By the end of the course, you will consider how the monster you chose operates in contemporary discourse. Along the way, you will consider the following questions: What is the effect of using the word “monster” to describe real people? What does a media representation of a monster tell us about the intended audience? How have conceptions of monsters changed over time? Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Assignments and Grading

Research Summary 1: 6%

Research Summary 2: 6%

Research Paper: 16%

Analytic Essay 1: 6%

Analytic Essay 2: 6%

Analytic Essay 3: 6%

Argumentative Essay: 27%

Final project: 27%           

Required Texts and Course Readings

Richard Bullock and Francine Weinberg, The Little Seagull Handbook

Mark Garrett Longaker and Jeffrey Walker, Rhetorical Analysis

Course Packet

Stephen Asma, “Extraordinary Beings” from On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Fears

Carol Clover, “Final Girl” in Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film

Jeffrey Cohen, "Monster Theory (Seven Theses)" from Monster Theory: Reading Culture

David Gilmore, “Why Study Monsters?” from Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and All Manner of Imaginary Terrors

Jack Halberstam, “Parasites and Perverts” from Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters

Edward Ingebresten, “Thinking About Monsters” from At Stake: Monsters and the Rhetoric of Fear in Public Culture

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Performance

Meets TTH 330pm-500pm FAC 10
show description

This course will explore the rhetoric within and around artistic performance, including theatre, music, dance, and performance art. Students will engage with performance as argument, including visual rhetoric and other forms of non-verbal argumentation. The course will also investigate the rhetorical techniques that artists, advertisers, critics, and audiences use when speaking about performance. We will examine how performance as a concept appears in cultural discourse, examining the arguments implied by expressions such as “performance-enhancing,” “high performance,” “performance review,” and “well, that was quite a performance!” You will select a specific performance that interests you and engage in an in-depth written exploration of its rhetorical situation: the performer, the audience, the time and place, the arguments made by the piece itself, and the discussion surrounding it. After examining the arguments of and around the piece, you will select a rhetorical aspect of the performance or an argument about it to analyze in detail, showing how it makes and supports a claim. Having thoroughly investigated the rhetoric of this performance, you will make your own argument about it, in both performative and written form. In this way, you will gain a thorough understanding of how performance makes arguments, how we speak about performances, and what we mean when we use the word “performance.”

Assignments and Grading

Students will be graded on the following assignments:

Essay 1.1: Synthesizing the Rhetoric of a Performance: 5%

Essay 1.2: Revision: 10%

Essay 2.1: Analyzing the Rhetoric of a Performance: 10%

Essay 2.2: Revision: 15%

Essay 3.1: Evaluating a Performance: 15%

Essay 3.2: Revision: 15%

Final Presentation: 10%

Short Writing Assignments 1-6 :  20%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, Crowley and Hawhee

Easy Writer, Lunsford

Readings on Blackboard

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Guilty Pleasure

44705 • Zacks, Aaron S
Meets MW 330pm-500pm PAR 6
show description

“Guilty pleasure" is a commonplace phrase, often used in reference to artifacts of low-brow, popular -- memes, Lady Gaga, Ice Road Truckers. But anything can be, or become, a guilty pleasure, and the phrase does more than reinforce cultural hierarchies. Each of us has our own guilty pleasures, whether they exist in the world of food, the internet, movies, etc. One might infer that humans have always had guilty pleasures, and reason that feeling guilt about our actions or thoughts is what makes us human. But is the guilty pleasure flourishing in the digital era? Are we more guilty about our pleasures now than ever before? Do we have more to feel guilty about? In general, “pleasure” is a personal experience, while “guilt” is typically understood as a social construct. So, how do guilty pleasures reflect an intersection of our inner (psychological) and outer (social) worlds? What do our guilty pleasures tell us about ourselves, our culture, and our interaction with that culture?

This class will begin by studying two central concepts (guilt and pleasure) from a variety of perspectives, including psychology, religion, culture, and of course, rhetoric. Reading from a variety of disciplines will teach students to recognize and analyze rhetorical techniques in different contexts and -- in service to the final project -- teach them to employ solid rhetorical principles in making their own argument. Learning about the history of debate surrounding guilt and pleasure will bring us insights into the way the “guilty pleasure” functions as a commonplace in our culture. Subsequent class periods will be devoted to notable categories of guilty pleasures -- for example, Top 40s music, fast food, and the internet.

Students in this class must be comfortable engaging in self-reflexive thinking and sharing personal insights with their peers.

Assignments and Grading

Homework: 10%

Short Essays: 10%

Paper 1 (Descriptive): 15%

Paper 2 (Analytical): 20%

Paper 3 (Argumentative): 25%

Presentation: 10%

Peer Review: 10%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer. 4th Ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.

Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument with Readings. 6th Ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.

Nietszhe, Friedrich. Selections from Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and On the Genealogy of Morality (1887)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Video Games

44710 • Nelson, Scott
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 104
show description

This course seeks to explore video games as a modern discursive medium. Far from being mere “mindless entertainment,” many video games make explicit or implicit arguments about gender and sexuality, economic systems, corporate practices, geopolitics, and both real and imagined societies. What arguments do these simulations and simulacra mount about how the world is? What arguments do they mount about how the world should be?

Much of the past and current study of digital rhetoric seems to look at the content of computers through applying older means of rhetorical analysis, looking at the text and images contained on computers rather than the processes through which this content is represented. What we seek to explore is a relatively new field—procedural rhetoric—and the ways this new field can inform video game criticism. How do the procedures inherent in video games make arguments about the world?

Assignments and Grading

The Learning Record Online (LRO) will account for 100% of the grade.

Longer Assignments:

- Rhetorical Analysis of serious game: Draft (Peer & Instructor reviewed) + Final

- Rhetorical analysis of video game chosen by student: Draft (Peer & Instructor reviewed) + Final

- Project proposal for final project: Draft (Peer & Instructor reviewed) + Final

- Final presentation

- Final Learning Record

Short Assignments:

- Blog posts throughout the semester (5)

- LRO part A

- LRO Part B1

- LRO Part C1

Required Texts

Persuasive Games by Ian Bogost (ISBN#9780262026147)

• Bully ($29.99 on Steam)

Mass Effect ($19.99 on Steam)

• America’s Army (free)

• A Massive Multiplayer Online game ($15-$40 on Steam)

• Another game of the student's choice

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Satire

44715 • Zacks, Aaron S
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 6
show description

With the bountiful and diverse new media at their disposal in the 21st century, satirists are playing an increased, and increasingly mainstream, role in world culture. Satire’s diversity—of subject-matter, genre, tone, and humor—helps it to cross national and language boundaries, so that a satirical argument about gets picked up quickly by news outlets and spreads, meme-like, among various rhetorical contexts. A few years ago, a Danish newspaper published a collection of cartoons depicting the prophet of Islam Muhammed in a variety of controversial scenarios. The subsequent public debate, centering around freedom of speech and religious sensitivity, was taken up briskly by pundits of all kinds, earnest and satirical, from CNN to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and inspired a two-part South Park episode representing the debate in its characteristically zany but targeted brand of argument-making. More recently, during the 2012 US Presidential election process, satire outlets such as The Colbert Report and Saturday Night Live brought political issues to a wide audience by supplying an alternate, satirical version of the news cycle. Back in 2004, Ted Koppel admitted, albeit lamentably, that “a lot of television viewers...get their news from the Comedy Channel.”1

Surely that number has grown dramatically in the past eight years. With viewership comes legitimacy, and whether or not the satirist wants to be taken seriously ceases to a matter under his or her control. Unevenness of audience expectations produces a complex rhetorical situation, especially in response to the most serious of world events, most recently Hurricane Sandy and the Sand Hook tragedy. On other, bizarre occasions, we have seen satire misread as earnest argument, such as this past December, when a Chinese news outlet reported that The Onion had named North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jung-un the “Sexiest Man Alive in 2012.” When utilized effectively, satire speaks truth to power through the indirect strategy of irony—saying the opposite of what one means—and can, perhaps, encourage useful public debate. It is also entertaining and, when done well, tremendously funny. This is the central irony of satirical rhetoric that we will dwell on in this course.

What role does satire play in our culture? How are satirists utilizing new media and technology to infiltrate spaces usually reserved for earnest argument? Can satirical argument produce measurable change in the world like other rhetorical modes, such as political speech and news broadcasts? What role do we, as engaged citizens, expect satire to play in our lives? How does satire meet or challenge those expectations? And what on Earth does it mean that a portion of our country believes Jon Stewart is more reliable a reporter than Wolf Blitzer? And, for starters, what is satire, anyway? We will engage these and many other questions over the course of the semester through studying satirical arguments about various subjects (music, sports, politics, etc.) in a wide variety of genres (television, internet, poetry, video games, radio, etc.). Students will apply concepts of rhetorical analysis in our discussions of these texts and learn to move deftly between different media. We will study some classic rhetorical texts, such as Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal (1729) and Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary (1906), but, because satire is, above all, topical, most of the course content will be contemporary. As with all rhetorical study, the underlying aim of this course is to hone our sensitivity to the arguments surrounding us, making us more careful interpreters of our society and cultures. This course is writing-intensive and revision-intensive; students will produce and revise approximately 30 pages of original writing over the course of the semester. This course also requires active participation in class discussions and one or more presentations. In the final weeks of the semester, students will produce a piece of satire, in the genre of their choice, accompanied by an essay describing their use of rhetorical strategies.


Assignments and Grading

Research Summaries 10%

Annotated Bibliography 10%

Essay 1.1 (Rhetorical Analysis) 10%

Essay 1.2 (Revision) 15%

Essay 2.1 (Persuasive Essay) 10%

Essay 2.2 (Revision) 15%

Final Project and Essay 15%

In-Class Writing 5%

Homework 10%

Peer Review Mandatory

  Required Texts Course Packet (available the first week of the semester from Speedway Copy in the Dobie Mall) Gray, Jonathan, Jeffrey P. Jones, and Ethan Thompson. Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era (2009) Scharton, Maurice and Janice Neuleib. Things Your Grammar Never Told You: A Pocket Handbook (2nd Edition, 2001) Sample Satirical Texts Bierce, Ambrose. The Devil’s Dictionary (1906) Colbert, Stephen, et al. The Colbert Report (2005-) Judge, Mike. Office Space (1999) Kafka, Franz. “A Hunger Artist” (1924) Melville, Herman. “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” (1853) Onion, The (1988-) Stewart, Jon, et al. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999-) Swift, Jonathan. A Modest Proposal (1729) Tomorrow, Tom. This Modern World (1988-) Travesty, Texas (1997-)

RHE 309S • Crit Read And Persuasive Writ

44720 • Smith, Daniel
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WEL 3.266
show description

RHE 309S is designed for students who have earned credit by examination for RHE 306 – Rhetoric & Writing. Like RHE 306, RHE 309S teaches students how to analyze and write arguments, but it also introduces you to rhetoric as a civic art, one that prepares you to write to and for the public. RHE 309S is designated a writing flag course.

This section will focus on reading and writing political arguments in the American public sphere. Students will have the opportunity to research topics of their own choosing, but all individual work will share a common focus on partisanship. Students will consider how the rhetoric of public figures is constrained by party-line expectations and norms, as well as the ways such norms are used by public figures to define audiences and dictate terms of debate. By analyzing specific rhetorical situations, students will consider the exigencies that give rise to and sustain partisanship, its uses and abuses by politicians and commentators, and its ultimate impact as a productive and/or destructive force on national, state, and local political stages.

Students will learn skills such as how to:

  • Analyze issues and arguments, and the rhetorical situations (or public spheres) in which they are embedded
  • Understand public writing
  • Read texts and images critically
  • Discover, evaluate, construct, and organize effective, original arguments
  • Conduct research, use it effectively in argumentation, and document sources properly
  • Produce a clear and supple style that is adapted to particular rhetorical situations
  • Edit and proofread their own and others’ prose

Main Texts

Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee

Brief Penguin Handbook, Lester Faigley

Major Assignments and Grading

Unit One: Analysis of a Public Debate

Students will read and discuss materials related to the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (a.k.a. Obamacare). They will then write an analysis identifying major stakeholders and examining their party affiliations, their target audiences, and their preferred forms of evidence and persuasion.  (20% of grade) 

Unit Two: Partisanship and Audience

Students will choose and research a political controversy, focusing on the relationship between partisanship and audience. In the course of their research, students will identify two specific arguments made for audiences on the same general stage (national, state, or local), but from opposing political perspectives. Students will analyze the ways speakers use party affiliations, evidence, and emotional appeals, to both define and respond to specific audiences. (25% of grade)

Unit Three: Speaking to the Crowd

In this unit students will consider ways to make responsible AND effective arguments in a partisan landscape. Building on their research from the previous unit, students will craft an “internal” policy statement for an imagined politician about a particular issue. This statement will focus on logical evidence and clearly defined ethical values (though not the student’s own, “real” values or beliefs). They will then craft a fully developed argument for this politician’s use, targeting a specific, clearly defined, and partly hostile audience. In doing so, they will consider and respond to both the rhetorical limitations and possibilities provided by their audience and the speaker’s respective political affiliations, and strive to have real impact on the audience without ignoring OR pandering to these elements of the rhetorical situation. (30% of grade)

Other grade elements

Shorter writing assignments, quizzes, and participation in class discussion and critique will make up the remaining 25% of the grade.

RHE 309S • Crit Read And Persuasive Writ

44725 • Hedengren, Mary L
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JGB 2.202
show description

The goal of this class is to develop your skills in writing, analyzing, and producing public arguments. This is a class about argumentation. You will be learning to recognize and use effective strategies for every area of academics and public discourse. You will learn to write to specific audiences to achieve specific purposes--to change your readers' minds, adjust their attitudes, or inspire them to take action.

You’ll have the chance to research a single controversy in depth through three long written assignments, culminating in a persuasive document of your own position. Your grade will NOT depend in any way on the position you take on an issue. But it WILL depend on the effort you invest in openly exploring the issues, analyzing the strength of your own and others’ arguments, tailoring your arguments to a variety of readers (including those who may not agree with you), and refining your own argumentative techniques.

Main Texts

They Say, I Say, Gerald Graff, second edition

A Little Argument, Lester Faigley & Jack Selzer

Easy Writer, Fourth edition

Assignments and Grades

Your final grade will be a composite of grades on your papers and your involvement during the semester as a whole:

·       State of the Issue –200 pt

·       Rhetorical Analysis—300 pt

·       Persuasive Document—300 pt       

·       Class participation: discussion board posts, peer reviews, etc.—100 pt

         ·       Assignments encouraging individual responsibility for writing improvement—TSIS                

                 exercises, short assignments, quizzes, conference prep, etc.—100 p

RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Nsds

44735 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WCH 1.108
show description


The aim in this course is to develop a better understanding and mastery of rhetoric-the art of persuasion-an art that's essential not only for your college work, but also for your participation as a citizen in a democracy. You already know this art instinctively: every day, all day, you're immersed in rhetoric. But our goal in this course is to become more consciously and effectively rhetorical.

To accomplish this goal, we'll use a number of approaches. We'll complete a number of assignments addressed to specific audiences for specific purposes; we'll engage ourselves in additional assignments involving analysis and evaluation; we'll read rhetorically, with a critical awareness of the techniques and strategies adopted by writers; and we'll involve ourselves in discussions about what we read.

The course-and its assignments-will challenge you to think differently, to question age-old assumptions, and to engage in argument as part of a larger community. This course isn't for the faint of heart. If you're not prepared to be challenged in your thinking, or if you're not comfortable participating in conversations with others, you best not sign up. But if you're a hard worker, you like to share your thoughts, and you're open to a slightly different approach to learning, then this is the place for you.

RHE 312 • Writing In Digtl Environments

44740 • Blouke, Catherine M
Meets TTH 930am-1100am FAC 7
show description

In our daily practices in online environments, we leave an endless series of digital breadcrumbs, crafting images of ourselves that (with and without our privacy settings) can be viewed by friends and Big Brother alike. Armed with an increased awareness of the way we might be read in digital spaces, we have the option to take an active and rhetorically savvy role in the construction of our identities online.

Writing in Digital Environments takes online identity formation as its central focus, and students will read, think, and write through the ways in which the myriad digital spaces we navigate work together (or not) to form a cohesive (or fractured) identity online. Organized around concepts of networking, sharing, commenting, and assessing, the units of this course will take specific online (writing) platforms as their objects of analysis, asking students to think through differences they encounter in audience, purpose, style, delivery, and design. We will interrogate the differences between Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Flickr. We will think through the social functions and community formations on sites like Reddit and ICanHazCheeseburger, and we will address issues of privacy, copyright, and fair use.

Each unit will lead to a major writing assignment or multimedia project, all of which will ultimately come together into a web-text “Mystory” (as adapted from Gregory Ulmer’s Internet Invention). In addition to building a website, students will develop competence in image and audio editing software (Adobe Photoshop and Garageband).


100% of your grade in this course will be determined by use of the Learning Record (LR), which requires each student to compile a portfolio of work at the midterm and at the end of the semester and to write an analysis of individual learning progress. Your final grade will be based on both the quality of your writing and the degree to which you convincingly demonstrate improvement in your written statements for the LR.

Major Assignments

LR parts A, B1/C1 and B2/C2, plus observations

Four multimedia assignments (including reflective response papers)

Final Mystory web-text

Weekly blogging/discussion questions and short homework assignments

Required Texts

Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy. Gregory Ulmer. New York: Longman, 2003.  ISBN: 978-0321126924

Students also should own a college-level composition handbook that covers mechanics, usage, and documentation (such as The Little Penguin Handbook or Easy Writer)

Various handouts and online readings and viewings

RHE 315 • Intro To Visual Rhetoric

44743 • Hawkins, Tekla
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm FAC 7
show description

This course will focus on ways of looking and the rhetoric that surrounds visual texts. We will examine visual texts from the early 20th century through the 21st century - from the Blanton Museum and the Harry Ransom Center, to comics, to photographs on Flickr and Imgur, .gifs on Tumblr, and videos on Vine and Youtube. In each section we will examine who the expected audience might be, and how our own perspectives might vary our reading of the texts. After a general introduction, students will select a topic to focus on for the rest of the term. Students will improve their skills in analyzing, interpreting, and designing visual and multimedia arguments as well as their ability to place those texts in different contexts. In addition to developing their writing skills, students will learn basic digital image composition in various formats.


Two analytical essays focusing on visual artifacts

Two multimedia projects

One final project including oral presentation

Regular online discussion prompts in response to the readings and multimedia work

Completion of the Learning Record

Students will receive regular feedback from their peers and the instructor on their projects and essays, and have individual conferences with the instructor to discuss drafts.


Due to large variations in experience with multimedia composition, 100% of your grade in this course will be determined by the use of the Learning Record. This assessment system requires students to compile a portfolio of work at the midterm and end of the semester, and to write an analysis of their learning process. Final grades are determined based on the quality of writing and the degree to which you convincingly demonstrate improvement over the course of the term. Because of the nature of the course, consistent attendance and participation are required.

Required Texts

Picturing Texts, Faigley, et al.

Students should also own a college-level composition handbook that covers mechanics, usage,and documentation (such as The Little Penguin Handbook or Easy Writer)

Various online readings and viewings

No previous digital writing or editing experience is necessary, but regular internet access is required.

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

44745 • Roberts-Miller, Patricia
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 306
show description

The study of rhetoric, one of the original seven Liberal Arts (along with logic, grammar, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music), has a  long and proud history, stretching back to the 5th century BCE and up to the present day.  Both a productive and interpretive art, it is decidedly cross-disciplinary: the principles of rhetoric (audience, context, kairos, exigency, ethos, pathos, logos, and so forth) are consistently employed, for example, not only in literary analysis but in law, politics, education, science, and religion.

This course introduces students to common rhetorical principles and to the disciplinary history of rhetoric and writing studies.  Assignments in the class will offer students the chance to identify and apply these rhetorical principles while composing, interpreting, and presenting “texts”—oral, print, and/or electronic.   The course will meet all necessary requirements to qualify as an SWC/writing flag course.

At the end of the term, students should be able to:

(1) Write an effective rhetorical analysis.

(2) Write a responsible argument relevant to a contested issue.

(3) Discourse about some of the major issues in the field (such as: What is the relationship between truth and language? How do technologies of communication affect discourse? What is "good" public argument? What constitutes a quality rhetorical education? and so on.)

(4) Situate the significance of some of the canonical figures in rhetorical studies.

(5) Apply the basic principles of rhetorical study, as mentioned above, to contemporary situations.

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

44750 • Smith, Daniel
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 101
show description

The study of rhetoric, one of the original seven Liberal Arts (along with logic, grammar, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music), has a  long and proud history, stretching back to the 5th century BCE and up to the present day.  Both a productive and interpretive art, it is decidedly cross-disciplinary: the principles of rhetoric (audience, context, kairos, exigency, ethos, pathos, logos, and so forth) are consistently employed, for example, not only in literary analysis but in law, politics, education, science, and religion.

This course introduces students to common rhetorical principles and to the disciplinary history of rhetoric and writing studies.  Assignments in the class will offer students the chance to identify and apply these rhetorical principles while composing, interpreting, and presenting “texts”—oral, print, and/or electronic.   The course will meet all necessary requirements to qualify as an SWC/writing flag course.

At the end of the term, students should be able to:

(1) Write an effective rhetorical analysis.

(2) Write a responsible argument relevant to a contested issue.

(3) Discourse about some of the major issues in the field (such as: What is the relationship between truth and language? How do technologies of communication affect discourse? What is "good" public argument? What constitutes a quality rhetorical education? and so on.)

(4) Situate the significance of some of the canonical figures in rhetorical studies.

(5) Apply the basic principles of rhetorical study, as mentioned above, to contemporary situations.

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

44755 • Ferreira-Buckley, Linda
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm PAR 206
show description

The study of rhetoric, one of the original seven Liberal Arts (along with logic, grammar, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music), has a long and proud history, stretching back to the 5th century BCE and up to the present day. Both a productive and interpretive art, it is decidedly cross-disciplinary: the principles of rhetoric (audience, context, kairos, exigency, ethos, pathos, logos, and so forth) are consistently employed, for example, not only in literary analyses but in law, politics, education, science, and religion.

This course will introduce you to common rhetorical principles and to the disciplinary history of rhetoric and writing studies. Assignments in this class will offer you the chance to identify and apply these rhetorical principles while composing, interpreting, and presenting "texts"—oral, print, and/or electronic. (We’ll work on revision and peer review though out the course.) Assignments will include one major collaborative project, six 2-page papers, rhetorical exercises, a midterm and final exam.

You’ll read and discuss significant works from major historical periods (including Classical, Medieval/Renaissance, Early Modern/Modern, and Contemporary) and examine the development of rhetorical practices specific to oral, print, and electronic technologies of interaction. You’ll also do rhetorical analyses of different kinds of texts (e.g., political speeches, advertisements, judicial decisions) to engage with both mainstream and culturally specific rhetorics  (feminist, African American, Native American, queer, etc.) and to read, discuss, and apply at least two different contemporary rhetorical approaches.

TEXTS (tentative)

Crowley & Hawhee, Classical Rhetoric for Contemporary Students

Bizzell & Herzberg, The Rhetoric Tradition

Course packet of readings

Six short papers (& revisions to each): 60%

Collaborative project 20%

Midterm exam 10%

Final exam 10%

Exercises, peer reviews & class participation: mandatory

RHE 325M • Advanced Writing

44760 • Henkel, Jacqueline M
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 2.128
show description

Rhetoric 325M is an advanced-level non-fiction writing course. Its aim is to develop already accomplished students into more sophisticated and publishable writers.  During classes, students in the course should expect to complete (and share with others) essay analyses, imitation exercises, sentence-styling assignments, and editing exercises.  Outside of class, students will write two drafts of each of four papers representing familiar kinds of writing tasks:  a personal narrative, a general-audience "translation" of a specialized study or report, a researched persuasive paper, and a manuscript speech.

Assignments and Grading

Minimum requirements are:  1) satisfactory performance on (almost daily) in-class writing exercises; 2) satisfactory work on rough drafts of four papers; 3) a satisfactory average on four final paper drafts; 4) effective peer review and workshop participation; 5) discussion informed by familiarity with the required readings; and 6) regular attendance. Note that these are minimum requirements.

Grades are based on in-class writing exercises (10%); rough drafts (20%); final drafts (60% [longest papers weighted most]); peer review, discussion, and workshop performance (10%).  Attendance and courteous classroom behavior are considered essential, and unsatisfactory marks in these areas are deducted from the final average.

Final course grades are assigned relative to the overall performance of the class; in other words, scores are "curved" rather than absolute.  Final grades include "plus" or "minus" grades.  Final class scores may be rounded up or down, according to students' class participation and performance on minor and ungraded assignments.

A grade of C will indicate work that meets all the basic course requirements; A's and B's are honors grades, designating work of some distinction.  Grades are based only on work assigned to everyone in the class; no extra credit work can be accepted.

Required Texts and Course Readings

--Ruszkiewicz, John.  A Reader's Guide to College Writing, Bedford-St. Martin's, 2014

--Scharton, Maurice.  Things Your Grammar Never Told You:  A Pocket Handbook, 2nd ed., Longman, 2001

--additional on-line reading assignments

RHE 325M • Advanced Writing

44765 • Ruszkiewicz, John J
Meets MW 330pm-500pm PAR 104
show description

Rhetoric 325M is an advanced-level workshop in writing and editing. Its goal is to make already skilled writers more polished and publishable. The standards are high: the course will focus intensely on editing individual projects with everyone in the class having access to the drafts of their colleagues' work. Specifically, course goals are the following:

  • To help you handle grammar, mechanics, and usage correctly and confidently.
  • To make you aware that written claims must be specific and supported by logical reasons and reliable evidence. 
  • To prepare you for a job market that rewards clear, efficient, and stylish prose—the kind that audiences read willingly. 

 Course Requirements

Members of the class will write two short papers and three longer ones. Many course sessions will focus on drafts, with students in the class routinely showcasing their work-in-progress.

Grading Policy

Literacy biography / 5%; 
Book review / 15%; 
Major Project 1 / 25%; Major Project 2 / 25%; 
Major Project 3 / 25%; Editing / 4%; Perfect Attendance / 1%. This formula presumes satisfactory attendance and the completion of all assignments (including editing assignments) on time; participating in group work; reviewing classmates' materials regularly, and so on


John Trimble, Writing With Style / 3rd edition

RHE 328 • Magazine Writing/Publishing

44770 • Buckley, Tom
Meets W 500pm-800pm PAR 101
show description

This course is designed to give students an understanding of the magazine field from the perspective of both writers and editors. The course offers a broad core of practical knowledge while also exploring issues related to the field. In the first part of the course, students will learn how to generate story ideas; research appropriate magazine markets to pursue; conduct interviews; sell their ideas (and themselves) in query letters; develop the best format for presenting their information; and, finally, organize the materials, write, and revise the article itself, and send it off for publication.

In the second half of the course, students will publish an issue of a magazine, acting as writers, editors, and designers responsible for its content – and beholden to a publisher. They'll identify a niche audience, formulate an editorial vision, and write, revise, edit, fact-check, and generally take part in all aspects of the publication. In short, they'll perform all the editorial functions of a magazine staff. They'll work individually and in teams, devising departments, assigning stories, gathering art, selling ads. They'll write headlines and captions, crop pictures, fit copy, and design layouts. And they'll engage in discussions about issues of advertising, media ethics, and publisher control.

No previous journalistic experience is necessary.

 Course Requirements

Three articles during the first half of the course (profile, issue of conflict, feature); various tasks associated with publishing a magazine in the second half of the course. During the second half, students will also continue to revise the three articles from the first half of the course.

Grading Policy

Three articles, with revisions: 25% each

Shorter exercises: 15%

Participation in second half of the course: 10%

Required Texts

Writer's Market 2010, Robert Lee Brewer (Editor)

Writing for Magazines: A Beginner's Guide, Cheryl Sloan Wray

RHE 328 • Prins Of Technical Writing

44775 • Spinuzzi, Clay
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 6
show description

Technical writing is nonfiction writing meant to make the complex simple. It informs, instructs, and persuades. And it can take many forms -- manuals, references, instructions, correspondence, reports, and proposals, among others. Whatever form is used, technical writing's focus is to ensure that readers can make informed choices, understand complex information, and follow complex procedures.

In this class, technical writing is treated rhetorically: We will build on lessons of rhetorical analysis, organization, and style learned in previous classes, but we will apply those lessons to concrete real-world problems. By the end of the class, students should be able to:

 - Understand the relationship between technical writing and rhetoric,

- Identify and fulfill the purposes of technical writing: informing, instructing, persuading

- Identify and produce several genres of technical writing, including manuals, instructions, correspondence, and reports,

- Use a clear, parsimonious writing style,

- Use visual cues such as headings and lists to signal text hierarchy and help readers find content

- Select and use appropriate visual aids

- Identify and plan information spaces for eliciting user content.


This class is particularly suited for liberal arts majors who want to gain a basic understanding of technical writing or who want to improve their writing clarity.

Course Requirements

Students will complete four major projects as well as daily minor assignments.

Grade Breakdown

Project 1: Instructions (includes technical definition) (20%)

Project 2: Report (20%) 
Project 3: Proposal (20%)

Project 4: Manual and user feedback forum (includes correspondence) (40%)

Daily minor assignments will be folded into the major assignment grades.

Required Texts

The Handbook of Technical Writing Ninth Edition by Gerald J. Alred, Charles T. Brusaw, Walter E. Oliu

Team Writing by Joanna Wolfe (Bundled with Alred et al.)

Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation by Anne Gentle

RHE 330C • Nonviolent Communication

44780 • Syverson, Margaret A
Meets MW 330pm-500pm FAC 7
show description

The central issue in this course will be non-violence and power. How do we understand the uses of power? How can we learn how to use our own power with wisdom and compassion? Can nonviolent action have an impact on violence in the "real world?"

Students will read and discuss foundational work in studies of nonviolence, responding to the issues raised in the texts, online and in class discussions. They will engage in a major project developed in stages, developing a richer understanding of the theories and application of nonviolent action, and they will explore the importance of the right use of power through rhetoric. Students will work on individual chapters for a book tentatively titled Peace and Power. Together we will draft and publish this book in one semester. Previous books published by students in Professor Syverson’s classes include Ethics Now and True Beginner’s Mind: Fresh Encounters with Zen. In the process students will gain greater control over their own composing and learn firsthand about the book publication process. Readings will be drawn from prominent experts on nonviolence and nonviolent communication.

Assignments and Grading

Writing component of the course:

Four major projects representing stages of the chapter development and book publication, and completion of the Learning Record. Students will also post weekly to the class wiki in response to readings and discussion.

Project  Part 1: A short autobiographical paper of individual power

Project Part 2: Drafting and editing the book chapter; providing critical editorial feedback for peers

Project Part 3: Revision, proofreading, and publication of the chapter, and composition of the book

Project Part 4: The Learning Record

 Grades in this course are determined on the basis of your Learning Record, which accompanies a portfolio of work presented at the midterm and at the end of the course. (More information about the Learning Record can be found at These portfolios present a selection of student work, both formal and informal, completed during the semester, ongoing observations about student learning, and analysis of student work and interpretations with respect to the student's development across five dimensions of learning: confidence and independence, knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, use of prior and emerging experience, and reflectiveness. This development centers around the major strands of work in the course: rhetoric and composition, research, technology, and collaboration. Please note: All assigned work must be completed on time to receive a passing grade in this course. Book production proceeds on a relentless schedule, which means all deadlines are non-negotiable. I highly recommend that students make use of the Undergraduate Writing Center during the semester for helpful, expert feedback on all stages of the writing.

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Speak Peace in a World of Conflict: What You Say Next Will Change Your World by Marshall B. Rosenberg
  • The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas by Mahatma Gandhi
  • Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Right Use of Power by Cedar Barstow
  • The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World by Michael N. Nagler
  • Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World by Joanna R. Macy
  • UN Millennium Declaration and Roadmap


  • Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values by Marshall B. Rosenberg
  • A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-Violent Conflict by Peter Ackerman, Jack DuVall

RHE 330C • Writing With Sound

44785 • Boyle, Casey A
Meets MW 930am-1100am PAR 104
show description

In our largely screen-based media culture, we often overlook the pervasive presence of sound. Talk radio, ambient music, mobile device alerts, animal sounds, human voices, and random noise all combine to form an ever present sonic backdrop with and through which we engage our media ecologies. Alone and together, these sounds help write our experience of an entertainment event, a political campaign, an educational venture. Towards understanding the rhetorical effects of sound compositions, this course will examine recording, editing, and distribution of sound as a form of writing. We will be especially keen to explore and examine those writings that are produced and circulated in digital environments. In addition to reading and discussing important works in the multidisciplinary field of sound studies, the course will offer an extended introduction and continued practice in using readily available and open source digital audio editing tools for writing with sound.

Assignments and Grading

0 - Reading Responses (20%)

            Several brief written responses to readings and discussions.

1 - Podcast Analysis (15%)

After selecting and subscribing to a podcast, students will write a 4-5 page analysis of composition and distribution of the selected serial program.

2 - Sonic Remediation (25%)

            This assignment asks students to select a printed writing--a short essay or

article from or related to our course readings--to remediate into a sound essay.

3 - Podcast Series (40%)

This final assignment will include a short proposal, three podcast episodes, and a brief prospectus that outlines a distribution plan.

Required Texts and Course Readings

Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism & Production, Jonathan Kern

The Book of Audacity: Record, Edit, Mix, and Master with the Free Audio Editor, Carla Schroder

Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture, edited by Paul D. Miller

Sound Studies Reader, edited by Jonathan Sterne

Additional essays and articles will be provided on the course site

RHE 330C • Designing Text Ecologies

44790 • Spinuzzi, Clay
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 6
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How do people use texts to communicate and solve problems in organizations - and how can we help them improve? In this class, you'll learn how to answer that question. You'll design and conduct a field study of an organization, watching actual people communicate and solve actual problems. You'll analyze the results, generating a model of how they communicate and where their solutions do and don't work. Finally, you'll design a text that will help them fix their problems.

RHE 330C involves four major projects:

 Project 1: Designing a study of an organization (20%). In Project 1, you will identify a research site, gain permission to do research there, and design a research study. You'll follow this design as you conduct the study in Project 2 and analyze the results in Project 3. At the end of Project 12, you’ll turn in a research proposal, consent form, and interview script.

Project 2: Conducting the study of the organization (30%). In Project 2, you’ll put your research design into action, observing people, interviewing them, and looking at their texts. At the end of Project 2, you’ll turn in your data and an interim report of your findings.

Project 3: Analyzing the study results (35%). In Project 3, you’ll carefully analyze your data by using several models, which will help you see patterns in how people work and in the problems they encounter and will help you recommend changes. At the end of Project 3, you’ll turn in a recommendation report and the models.

Project 4: Testing a solution (15%). Now that you have diagnosed issues at the research site and generated recommendations for addressing them, it's time to turn those abstract recommendations into concrete solutions. Your group will use one or more participatory design techniques to develop and test an early-stage solution implementing one of your recommendations. At the end of Project 4, you’ll turn in the solution along with a report describing how well the solution worked.

 Course Requirements

Project 1: Designing a study of an organization (6pp. proposal, consent form, interview questions).

Project 2: Conducting the study of the organization (6pp interim report plus collateral materials). 

Project 3: Analyzing the study results (6pp recommendation report plus collateral materials).

Project 4: Testing a solution (4pp recommendation report plus collateral materials). 


Project 1: 20%

Project 2: 30%

Project 3: 35%

Project 4: 15%


Spinuzzi, Tracing Genres Through Organizations

Online readings at the course site

RHE 330C • Writing And Photography

44795 • Faigley, Lester L
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 104
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This course aims to make you a better writer, a better photographer, and a better analyst of images. We will look at the issues which have pre-occupied practitioners and theorists of this medium for the past century and a half, from the daguerreotypists of the 1830s and 40s through to the new issues raised by today's digital work. We will visit a large exhibition of photography, Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection, in the Ransom Center. One of our projects will be based on this exhibition. Expect to write eight short discussion-board essays in response to our readings and viewings, make a presentation and write an essay about a photograph in the Gernsheim collection, and complete an original documentary project. The documentary project will consist of 10-20 photographs and 1500-2000 words of explanatory text. The text and photographs should present an understandable, engaging, 'picture' of the subject, but the writing and the photos should each stand on their own.


Discussion board essays: 25% Presentation on photograph: 5% Project 1: 5% Project 2: 20% Project 3: 35% Project 4: 10%

Required Texts:

The Little Penguin Handbook, Second edition, MLA update. Faigley. New York: Longman, 2009. ISBN 0205743390

The Book of Photography: The History, the Technique, the Art, the Future. Hoy. National Geographic, 2005. ISBN 978-0792236931

Handout essays and online readings and viewing

Required Equipment:
 A camera, preferably a 2MB+ digital camera

RHE 330D • Sophistry & Inventn Of Rhet

44800 • Walker, Jeffrey
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 101
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This course will examine the role of those controversial persons known as “sophists” and the practices of “sophists” in the invention of rhetoric, in two senses: first, in the emergence of rhetoric as a distinct discipline or “art” in ancient Greece; and second, in the rhetorical process of inventing ideas. In the first part of the course we’ll focus on the surviving remnants of the first persons known as “sophists,” in an effort to understand their characteristic ideas and practices. Next, we’ll consider some notable responses to the sophists, in the comedy of Aristophanes, Plato’s dialogues, and Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Poetics. Finally we’ll consider some ancient and modern examples of “sophistical” thought and practice, from the “Second Sophistic” movement of late antiquity to Friedrich Nietzsche, twentieth-century pragmatism, and postmodern fiction. Throughout we will be meditating on what it may mean to say, as Gorgias of Leontini did, that “the deceiver is more virtuous than the non-deceiver, and the deceived is wiser than the non-deceived.” 


Rosamond K. Sprague (ed.): The Older Sophists

Aristophanes: Clouds

Plato: Protagoras, Phaedrus

Aristotle: Rhetoric; Poetics

Apuleius: The Golden Ass

Thomas Pynchon: The Crying of Lot 49

A packet of short readings from Friedrich Nietzsche & William James Requirements and Grading

Three formal papers -- one for each unit -- as well as short, informal “weeklies” and other exercises. Attendance and participation are expected. Final grades will be based on 4 “graded objects”:

3 formal papers: 25% each

Weeklies, short exercises, and participation in discussion (considered holistically): 25%

RHE 330D • Classical To Modern Rhetoric

44805 • Ruszkiewicz, John J
Meets MW 1230pm-200pm PAR 104
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This course will survey the history of rhetoric, one of the original seven liberal arts, exploring its impact on political, religious, and literary discourse in the West from antiquity to (almost) modern times.                

In "The Rhetorical Tradition," we will examine the theorists and practitioners who shaped the arts of speaking and writing in Europe and America.  We will read several classical texts (including Phaedrus, the Rhetoric of Aristotle, selections from Cicero and Quintilian) to understand how rhetoric was taught and practiced in antiquity and where it stood in relationship to the other arts of the trivium—, that is, logic and grammar.  The influence of rhetoric in the Medieval and Renaissance periods will be presented chiefly through literary and religious texts--for example, selected English sermons, "The Pardoner's Tale," Julius Caesar, Areopagitica, and so on.  We will also examine the influence of rhetoric on English prose style and the on the development of scientific and philosophical writing. 

In the modern period, the course will examine British/Scottish neo-classical and belletristic rhetorics, particularly as they shaped systems of education and literary tastes in England and America.  The decline, near disappearance, and renewal of the rhetorical tradition in the last century will be chronicled through the work of major theorists, including I.A. Richards, Kenneth Burke, Richard Weaver, and Chaim Perelman. 

Our focus throughout the semester will be both theoretical and practical: we will read the theory and then examine cultural and political applications.  Anyone with a general interest in language or literary studies will probably find this course of interest.  It will be especially helpful to rhetoric and English majors going on to graduate school, most of whom will teach courses in rhetoric/composition as part of their graduate programs. 


Grades will be calculated according to the following formula:

30%: Midterm

30%: Final

10%: Oral Report

30%: Portfolio of Position Papers


Bizzell, Patricia and Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition.

RHE 330D • Philosophy Vs Rhetoric

44810 • Smith, Daniel
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm PAR 208
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This course will survey major concepts and figures in the history of rhetoric in Western culture, with an emphasis on its classical and “modern” eras. We will orient ourselves to the history of rhetoric by examining its relationship to philosophy and their respective ideas and ideals. In so doing, we will explore the question of whether the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric is intrinsically oppositional—as it has been traditionally understood—or socio-historically constituted as such. Some of the other questions we’ll engage together include: How do the status, meaning, and operations of concepts such as truth, belief, knowledge, and education (among others) “work” to shape how we live as individuals and communities? What relationships are there, if any, between language and and knowledge and thought? What are the differences between ancient and contemporary conceptions and practices of rhetorical education? And do those differences matter in any significant way in the domains of our personal, professional, and civic lives? What does it mean to say that a person is rhetorically capable and responsible?

Assignments and Grading

10 Short Response Papers (250 words): 25%

1 Rhetorical Analysis Paper: 25%

1 Research Paper and Brief Oral Summary: 30%

Preparedness, Participation, and Attendance: 20%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Course Packet, which will include readings by ancient and contemporary authors such as Plato, Aristophanes, Aristotle, Cicero, John Quincy Adams, Debra Hawhee, Barry Schwartz, C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards, Kenneth Burke, Edwin Black, and Thomas Farrell (among others).

Other Media – textual, visual, and oral compositions via the internet.

RHE 330E • Peacemaking Rhetoric

44815 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 208
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Very often we invoke peace as a desirable state of being and of the world. But, what is peace? What does it take to be peaceful? To what extent does our criticism of violence help us get closer to peace? What does peace have to do with rhetoric? We will use these questions to begin our explorations of the rhetoric of peacemaking. The discipline of rhetoric has an enduring investment in countering injustice and pursuing justice and peace.

 In this course, we will explore this enduring investment. In specific terms, we will study the (1) relation between rhetoric, violence, and peacemaking, (2) ways in which our rhetorical practices can cause/exacerbate conflict or guide us to peacemaking, and (3) rhetorical choices, practices and stances that are consistent with developing peaceful communication styles.

As we reflect on the rhetoric of peacemaking, we will read scholarship on the rhetoric of nonviolence, reconciliation, and (human) rights. We will also read exemplary speeches critiquing injustice and advocating for justice and peace.

Major Assignments and Grading

Two researched and substantially revised papers: 70% (35% each)

Two presentations: overview of research undertaken and major findings: 10% (5% each)

Participation: class participation/leading class discussions, responses to freewriting prompts, and short writing assignments: 20%

Required Texts

A packet of readings,which will include:

  • Chapters from books like Erik Doxtader’s With Faith in the Works of Words: The Beginnings of Reconciliation in South Africa 1985-1995; Ellen Gorsevski’s Peaceful Persuasion: The Geopolitics of Nonviolent Communication; and Colleen E. Kelley and Anna L. Eblen’s Women Who Speak for Peace; and John P. Lederach’s The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace.
  • Journal articleslike Do Kyun Kim’s “Embodied Hope: Nonviolent Rhetoric and Peacemaking Actions” and James J. Kimble “John F. Kennedy, the Construction of Peace, and the Pitfalls of Androgynous Rhetoric.”
  • Speeches like John F. Kennedy’s “The Strategy of Peace,” Mahatma Gandhi’s  speech on the eve of the last fast, and Martin L. King’s “I have a Dream.”

RHE 330E • Comparative Rhetoric

44820 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 308
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What does culture have to do with rhetoric? This question taps into a crucial force that impacts rhetorical practices and scholarship, and this intersection of rhetoric and culture has attracted the attention of scholars especially since second half of the 21st century, resulting in the development of comparative rhetoric. In this course we will study the conception, development and practice of rhetoric in different and mainly non-Western cultural traditions. For example, we will survey research on rhetorical traditions like ancient Indian, Egyptian, and Rhodian, demonstrating how they predate, relate to and differ from those in Greece and Rome. We will also discuss the objectives, achievement, and potential of research in comparative rhetoric as well as challenges posed by this kind of research. 

Course Requirements, Assignment and Grade Distribution

 Class Activities and Discussions (20%)

- Participating in and/or leading class discussion

- Peer review workshops

- Oral report/presentation of research

- Short Assignments

Short Papers (20%)

- Writing five short response/reflection papers to further explore and engage topics and questions addressed in class.

Two Research Papers (30% each)

- Further explore and reflect on issues raised by the course drawing on outside research.  Both papers will involve producing multiple drafts.

More detailed instructions, expectations and grading criterion will be provided at the beginning of the semester, and might be modified based on students’ performance.


Attendance policy will be detailed at the beginning of the semester.

Potential Texts

- Selections from George Kennedy’s Comparative rhetoric (1998)

- Selections from Carol Lipson and Roberta Binkley’s two edited collections titled Rhetoric before and beyond the Greeks (2004)and Ancient Non-Greek Rhetorics (2009)

- Packet of readings

RHE 330E • Psych Of Writing & Persuasn

44825 • Charney, Davida H
Meets MW 330pm-500pm FAC 9
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Some people seem to have a gift or knack for writing easily and clearly while others faced with a writing task stare in agony at a blank page (or computer screen) for hours at a time.  What is it that experienced writers are doing that struggling writers are not?  Recently, psychologists have learned a great deal about how successful and unsuccessful writers go about these tasks.  The psychology of writing involves attitudes, skills, and knowledge. It turns out that the process is at its most interesting when it comes to writing and reading arguments, which turns on thinking about other people's beliefs and attitudes. In this course, we will investigate the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and processes involved in writing and learning to write with special attention to reading and writing arguments. You will learn more about your own reading and writing processes and compare them to those of writers in different situations.  In addition, you will investigate such issues as creativity, collaborative writing, the effect of computers on reading and writing, writer’s block, and writing in different disciplines and on the job.  In sum, the course will be of interest to students interested in psychology and teaching.

Assignments and Grading

15% - Reading/Writing autobiography. Write a history of your experiences with reading and writing, including at least some of your earliest recollections of reading and writing and your experiences in grade school, high school, and college.

15% - Activities journal and report. Choose a project from another course this semester which will require significant reading and writing.  The goal of this assignment is to track how your paper evolves from the first day you begin thinking about your assignment until you turn in your final draft.

20% - Writing process report. You will use techniques  discussed in class to analyze the strategies of one writer.

40% - Research project. Follow up on an issue or question by reading up on the existing research and identifying an important question for further research.

10% - Homework, informal responses, peer reviews.

Required Texts and Course Readings

Emig, Janet. The Composing Processes of Twelfth Graders, 1971.

RHE 360M • Rhet/Writ For Teachers Of Eng

44830 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 800am-930am PAR 101
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Designed for students planning a career teaching English, this course will introduce you to scholarship in composition that informs the teaching of writing today. Theories will be examined in terms of their assumptions about the nature of language and learning. Among the topics we'll discuss are the writing process; the rhetorical situation; the relationship between language and identity; the place of grammar and usage; curriculum for basic and developmental writers; collaborative learning; and creating and evaluating assignments.

Although this isn't a methods course, it will have a practical orientation: we'll discuss the implications of each approach for designing courses and for evaluating writing. In addition to reading about writing, you'll write about writing. You'll compose a number of writing assignments, each to be revised after receiving written critiques both from me and from your peers. You'll also write critiques of your peers' work as a way to sharpen your own analytical abilities and to develop the ability to offer writers detailed, pointed, tactful advice. Additionally, you'll keep a reading journal; do writing, style, and grading exercises; and investigate a contemporary educational debate on the issue of your choice. A mid-term exam will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the information studied.

This class is not for the timid or narrow-minded. Participation is a must as we try to hash out in a conversational setting important questions about contemporary education.

RHE 367R • Conf Crs In Rhetoric & Writing

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Upper-division standing; one of the following: English 603A, Rhetoric and Writing 306, 306Q, or Tutorial Course 603A; and approval of written application by the supervising instructor.

Course Description

This is course does NOT meet the Writing Flag requirement.
Hours to be arranged.
May be repeated for credit.

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