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

Course Descriptions

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing

43120 • Langberg, Hillary
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm FAC 10
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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) selected readings. 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 readings.

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 309K • Rhetoric Of Editing

43135 • Zacks, Aaron S
Meets TTH 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 Satire

43145 • Zacks, Aaron S
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 6
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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.”

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?

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)  

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Protest

43155 • Picherit, Elizabeth
Meets TTH 930am-1100am JES A209A
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“Don’t Tread on Me,” “We Shall Overcome,” “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It,” “No Blood For Oil,” “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” “I Can’t Breathe”: protesters have shouted, chanted, sung, and hashtagged words like these from the beginning of our nation’s history to the present day. So what does it mean to protest, particularly when people have gone to extremes – hunger strikes, flag burning, sit-ins, occupations, risks of injury, beatings, arrests – to get their message across? What does it mean that others have gone to similar, if not even more violent, extremes to shut them down? What defines a protest – how do we know when protests are happening, what makes us want to join in, and how are they described after they have taken place?

In this class, we will examine the rhetorical stakes of protests and the tactics that protesters employ, from the tumultuous events that spark these social movements to the signs, songs, slogans, dress, physical performances, and locations that allow people to deliver their messages. In addition to examining the rhetoric that the protests themselves construct, we will also learn to analyze the rhetoric of the media, history, and activism that surrounds protests. Students will have the opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge of a particular protest or protest movement of their choice by developing a research topic, drawing in part on historical and global examples that the class will explore together. Readings will potentially include selections from speeches, manifestos, pamphlets, photographs, artifacts, and recordings in the past (the Boston Tea Party, Tiananmen Square), the recent past (the Matt Shepherd funeral protests, Occupy Wall Street), and the present (the Arab Spring, Ferguson, and the “Umbrella Movement” in Hong Kong), amongst many others. Additional class readings will also be adapted according to students’ interests. The culminating project of this course will be the opportunity for students to design a protest according to their own activist agenda.

RHE 309K carries a writing flag, and as such, includes a substantial research, writing, and revision component. There will be three 5-7 pg. papers and a final presentation, in addition to six 2-3 pg. informal writing assignments and two discussion posts.


Assignments and Grading

  • Attendance and Participation – 10%
  • 6 Short Writing Assignments – 15%
  • Discussion posts and informal presentation – 5%
  • Paper 1.1 – 5%
  • Paper 1.2 – 10%
  • Paper 2.1 – 10%
  • Paper 2.2 – 15%
  • Paper 3.1 – 10%
  • Paper 3.2 – 15%
  • Final Presentation – 5%

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers, Mark Longaker and Jeffrey Walker
  • Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Lgbtq Politics

43165 • Egan, Jessica
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GAR 2.128
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In this course, we will examine the rhetorical strategies that LGBTQ activists and writers use to construct personal identities and to mobilize diverse communities. Our readings will attend in particular to the often-messy overlap between sexual orientation and other historically marginalized identities. While the course’s primary focus is on past and present controversies in the LGBTQ community, we will also ask how studying a small group of Americans can shed light on the rhetorical construction of broader concepts like citizenship and civil rights. Questions we will consider include: What is the connection between sexuality, protest, and political change? Why should straight people study queer politics? How have queer writers sought to link sexual orientation with non-white, working-class, disabled, or other identities? Lastly, we will explore the problem of evidence in the LGBTQ political context, in part by thinking about how our authors navigate between personal experience and scholarly argument. If supposedly neutral institutions like medicine and the law have historically discriminated against sexual minorities, how do we begin assessing what makes a speaker credible or an argument “true”? Throughout the semester, we will repeatedly return to such questions, asking ourselves how to research, speak, and write responsibly about marginalized communities—even, or especially, if we do not belong to them ourselves.

All students are welcome, regardless of background or familiarity with the topic. RHE 309K carries a writing flag, and as such, includes a substantial research, writing, and revision component.

Assignments and Grading

  • Attendance and Participation - 5%
  • Weekly Blog Posts - 20%
  • Annotated Bibliography - 20%
  • Short Critical Analysis Papers (2 total) -20%
  • Critical Analysis Paper Revision (1 total) - 10%
  • Final Project and Reflection Paper - 20%
  • Final Presentation - 5%

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Longaker, Mark. Controversies.
  • Lunsford, Andrea. Easy Writer: A High School Reference.
  • Texts through Canvas: Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Adrienne Rich, Eve Sedgwick, Michael Warner, Cathy Cohen, bell hooks, the ACT UP Oral History Project, Dorothy Allison, Julia Serano, and the Queer Zines Archive Project. 

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Sustainability

43180 • Oxford, Robert
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ 1.122
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**THIS TOPIC HAS BEEN CHANGED TO Rhetoric of Sustainability**

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 Reports)          

Unit I Essay - 5%

Unit I Revision - 5%

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 • Rhetoric Of Nostalgia

43185 • Cressler, Loren
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 304
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“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be.  What began as a diagnosable mental disorder–a form of melancholia–has now become a dominant mode of operation for a number of artistic and pop culture outlets, social media trends, and political movements. Pioneers in the field of nostalgia studies are now documenting the cognitive and affective functions of nostalgia, yet their work seems to be emerging out of an almost trans-generational trend to become retrospective in the face of ongoing technological advancements. What are the adaptive reasons for “retromania?” How does nostalgia relate to community formation? What accounts for its prominence as a rhetorical appeal, particularly in political discourse?  How does one effectively “wax nostalgic” in a fashion that causes others to do the same? What is the rhetorical impact of invoking past experience, and how does that impact depend upon the makeup of an audience?

This course will examine nostalgia and its development over the past several decades.  The first unit of the course will consider historical definitions of nostalgia; the two constitutive roots of the word (nostos: “a return home” and algos: “pain”); its psychological function, and its role in our society.  The second unit will feature Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, a smattering of Buzzfeed articles, and selections from popular music as case studies.  We will ask what sorts of rhetorical appeals can be made by evoking nostalgia and what the limits of a rhetoric of nostalgia might be.  Students will be asked to identify and analyze samples of their own finding that utilize nostalgia as a primary means of expression. The course’s final unit will ask students to select a particular past that is idealized and either defend or upend nostalgic appeals based upon that past.  Writing assignments will include: two short, reflective narratives; three research summaries; a definition paper; an annotated bibliography; two longer (5-7 pages) papers; and substantial revision of all major assignments.


Assignments and Grading

  • 1.1 Annotated Bibliography (10%)
  • 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis (10%)
  • 2.2 Rhetorical Analysis Revision (15%)
  • 3.1 Argumentative Essay (15%)
  • 3.2 Argumentative Essay Revision (15%)
  • Short Writing Assignments (30% or 5% each)
  • Oral Presentation (5%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory)
  • Participation (Invaluable)

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Everythings 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.

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Young Adult Fiction

43190 • Cotter, Erin
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 2.112
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Are you a teenager, or an adult? How do we decide when someone has transitioned from adolescence to adulthood? What does it mean that young adult (YA) books and movies such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and The Fault in our Stars are wildly successful among adults and teenagers alike? Is there something immature about adults who consume texts targeted at teenagers? The vast growth of the YA industry parallels our growing cultural anxiety about determining the parameters of adolescence. Terms such as “extended adolescence” and “delayed adulthood” frame the public discussion, but how do popular texts influence these debates about contemporary adolescence? This course seeks to explore the ways in which adolescence is rhetorically structured and imagined in popular YA texts.

As a class, we will explore numerous approaches to the question of YA’s “worth” for modern social relations. Students will begin the class by researching how a public controversy is discussed both outside of and within a YA text of their choice. They will then examine individual reactions to YA texts ranging from formal reviews to fandoms, “hatedoms,” and debates within online fan communities. Armed with an in-depth knowledge of YA’s engagement with public debates, experience with multiple modes of discourse, and an understanding of rhetorical strategies, students will finally make the case for the “worthiness” or “unworthiness” of a particular YA text to contemporary society.       


Assignments and Grading

  • Paper 1.1 - 5%
  • Paper 1.2 - 10%
  • Paper 2.1 - 10%
  • Paper 2.2 - 10%
  • Paper 3.1 - 15%
  • Paper 3.2 - 20%
  • Short Writing Assignments - 20%
  • Presentation - 10%
  • Participation - Invaluable

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Everything’s an Argument by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz
  • EasyWriter by Andrea A. Lunsford
  • Supplemental readings to be provided by instructor. Potential readings include, but are not limited to the following: “What are YA books? And who is reading them?” by Imogen Russell Williams, “Introduction: Theorizing Fandom: Fans, Subculture, and Identity” by Cheryl Harris, “The Ongoing Problem of Race in YA,” by Jen Doll, and The New York Times’ Room for Debate Series “The Power of Young Adult Fiction.”

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Wild

43200 • Echols, Reid
Meets MW 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.216
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Mountains, deserts, and rugged coastline continue to loom large in the American cultural imagination, even though over 80% of Americans now live in urban areas. Images of the wild remain powerful for us even as city dwellers—perhaps especially as city dwellers—and so are often used as rallying points for various political, economic, and environmental interests. This course will examine the ways in which conceptions and controversies surrounding wilderness function rhetorically in a wide range of media: from op-ed pieces and documentary film to popular music and car commercials. Questions we will consider include: How is “wildness” defined in cultural discourse, and how have these definitions shaped debates about the role and use of wild spaces? What are the ethics of representing the wild in such situations as, for example, an advertisement for SUVs, or an Alaskan pipeline, or a political candidate? How do public controversies regarding land use, access, and preservation shape our understanding of wild spaces and environmental concerns? Through a series of writing assignments—three (4-6 pg.) papers and several shorter assignments—students will research, analyze, and ultimately advocate for a particular position within a wilderness-related controversy of their choosing. 

Assignments and Grading

  • 1.1 Annotated Bibliography (10%)
  • 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis (10%)
  • 2.2 Rhetorical Analysis Revision (15%)
  • 3.1 Argumentative Essay (15%)
  • 3.2 Argumentative Essay Revision (20%)
  • Short Writing Assignments (25%)
  • Oral Presentation (5%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory)
  • Participation (Invaluable)

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Critical Situations: Rhetoric for Writing in Communities with Additional Material (Custom Edition for UT Austin), Sharon Crowley and Michael Stancliff
  • Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford
  • Selections from (provided via Canvas): 
  • Gary Snyder’s Practice of the Wild
  • Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and Walking 
  • John Muir’s Selected Writings. 
  • The 1964 US Wilderness Act 
  • Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012) 
  • Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild (1996)
  • Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire (1990)
  • Belden Lane’s The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Freaks And Geeks

Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 6
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 “We are the nobodies. / Wanna be somebodies.”

- Marilyn Manson

What makes the garage-band burnouts portrayed by Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and James Franco on Freaks and Geeks (1999)so freaky? Why are the Bill Haverchuks of the world historically picked last? Using Judd Apatow’s critically acclaimed television series Freaks and Geeks as a broad framework for the course, you will select a cultural freak or geek—human or nonhuman, fictional or nonfictional, singular or plural—to research and rhetorically analyze for the semester. To support your research, we will survey in class an array of well-known outsiders in popular culture, and we will explore how rhetoric contributes to their positions as outsiders.

From the X-Men to The Breakfast Club, from Macklemore to Muggles, from Disney’s classic cartoon villains to their live-action, reimagined portrayals today and many more—we will rhetorically analyze a variety of cultural freaks and geeks in order to examine the relationship between stereotypes, stigmatization, and rhetoric. Over the course of the semester, you will research and write about your freak or geek in several short assignments and three longer essays, and you will deliver two succinct presentations. In keeping with the progressive spirit of this course, revision and peer review will be a major component of your work. By the semester’s end, you will thus be well-prepared to argue on behalf of your freak or geek for a social upgrade from “nobody” to “somebody.”


Assignments and Grading

Essays (60%):

  • Mapping Essay (revision and peer review are mandatory): 15%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory): 20%
  • Persuasive Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory): 25%

Other Assignments (40%):

  • Annotated Bibliography: 10%
  • Blog Posts (reading responses, research summaries): 15%
  • Timeline Presentation: 5%
  • Persuasive Presentation: 10%


Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Faigley, Lester and Jack Selzer. Good Reasons with Contemporary Arguments. Longman, 6th edition. 2014.
  • Kidd, Dustin. Pop Culture Freaks: Identity, Mass Media, and Society. Boulder: Westview Press, 2014.
  • Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer:  A Pocket Reference. Fourth Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

RHE 309K • Remixing Rhetoric

43260 • TUTTLE, AMY L
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 6
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What do Tupac’s “California Love,” Andy Warhol’s Marilyn prints, and South Park have in common? They’re creative and cultural works of genius that have influenced and shaped generations. However, these aren’t entirely original works born of a lightning-in-a-bottle, “a-ha!” moment of creation by a lone inventor. In fact, each one of these is a copy, combination, transformation, or remix of previous works presented as something new. “California Love” samples Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman,” Warhol’s Marilyn prints derive from original photographs of the actress, and South Park draws its comic remix from a variety of serious current events and cultural phenomena. Therefore, we might say that one characteristic of “good writing” is the ability to be inspired by great things and to combine and transform them into something entirely new.

Remixing—or the process of taking existing pieces of text, images, sounds, and video and stitching them together to form a new product—is how individual writers and communities build common values; it is how composers achieve persuasive, creative, and parodic effects. Throughout the semester, we will examine remix as a method for argumentation—a multimodal method that works across the registers of sound, text, and image to make claims and provide evidence to support those claims. Essentially, students in this course should develop an appreciation for remix and for the ways in which the cannons of rhetoric—invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery—can be remixed, never acting in isolation, but always moving alongside and through a number of “original” texts.

Assignments and Grading

  • Paper 1.1
  • Peer Review 1
  • Paper 1.2
  • Paper 2.1
  • Peer Review 2
  • Paper 2.2
  • Multimodal Project 3.1
  • Edited Collection 3.2
  • Short Writing Assignments (6)

Grades are determined by a portfolio-style, evidence-based model called the Learning Record (LR). Once at the midterm and once at the final, students will compose a persuasive essay that documents their improvement as a student by explaining both what they have learned and how they have learned it. Students will base their assessments on the semester’s coursework, including writing, revision, and class participation, as documented in a reflective journal. By using the dimensions of learning, grade criteria, and the course goals as heuristics, each student will argue for the grade he/she thinks is fair. I will review each student’s argument and either agree with or revise the request.

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • REQUIRED - Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers. Longaker & Walker. Pearson, 2010.
  • REQUIRED - Understanding and Composing Multimodal Projects. DeVoss. Bedford/St. Martins, 2013.
  • RECOMMENDED - Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fifth ed. Lunsford. Bedford/St. Martins, 2013.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Counterculture

43270 • Boruszak, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 104
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“Make love, not war.” “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” “Keep on truckin'.” In 2015, these iconic statements of 60's counterculture seem like nothing but tired clichés. The same could be said of peace signs, bell bottoms, tie-dye, Woodstock, Che Guevara t-shirts, and psychedelic drugs. But what made these such important messages to begin with? In this class, we will explore the American counterculture of the late 1960's and early 1970's and how it continues to affect our lives. By closely examining the people, places, and events of the time, we will explore questions such as: Why did counterculture become so widespread during this moment in American history? Why were the music, film, and art of this time all so closely linked with politics and protest? In what ways did mainstream culture respond to countercultural challenges? What can these movements teach us about living in America today? Our engagement with these questions (and others) will lead us to examine hippies, yippies, beatniks, Black Panthers, Merry Pranksters, and a host of other counterculture groups.

To this end, students will contribute to a course-specific wiki that houses all writing completed over the course of the semester. In addition to building this wiki by creating new pages, we will also give our database depth by actively editing and revising each other's work. Students will begin the semester by choosing a particular aspect of the American counterculture movement to research, focusing on its historical context and political goals. In the second part of the semester, students will closely examine the cultural productions of the American counterculture, analyzing how the artistic creations of the time make specific arguments. In the final part of the semester, students will create their own counterculture manifesto that engages with contemporary American life. These manifestos will be accompanied by an original cultural object, which can be created either individually or in collaboration with others. Potential objects include: websites, music albums, films, animations, zines, podcasts, paintings, sculptures, and comics. Despite this course's reliance on the use of technology, students who do not consider themselves “tech-savvy” are still encouraged to enroll.


Assignments and Grading

Weekly short writing assignments (250 words)

Historical “map” of a counterculture movement (1500-2000 words) with revision

Rhetorical analysis of a cultural production (1000-1500 words) with revision

Counterculture Manifesto (1500-2000 words) with revision

Cultural “Object” with proposal (250 words)

Grades will be determined using the Learning Record, a portfolio-style, evidence-based model for assessing student progress and achievement. More information at

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Revolution for the Hell of It by Abbie Hoffman
  • Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers by Jeffrey Walker and Mark Longaker
  • Easy Writer by Andrea A. Lunsford
  • Additional selections by Ann Charters, Malcolm X, Hunter S. Thompson, R. Crumb, Timothy Leary, Gil Scott-Heron, and others.


RHE 309S • Crit Read And Persuasive Writ

43275 • Longaker, Mark Garrett
Meets TTH 930am-1100am FAC 7
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In this course, we will pursue two goals. We will try to become:

(1) more proficient users of language, and

(2) more critical users of language.

To do so, we will study argumentative forms, practice their use in particular situations for specific groups of people, and we will analyze the potential effects (social, political, economic) of language. The big question that we will encounter is this: how do the available arguments at a given moment shape a conversation and make (im)possible certain actions?

Students will write short (one-page) papers on a weekly basis and several long arguments (5-7 pages) as well. All long arguments will be peer-reviewed and revised according to peer and instructor feedback.

RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Nsds

43280 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WCH 1.108
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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 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

43295 • Smith, Daniel
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm PAR 208
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, ethospathoslogos, 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 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

43300 • 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, ethospathoslogos, 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 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

43305 • Davis, Diane
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm FAC 9
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, ethospathoslogos, 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 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 325M • Advanced Writing

43310 • Charney, Davida H
Meets MW 1230pm-200pm FAC 9
show description

RHE 325M is an advanced-level workshop in writing and editing. Its goal is to make already skilled writers more polished and publishable.  It will introduce you to stylistic analysis, the study of how word choice, sentence construction, audience adaptation and passage arrangement influence the rhetorical effects of texts on their audiences. The examples will come from non-fiction texts and popular, functional genres such as newspapers, blogs, political speeches, ads, music reviews, etc. In addition to one long paper, you will be doing many short exercises on passages of your own or ones you choose.

Assignments and Grading

30% Examples: 7 one-page analyses and/or mark-ups of how a passage illustrates one  or more features.

30% Exercises: 5 two-page rewrites or imitations of a passage.

30% Final Paper: Comparison and evaluation of style of several passages from a particular writer or from several writers on a particular topic.

10% Participation: Daily quizzes, peer reviews, and posts on discussion boards


Fahnestock, Jeanne.  Rhetorical Stylistics, Oxford University, 2012. ISBN: 978-0199764112

Graff, Gerald & Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say, 2nd Edition. Norton, 2009. 978-0393933611

RHE 328 • Writing For Entrepreneurs

43315 • Spinuzzi, Clay
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 208
show description

Peter Drucker once said, “the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” Entrepreneurs discover and conceptualize problems, then look for opportunities to solve those problems with innovative solutions—solutions that could involve new products, services, processes, or principles. Such innovations can range from household gadgets to industrial processes to viral phone apps.

To be successful in achieving her or his vision, an entrepreneur must develop, extend, and hone complex arguments to interest stakeholders in the vision (and to adapt that vision to the needs of the stakeholders). From developing an idea to researching the market, from sketching out the business model to describing the value proposition, from gathering customer feedback to pitching a product, entrepreneurs must perform many small arguments that form a larger coherent argument.

How do they do that? In this class, we will learn, analyze, and practice some of the many types of arguments that entrepreneurs use. We will apply basic rhetorical concepts to these arguments to better analyze and construct them, and we will read articles from rhetoric, marketing, management, and related fields to better understand their context.

 Students do not need an entrepreneurship background, nor do they need to have a winning idea. Our focus won't be on creating the next big thing (although you might!) but on figuring out how successful entrepreneurs argue and what texts they use to make those arguments successful.

Course Requirements and Grades

This course has 5 major projects:

  • Project 1: Develop an innovative idea using the Design Thinking approach, resulting in a set of prototypes and other process documents. Write a 4-page report describing your choices and how the results suggest an innovation. The innovation can be a product, service, or process. Include all process documents as an appendix. (15%)
  • Project 2: Develop and describe a business model built around the innovation, using heuristics (at minimum, the Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, Environment Analysis, and SWOT analysis). Write a 1500-word report discussing the heuristics and any changes you made to the innovation as a result. Include all heuristics as an appendix. (25%)
  • Project 3: Research possible markets for the innovation, using primary and secondary research. Iterate the P1 idea and P2 heuristics based on the results. Write a 6-page report describing the results of your market research. Include all revised heuristics as an appendix. (20%)
  • Project 4: Develop and test an MVP. Develop a minimally viable product (MVP) and collect data. Write a 1500-word report describing your MVP, how you tested it, and how these results led you to iterate. (15%)
  • Project 5: Pitch the business and innovation to potential investors, partners, or distributors, using an appropriate slide deck; a 6-minute presentation; and a 3-minute Q&A. (Group project, 15%)

In addition, 10% of your grade will be based on reading responses.

Required Texts

RHE 328 • Magazine Writing/Publishing

43320 • 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 • Writing For Nonprofits

43322 • Zacks, Aaron S
Meets MW 330pm-500pm PAR 6
show description

Can you see yourself working for an organization whose main purpose is to raise awareness about an important issue and make a difference in people’s lives? Bring your passion to the classroom in this service-learning writing course, in which you’ll practice supporting a nonprofit by harnessing your language and digital media skills.

Nonprofits do a lot of good in their communities, but their survival depends on how well they do two things:

1) promote their mission; and

2) create opportunities for people to support it.

Writing plays a crucial role in achieving these goals. In this class, you will learn to:

  • Understand the rhetorical situation inherent to nonprofit work;
  • Assess an organization’s needs;
  • Think critically about an organization’s precepts and opportunities for engagement;
  • Prioritizing the use of an organization’s resources;
  • Construct innovative messages in support of cause;
  • Use the internet and print sources to research and assess potential donors;
  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to write a compelling grant proposal;
  • Collaborate with like-minded, busy, students and professionals.

This course provides you the opportunity to work directly with local non-profit agencies and create materials their directors can use for publicity and fundraising. The materials you’ll create for class will be the kind that employees of nonprofits create on a daily basis. Students will work in groups to research and write a grant proposal directed at a particular foundation. Independently, students will write a feature article and design a project that meets the needs of one of our partner organizations or another local nonprofit.

We will have several guest speakers from local nonprofits. Some will invite your help fulfilling specific writing needs; others will share some of their hard-won experience in the nonprofit realm and field your questions about nonprofit careers.  


  • Strategic Communications for Nonprofits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Working with the Media by Kathy Bonk (print or Kindle)
  • Winning Grants Step by Step: The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals by Tori O'Neal-McElrath (print or Kindle)
  • The Future of Nonprofits by David J. Neff and Randal Moss (print or Kindle)
  • Selected readings (see “Files” in Canvas)


This course has five major projects:

  • Project 1: Analyzing a nonprofit’s needs (10%)
  • Project 2: Analyzing a nonprofit’s current communication strategy (20%)
  • Project 3: Researching a foundation (15%)
  • Project 4: Writing a grant to a foundation (25%)
  • Project 5: Writing a feature article for a nonprofit (25%)

RHE 330C • Digital Storytelling

43325 • Boyle, Casey A
Meets MW 200pm-330pm FAC 7
show description

While storytellers have composed narratives (historical, informative, persuasive, and/or reflective) through oral and print-based media for centuries, emerging digital media allows for an ever-increasing array of possibilities to develop and share the narratives that matter to our communities and to our lives. Digital Storytelling pairs narrative techniques with new media and digital technologies. Using text, audio, visual, and video in concert with research and narrative composition, this course will introduce students to and provide repeated practice in using digital media for composing compelling digital stories. In addition to composing with digital media, students will be introduced to research sites that may include the university libraries, community centers, state museums, and many other sites available for further independent exploration. In conversation with our readings, discussions, and the students’ own researched topics, the course assignments and projects will entail learning to compose with digital media by researching and developing short narratives, culminating in a semester-long, digital story.

Please Note: While no prior experience with digital media is needed, a willingness to learn is required. Toward these ends, the course will be organized as a project-based workshop (especially in the second half of the semester) and will require substantial work on the students’ parts to research and develop material to be used for composing the digital stories. In addition to readings and discussions, several of our class meetings will be opportunities for hands-on practice with digital audio tools that will involve your classmates and the instructor. Please be advised that such work requires regular attendance, diligent preparation, and active participation.

Texts and Materials

  • The New Digital Storytelling, Bryan Alexander
  • Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community, Joe Lambert
  • Several online texts and articles will be shared via Canvas course site

Assignments and Grading

Reading Responses - 10%

  • Multiple written responses to required readings posted to our course site (300-500 words posted in Canvas). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion.

Story Proposal and Research Plan - 10%

  • 2-3 page proposal that identifies a story of interest, locates relevant material for independent research, and outlines a production strategy for composing the semester-long digital story. 

Image Story - 10%

  • This assignment serves to introduce image manipulation software by composing a short, image-based story.

Audio Story - 15%

  • Using free and open-sourced audio-editing software, students will record, edit, and share a short audio narrative.

Video Story - 20%

  • Students will produce a concise (60 seconds) video story.

Digital Story - 35%

  • The final project builds on the previous smaller assignments, culminating into a substantial Digital Story. Each digital story will be based on students’ independent research and will also vary in form (media and its delivery) depending on each individual student’s chosen material. 

RHE 330C • Designing Text Ecologies

43330 • Spinuzzi, Clay
Meets MW 1100am-1230pm PAR 6
show description

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

43335 • Faigley, Lester L
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 104
show description

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 preoccupied practitioners and theorists of this medium for the past century and a half, from the daguerreotypists of the 1830s and 40s through to new issues raised by today's digital photography. Expect to write short discussion-board essays in response to our readings and viewings, make a presentation about a photographer, write an essay about documentary photography, and complete an original documentary project. The documentary project will consist of 10-15 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.

Assignments and Grading

Discussion board essays: 25%

Presentation on photograph: 5%

Project 1: 5%

Project 2: 20%

Project 3: 35%

Project 4: 10%


Required Texts and Course Readings

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

RHE 330D • Rhetoric Of Racism

43340 • Roberts-Miller, Patricia
Meets TTH 930am-1100am UTC 4.112
show description

This course, in the history of rhetoric, will focus on the deep past of what we now call racism. When Isocrates, in the fourth century B.C.E., argued that the Athenians should lead Greek culture rather than Spartans because Athenians were "pure in blood", was that a "racist" argument? How was Isocrates' appeal to group stereotypes like, or unlike, Cicero's argument that the witnesses in a case were unreliable because they were Jewish? How was the "blood libel" (that the blood of a young boy was used in religious ceremony) used against early Christians? Was that libel changed when Christians began using it against Jews? Why were so many nineteenth century Americans persuaded by Samuel Morse's bizarre argument that the Jesuits were at the center of a Catholic conspiracy to take over the United States? Why did people find persuasive the argument that the Irish could not be trusted with the vote?  How did so many nineteenth century ministers use Scripture to defend slavery, and so many twentieth century ministers use the same texts in defense of segregation? How did so many twentieth century political leaders persuade large numbers of people that genocide was necessary, let alone ethical?

Ranging from fourth century B.C.E. to twentieth century arguments for segregation, this course will explore the rhetorical aspects of appeals to essentialist group identities. Why are they persuasive? When are they most effective? Which aspects recur across cultures and eras, and which ones seem historically and culturally contingent? What is the role science and pseudo science in their effectiveness? What are the most effective methods for countering such appeals?

Course Requirements

Students will write and substantially revise three papers, each one between 1750 and 2500 words. There may be a midterm or final, depending upon student performance. There will be daily short writing assignments.


Students will read primary texts (including objectionable and racist material), rhetorical theory, historical secondaries, and sociological treatments of racism. Primary readings will include Isocrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Chaucer, Morse, defenders of slavery, advocates of segregation, eugenicists, and proponents of genocide. Secondary material will include George Fredrickson's Racism: A Short History, Ervin Staub's The Roots of Evil, Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, and selections from Kenneth Burke, Chaim Perelman, and George Lakoff.


Course grading:

Paper #1: 30%

Paper #2: 30%

Paper #3: 30%

Exam, short work: 10%


This course fulfills the Ethics and Leadership and Cultural Diversity flags.

RHE 330D • Classical To Modern Rhetoric

43345 • Ruszkiewicz, John J
Meets MW 1100am-1230pm PAR 104
show description

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

43350 • Smith, Daniel
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 208
show description

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 • Film As Rhetoric

43355 • Ferreira-Buckley, Linda
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 103
show description

“The words, too, ought to set the scene before our eyes;  for events ought to be seen

in progress rather than in prospect.” Aristotle, Rhetoric 

“[S]ight engraves upon the mind images of things which have been seen. And many frightening impressions linger, and what lingers is exactly analogous to [what is] spoken.” Gorgias, “Encomium of Helen”

This course is designed to examine films as rhetorical acts that serve as powerful function in the American polis. Their status as popular entertainment sometimes obscures viewers’ perception of films as a vehicle of persuasion. In what ways does film function as rhetoric, which Kant labeled as “the art of deceiving by a beautiful show” aiming “to win minds to the side of the orator before they have formed a judgment and to deprive them of their freedom”?  Is the director the rhetor, or is the message framed more collaboratively by, say, the director, screen writer, actors? 

We will attempt to answer these and similar question as we discuss approximately 7 to 10 films that students have viewed for class (no more than 1 film per week).  The syllabus will be organized around signal rhetorical concepts, which we discuss in class and which students will use to analyze films in 8 short response papers.  Additionally, students will keep a dialectical journal. Students will develop one longer paper on a film of their choice not viewed or discussed in class.  They develop their over the second half of the semester, during which time it will be reviewed by peers,  presented in a conference with the instructor and, finally, revised and submitted for a grade.

This course does not study cinematic technique though we will occasionally draw on technical terminology and concepts as we discuss how film makers use images, movements, and sound to rhetorical effect.


Assignments and Grading

40% - 8 response papers, 1 to 2 pages each

40% - 1 longer paper, 6 to 9 pages

10% - quizzes

10% - final exam

Peer reviews, revisions, attendance, participation  all required to pass course.


Required Texts and Course Readings


  • Crash
  • Lincoln
  • Mulan
  • Thank You for Smoking
  • The Great Debaters
  • The King’s Speech
  • Film nominated and selected by students to be integrated into syllabus



  • Barry Brummett, Rhetorical Dimensions in Popular Culture
  • Course packet to include:
  • Robert Arnett, “The Enthymeme and Contemporary Film Criticism.”
  • Laurence Behrens, “The Argument in Film: Applying Rhetorical Theory to Film Criticism.”
  • Wayne Booth, “Is There an ‘Implied’ Author in Every Film?”
  • Michael Carter, “Stasis and Kairos: Principles of Social Construction in Classical Rhetoric”
  • Pauline Kael, “Pauline Kael Talks About Violence, Sex, Eroticism and Women & Men in the Movies,” from Conversations with Pauline Kael.
  • James Naremore, “Death and Rebirth of Rhetoric,” In Senses of Cinema
  • Chaim Perelman, “The Social Contexts of Argumentation.”
  • Colleen Tremonte, “Film, Classical Rhetoric, and Visual Literacy”
  • Annalee R. Ward, “Disney, Film, and Morality”  &  “Mulan: East Meets West” in Mouse Morality: Rhetoric in Disney Animated Films
  • Trinh T. Minh-ha. “‘Who Is Speaking?’ Of Nation, Community, and First-Person Interviews” from Feminisms in the Cinema


RHE 330E • Pathos

43360 • Davis, Diane
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm FAC 9
show description

Aristotle held that there were three basic appeals by which to persuade an audience: appeals to reason (logos), to the speaker’s character (ethos), and to the audience’s emotions (pathos). In contemporary western society, however, the latter is often considered to be a bit unsavory, a slimy way to move an audience to action or attitude—appeals to fear, anger, pity, or shame, it is presumed, line up on the side of seduction and ruse rather than on the side of reason and truth. This prejudice enjoys a long and proud history that is associated with the classical definition of man as a rational animal (animale rationale). The capacity for reason is considered by many to be unique to human animals; indeed, it is considered the means by which humans transcend their animality. Emotional appeals, which shoot for the less lofty realms of sensual reaction, are therefore considered superficial and dangerous, manipulative tactics that lead audiences away from a more objective truth. But Aristotle situated the pathé (the passions or emotions) within the realm of reason, considering them crucial not only to sound judgment but to thinking itself. And contemporary thought in such diverse disciplines as rhetoric, philosophy, neuroscience, and affect theory backs Aristotle on this one: all suggest that emotions fundamentally orient one’s existence in the world, and that there is no disinterested or dispassionate reason—indeed, that thinking itself depends upon the passions.

In this course, we will follow Aristotle’s lead and study the ways in which thinking and judgment are intricately tied up with passion. We will read a broad spectrum of texts on emotional life in order to better understand both how we, as people, are moved to action or attitude through our affective engagement, and how we, as rhetors, might use that understanding to craft successful appeals.


Readings (available online and on reserve in the library) may include, for example:

  • Aristotle. Rhetoric. Book II.
  • Cicero. De Oratore. Book 2, sect 185-216.
  • Quintilian. Institutes of Oratory. Book 6.
  • Gorgias. “Encomium of Helen.”
  • Amélie Oksenberg Rorty. “Structuring Rhetoric.” (on the pathé)
  • Crowley and Hawhee. “Pathetic Proofs”
  • Leighton, Steven. “Aristotle and the Emotions.”
  • Smith, Craig, and Michael Hyde. “Rethinking ‘the Public’: The Role of Emotion in Being-with-Others.”
  • Striker, Gisela. “Emotions in Context: Aristotle’s Treatment of the Passions in the Rhetoric and His Moral Psychology.”
  • Nussbaum, Martha. “Aristotle on Emotions and Rational Persuasion.”
  • ---. Selections from Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions.
  • Katule, Richard. “Quintilian on the Art of Emotional Appeal.”
  • Ahmed, Sara. “Affective Economies.”
  • Damasio, Anthony. Selections from Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain.
  • Brennan, Theresa. Selections from The Transmission of Affect.
  • Helmers, Marguerite. The Elements of Visual Analysis.
  • Denise Riley. Impersonal Passion
  • Gregg, Melissa and Gregory J. Seigworth, ed. Selections from The Affect Theory Reader.
  • Walton, Douglas. Appeal to Pity.
  • Stewart, Kathleen. Ordinary Affects

Potential Assignments and Grading: 

  • Analysis of a photograph: 5% 
  • Written enargeia (vivid description): 10%
  • Analysis of an ad: 10%
  • Analysis of a visual text: 15% 
  • Semi-weekly reading notes: 15%
  • Written pathetic appeal: 20%
  • Visual pathetic appeal (written explication): 25%

RHE 330E • Peacemaking Rhetoric

43365 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 208
show description

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/read about illustrative speeches, texts, and rhetorical practices that critique injustice and advocate for justice and peace.


Major Assignments and Grading

  • Two researched and substantially revised papers: 60% (30% each)
  • Two presentations: summarizing research undertaken and major findings: 10% (5% each)
  • Participation & Short Writing Assignments: class participation/leading class discussions, responses to freewriting prompts, and/or short writing assignments: 20%
  • Portfolio: comprises a revised research paper and another short writing 10%

 Required Texts

A packet of readings,which will include:

  • Chapters/Articles written like Erik Doxtader’s “Reconciliation—A Rhetorical Conception” or 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; John P. Lederach’s The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace; and James J. Kimble “John F. Kennedy, the Construction of Peace, and the Pitfalls of Androgynous Rhetoric.”
  • Speeches/Texts written by politicians like John F. Kennedy’s “The Strategy of Peace,” national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi’s speech on the eve of the last fast and Martin L. King’s “I have a Dream”, and recognized activists like Rigoberta Menchú’s I, Rigoberta Menchú,

RHE 330E • Psych Of Writing & Persuasn

43370 • Charney, Davida H
Meets MW 200pm-330pm 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

43375 • 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 366 • Internship In Rhetoric & Writ

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This course provides an academic foundation and practical support for upper-division students working in DRW-approved internships.

It is designed to help students 1) recognize how rhetoric is applied in the workplace environments, and 2) apply their training and skills in rhetoric and writing professionally.

To meet these objectives, students will participate in a variety of activities: assigned readings, class discussions (in class and online), journal reflections on their workplace experience, university-sponsored workshops about job searching and workplace protocol, and in-class workshops and peer critique sessions designed to further develop their writing skills.

Students will produce 20 pages of writing (which may include Discussion Board assignments and journal entries at an instructor’s discretion) by the end of the semester. Because the amount of on-the-job writing students do will vary per internship, students will consult with the instructor at the beginning of the semester to determine the types of writing they will produce.

This course is offered on a pass/fail basis. It does not count toward the rhetoric major.

It may be repeated once for credit when the internships vary.


Consent of supervising instructor must be obtained. Upper-division standing and twelve semester hours of work in Rhetoric & Writing are required.


A course packet

Others TBA

RHE 367R • Conf Crs In Rhetoric & Writing

show description


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.

RHE 368C • Writing Center Internship

43390 • Ruszkiewicz, John J
Meets MW 200pm-330pm PAR 104
show description

RHE 368C is a course designed to prepare undergraduates to serve as peer tutors in the Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC). During the first part of the term, students will study issues related to writing center theory and practice. They will analyze the goals and practices of writing centers, examine elements of contemporary rhetorical and composition theory (including the writing process), survey typical course syllabi and assignments, and review basics of grammar, mechanics, and usage. Later in the term, they will work under supervision for six hours a week as a consultant in the Undergraduate Writing Center.

Course Requirements

Coursework includes a variety of writing assignments (including a literacy biography and an argument), quizzes on grammar and mechanics, observations of UWC tutoring sessions, participation in mock UWC tutorials, midterm and final self evaluations, and supervised tutoring in the UWC itself. Students will download all written assignments to the Blackboard course site or course where classmates may read and comment on them. Instructor's permission is required for registration in RHE 368C.


Grading Policy

Literacy Biography: 5%

Argument: 20%

Midterm self-assessment: 15%

Grammar quizzes: 20%

UWC Observation reports: 15%

Mock Tutorial report: 5%

Class participation and attendance: 5%

Final self-assessment: 15%



Gillespie and Lerner, The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring / 2nd edition

Ruszkiewicz, Friend, Hairston, The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers, 8th edition

RHE 379C • Feminist Histories Of Rhetoric

43395 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 308
show description

Are there women rhetors? Are there female theorists of rhetoric? What do rhetoric scholars have to say about these two questions? In this class, you will mainly focus on finding out answers to these three questions.  In this exploration the class will focus on three central concepts: feminist scholarship; historiography; and rhetoric. We will study feminist historiography of rhetoric that seeks to recover the work of female rhetors and theorists of rhetoric. They reread and rewrite the history of rhetoric to

  • recover the contribution of women to rhetoric,
  • reexamine our definition(s) of rhetoric, and
  • revise our understanding of the functions, forms and goals of rhetoric.

As they take a rhetorical approach to the study of rhetoric, feminist scholars analyze a variety of rhetorical practices from antiquity until modern times, recovering rhetorical practices of women from the West, Near East and Far East including women like, Enheduanna, Aspasia, Christine de Pizan, Mary Astell, Sojourner Truth, Rigoberta Menchú, Zitkala-Ša and many others.

Assignments and Grading

  • Two researched and substantially revised papers (70% of the total grade).
  • Two presentations (10%): Overview of research undertaken and major findings.
  • Participation (20%): Class participation/leading class discussions, responses to freewriting prompts, and short writing assignments.

Required Texts and Course Readings

All reading materials will be made available on Blackboard. Readings will include:

  • Chapters from edited collections and books like  Lindal Buchanan and Kathleen J. Ryan’s Walking and Talking Feminist Rhetorics: Landmark Essays and Controversies; Eileen Schell and Kim Rawson’s Rhetorica in Motion; Andrea Lunsford’s Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition; Chandra Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity; Jacqueline Jones Royster and Ann Marie Mann Simpkins’ Calling Cards: Theory and Practice in the Study of Race, Gender, and Culture; Jacqueline Jones Royster’s Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change among African American Women.   
  • Primary Texts include speeches, articles, and hymns like Sojourner Truth’ “Ain’t I a woman;” an article by Zitkala-Ša; a hymn by Enheduanna; an excerpt from Rigoberta Menchú’s testimonio.
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