Ethnic and Third World Literature
Ethnic and Third World Literature

Connie Steel


Department of English

Assistant Director, Department of Rhetoric and Writing
Connie Steel

Contact

  • Office: PAR 3
  • Office Hours: M 10-2; W 10-12; Alternating Tues/Thurs 10-11; and by appointment

Biography


Connie Steel's research focuses on identity and the ethics of representation.  Her dissertation investigates the relationship between genre, media and the regulation of rhetoric in a series of case studies on epitaphs and memorials.  The project pays particular attention to the public display of identity, the making of public memory, the development of rights narratives, and the representation of the deceased in the long 18th century.

HONORS, AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS

  • The Maxine Hairston Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 2011
  • Dorothy and John B. Pope Excellence Fund, Mentor/Mentee conference travel grant, 2011
  • Graduate Dean’s Prestigious Fellowship Supplement, University of Texas at Austin, 2009
  • Social Science Research Council, Pre-Dissertation Development Fellow, Summer 2009, Cultures and Histories of the Human Sciences, “Who Put the 'Human' in 'Human Rights'? The Meeting of Rhetoric, Philosophy and Psychology in the 18th Century”  Professional Development Scholarship, University of Texas, Department of English, 2009

BOOK REVIEWS

Connie Steel on The Anatomy of Blackness.The E3W Review of Books. Vol. 12 (Spring 2012).

CONFERENCE PAPERS

“Campus Crisis, Kairos and the Identification of Colton Tooley” for the 8th Annual GRACLS Conference “Reflections:  Identity After Crisis,” University of Texas at Austin, 2011.

“Motorcycle Rhetoric:  Anatomy of the Escape Scene” for the Popular Culture and American Culture Associations, San Antonio, TX, April 2011.

“Un-Lockeing the Age of Paine:  Moral Sentiment, Human Rights and the Rights of Man” for the International Society for the History of Rhetoric, Biennial Conference at McGill University, July 2009.

“Outside the Polis:  A Classical Interrogation of Guantánamo Bay,” for Human Rights at the University of Texas: A Dialogue at the Intersection of Academics and Advocacy, Rapaport Center for Human Rights, University of Texas, March 2009. 

“Heterophobic Panic:  A Soft Bordered Approach to Pride and Prejudice,” International Conference of Narrative, May 2008.

“More than Just Paine:  A Fresh Look at the Genealogy of Human Rights Rhetoric” for Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolution, University of Texas at Austin, May 2008.

Courses


RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Hon

43730 • Spring 2015
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 7



RHE 310 • Intermed Expository Writing

44805 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 9

RHE 310 is an intermediate-level workshop in writing and editing designed for students who have started to get serious about learning how to make their prose sing. The emphasis is on the nuts and bolts of style, specifically, readability.  The course teaches you to identify what makes for good (and bad) prose and how to apply that knowledge when editing your own and others’ writing.

Students will write several short pieces for class, some of them essays, others more offbeat, and then get to see these pieces carefully edited by both your instructor and your classmates.  Although 310 offers help with the entire writing process, editing is the chief focus of most class meetings. Different students will volunteer every two weeks to showcase their latest work, that is, they’ll distribute copies of it, and read it aloud for immediate feedback, both oral and written, by the class.  All the remaining papers, meanwhile, are read outside of class, with each class member being responsible for line-editing about one-third of them, a different third, each set.  To ensure systematic coverage of mechanics, about 20 minutes of instruction each class is set aside for tips on how to identify and fix common problems of grammar, punctuation, and usage.

The chief texts for RHE 310 are the many pieces written by the class members themselves, each of them a mixed model of good and not-so-good prose. In addition, though, students will have some collected writings of previous RHE 310 students, mostly for inspiration, together with two compact style manuals, John Trimble’s Writing with Style and Editing Your Own Prose

The four papers will constitute 80% of the course grade.  The remaining 20% will be an average of out-of-class edits, showcase edits, quizzes, a final grammar and usage test, and in-class writing and oral participation.

Textbooks:

John Trimble’s Writing with Style (2010)Steve and Victor Cahn’s Polishing Your Prose:  How to Turn First Drafts Into Finished Work (2013)  

E 314J • Lit & Artificial Intelligence

34585 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 10

Instructor:  Steel, C            Areas:  n/a / A

Unique #:  34585            Flags:  Writing

Semester:  Spring 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  Yes

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: Long before the Watson computer won on “Jeopardy!” or Deep Blue played chess, the ancient Greeks debated whether the newly introduced technology of writing would weaken the minds of scholars by replacing their memories. More ‘recently’ in 18th century England, a new type of literature, now known as “the novel,” was criticized for luring young women and servants away from their work into the virtual worlds of imaginary characters. This course explores the relationships between literature, technology and artificial intelligence by posing the question, “Is literature a form of artificial intelligence…perhaps even of artificial life?” Students will be asked to close read texts for both thematic content and technological function to explore differing definitions of “literature,” “intelligence,” “life,” “artificial,” “virtual” and “technology.” Do genres such as novels create an interface for artificial worlds? Does satire provide a form of social modeling with virtual control groups? In its emphasis both on formal analysis and on contextual reading this course helps prepare students for upper-division English classes. But it has also been designed with students outside the English major in mind.

Texts: Each week, a fiction selection will be paired with a short, digestible excerpt from a critical, scientific or philosophical text demonstrating a formal, historical or cultural approach to literature. Possible works of fiction include: Pygmalion, The Third Book of Gulliver’s Travels, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Asimov’s I, Robot, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Accompaniments (excerpts): Plato’s Phaedrus; Locke on humans, animals and machines; Hume on associative thinking; P.B. Shelley on reason and imagination in “A Defence of Poetry;” Donna Haraway’s feminist essay “A Cyborg Manifesto;” Nobel prize winner, Herbert Simon’s piece on bounded rationality; and Turing prize winner, John McCarthy’s “Programs with Common Sense” regarding natural language.

Requirements & Grading: (plus/minus grading) Changing Times; Changing Dictionaries Research Portfolio—Critical essay sequence combining reading, research and revision--Students analyze the changing nature of language and literary technology by using dictionaries (OED, Johnson’s, etc.) from the times of Swift, Shelley, and Gibson to compare definitions of a key thematic term from their stories. As students read each story they will revise their definitions of the key term in the next response essay using instructor feedback. Students will contextualize the history of each piece by researching Swift and Shelley’s Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entries, and Gibson’s personal blog while tracking their sources in Noodlebib. Three essays 2-3-page plus one 5-8-page research paper with revision and a works cited list. R1-3=30%, R4.1=10% and R4.2=20%

Mary & Donna’s Missing Friends—Where are the women of science fiction? At the beginning of each class, a student will give a five-minute presentation on a sci-fi work by or about a woman and submit a one-page summary with MLA citation for a collaborative wiki, UT card catalog contribution (or PCL library request if we don’t hold it). W=10%

Dueling Dialectics—Students write a four-page essay closely comparing a question and answer sequence from Phaedrus with a question and answer sequence from the work of Asimov or Philip K. Dick in which robots are identified, diagnosed, or doomed for their responses to human natural language questions. Students peer review each other’s work in dialectic style before revising. D1.1=5% and D1.2=20%

Participation. P=5%

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Motorcycles

44715 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 3:30PM-5:00PM FAC 7

Motorcycles—danger, sex, freedom?  This course explores the arguments made about motorcycles, and arguments made using motorcycles in three rhetorical genres:  public policy debate; print advertising; and narrative. On a fundamental level, students learn strategies for shifting gears as a critical reader when confronted with new rhetorical terrain through a variety of critical writing and research assignments.  Using motorcycle riding as a metaphor for processes of research, writing and revision, students will learn skills like mapping a controversy, analyzing rhetorical ‘traffic,’ making strategic writing choices, and revising based on feed back from other writers/riders.  Using a classical rhetorical vocabulary, students will compare the way genres of motorcycles—the Harley, the crotch rocket, the dirt bike—and genres of riders are represented across medium as an entry point to larger cultural conversations.  Students will ask critical questions about the way relationships with objects are used to construct representations of identity, which are used as the basis for shared beliefs and identifications in argument.  How are motorcycle riders depicted in and out of their communities?  Students will investigate and describe “who” make up “communities,” and the roles that gender, sex, race and sexuality play in motorcycle genres.

Grading and Assignments

This course is writing intensive.  Students should be prepared to write, research and revise every week.  In addition to short writing assignments there will be three major papers (4-7 pages).  
Six short writing assignments (2 research summaries, 1 short analysis, 3 annotated bibliographies): 20%
Weekly discussion postings: 10%
Paper 1.1: 5%
Paper 1.2: 10%
Paper 2.1: 10%
Paper 2.2: 15%
Paper 3.1: 15%
Paper 3.2: 15%

Weekly Discussion Postings

Students will participate in weekly discussion postings relating a text, image or video clip to a rhetorical concept or theory learned in class.  During their college careers and beyond students will be asked to write within particular word limits or other formal parameters, often in digital medium.  Each weekly discussion posting will ask students to exercise sentence and paragraph level style skills by expressing their ideas precisely, concisely and grammatically in mini-genres ranging from a 25-word précis to a 150 word abstract. Postings will be graded on a pass/fail basis with an option to re-write and re-submit.  

Texts and Readings

Crowley, Sharon and Debra Hawhee.  Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students
The Texas Department of Public Safety Motorcycle Operator’s Manual (available for download from the Texas Department of Public Safety)
Guevara, Che.  The Motorcycle Diaries
Blackboard Readings
Theory Readings
Easy Writer (style manual)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Motorcycles

44005 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 6

Motorcycles—danger, sex, freedom?  This course explores the arguments made about motorcycles, and arguments made using motorcycles in three rhetorical genres:  public policy debate; print advertising; and narrative. On a fundamental level, students learn strategies for shifting gears as a critical reader when confronted with new rhetorical terrain through a variety of critical writing and research assignments.  Using motorcycle riding as a metaphor for processes of research, writing and revision, students will learn skills like mapping a controversy, analyzing rhetorical ‘traffic,’ making strategic writing choices, and revising based on feed back from other writers/riders.  Using a classical rhetorical vocabulary, students will compare the way genres of motorcycles—the Harley, the crotch rocket, the dirt bike—and genres of riders are represented across medium as an entry point to larger cultural conversations.  Students will ask critical questions about the way relationships with objects are used to construct representations of identity, which are used as the basis for shared beliefs and identifications in argument.  How are motorcycle riders depicted in and out of their communities?  Students will investigate and describe “who” make up “communities,” and the roles that gender, sex, race and sexuality play in motorcycle genres.

Grading and Assignments
This course is writing intensive.  Students should be prepared to write, research and revise every week.  In addition to short writing assignments there will be three major papers (4-7 pages).  
Six short writing assignments (2 research summaries, 1 short analysis, 3 annotated bibliographies): 20%
Weekly discussion postings: 10%
Paper 1.1: 5%
Paper 1.2: 10%
Paper 2.1: 10%
Paper 2.2: 15%
Paper 3.1: 15%
Paper 3.2: 15%

Weekly Discussion Postings
Students will participate in weekly discussion postings relating a text, image or video clip to a rhetorical concept or theory learned in class.  During their college careers and beyond students will be asked to write within particular word limits or other formal parameters, often in digital medium.  Each weekly discussion posting will ask students to exercise sentence and paragraph level style skills by expressing their ideas precisely, concisely and grammatically in mini-genres ranging from a 25-word précis to a 150 word abstract. Postings will be graded on a pass/fail basis with an option to re-write and re-submit.  

Texts and Readings
Crowley, Sharon and Debra Hawhee.  Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students
The Texas Department of Public Safety Motorcycle Operator’s Manual (available for download from the Texas Department of Public Safety)
Guevara, Che.  The Motorcycle Diaries
Blackboard Readings
Theory Readings
Easy Writer (style manual)

RHE S309K • Rhetoric Of Motorcycles-W

87545 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 103

Motorcycles—danger, sex, freedom?  This course explores the arguments made about motorcycles, and arguments made using motorcycles in three rhetorical genres:  public policy debate; print advertising; and narrative. On a fundamental level, students learn strategies for shifting gears as a critical reader when confronted with new rhetorical terrain through a variety of critical writing and research assignments.  Using motorcycle riding as a metaphor for processes of research, writing and revision, students will learn skills like mapping a controversy, analyzing rhetorical ‘traffic,’ making strategic writing choices, and revising based on feed back from other writers/riders.  Using a classical rhetorical vocabulary, students will compare the way genres of motorcycles—the Harley, the crotch rocket, the dirt bike—and genres of riders are represented across medium as an entry point to larger cultural conversations.  Students will ask critical questions about the way relationships with objects are used to construct representations of identity, which are used as the basis for shared beliefs and identifications in argument.  How are motorcycle riders depicted in and out of their communities?  Students will investigate and describe “who” make up “communities,” and the roles that gender, sex, race and sexuality play in motorcycle genres.

Grading and Assignments

This course is writing intensive.  Students should be prepared to write, research and revise every week.  In addition to short writing assignments there will be three major papers (4-7 pages).  
Six short writing assignments (2 research summaries, 1 short analysis, 3 annotated bibliographies): 20%
Weekly discussion postings: 10%
Paper 1.1: 5%
Paper 1.2: 10%
Paper 2.1: 10%
Paper 2.2: 15%
Paper 3.1: 15%
Paper 3.2: 15%

Weekly Discussion Postings
Students will participate in weekly discussion postings relating a text, image or video clip to a rhetorical concept or theory learned in class.  During their college careers and beyond students will be asked to write within particular word limits or other formal parameters, often in digital medium.  Each weekly discussion posting will ask students to exercise sentence and paragraph level style skills by expressing their ideas precisely, concisely and grammatically in mini-genres ranging from a 25-word précis to a 150 word abstract. Postings will be graded on a pass/fail basis with an option to re-write and re-submit.  

Texts and Readings
Crowley, Sharon and Debra Hawhee.  Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students
The Texas Department of Public Safety Motorcycle Operator’s Manual (available for download from the Texas Department of Public Safety)
Guevara, Che.  The Motorcycle Diaries
Blackboard Readings
Theory Readings
Easy Writer (style manual)

Teaching


Courses taught at the University of Texas at Austin

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