Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing

43945 • Chovanec, Matthew
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM BEN 1.104
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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 • Rhet Of Digital Publishing

44140 • Welsh, Sarah
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 7
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Our basic idea is that the media industry is in rapid transition and that people still have enduring human needs. They want to be informed, they want to be entertained, they want to be inspired…”

 – Jonah Peretti, CEO, Buzzfeed


Magazines, newspapers, books, and other traditionally print-based writing forms have been forced to undergo serious changes. Not only has this involved the development of effective digital formats, but publishers have also had to figure out how to generate revenue for a product that readers aren't interested in paying for. Born-digital venues are constantly challenging print-based media to find ways to stay relevant online and to make money in a world where technology is in constant flux. This also poses a unique challenge for writers, who must make themselves heard in what seems like an endless sea of voices vying for attention. So what writers and venues are succeeding and why? Furthermore, does “success” now simply imply writing that generates the most likes, views, and shares?

We will start our investigation by looking at journalism just before the dawn of the internet, and will move into an examination of writing in digital spaces. We will speculate together as to how and why writing practices have changed for a digital audience. In so doing, we will build a greater awareness of the ways digital spaces shape our writing practices. 


Assignments/ Assessment:

  • Blog post responses on class website, 5%
  • Short Paper 1: Rhetorical analysis of an archival piece of journalism, 10%
  • Paper 1: Comparative paper, 10%
  • Short Paper 2: Analysis of a born-digital platform, 10%
  • Paper 2: Audience Analysis, 20%
  • Short Paper 3: Pitch, 20%
  • Paper 3: Longer Pitch (Optional creative component) 20%
  • Final Presentation: 5%


Required Texts: 

  • Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2007.
  • A course packet will be available on Canvas. Some journalists and writers featured will include: Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, Nathan Heller, Adrian Chen, and Lindy West. 

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Female Pop Stars

44160 • Cirit, Dilara
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM GAR 2.112
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I. Course Description

On August 24, 2014 pop icon Beyoncé Knowles capped a performance at the MTV Video Music awards against a backdrop emblazoning the word “Feminist,” an unparalleled move for a pop singer before her. Beyoncé’s performance was groundbreaking given her position as a high profile woman in the music industry, embracing the issues, ideas and language of feminism from within the music industry’s power structure, instead of outside it. Critics subsequently dubbed 2014 the “Year of Feminist Pop Music,” as pop icons like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Nikki Minaj topped the Billboard Charts. This course will explore the issues and controversies brought about by this gendered and thematic shift in the content and production of pop music, making ample use of music videos, live performances, song lyrics, and media portrayals of celebrity. We will explore critical questions about how pop stars negotiate the tensions inherent to their place as cultural icons by examining topics such as Iggy Azaelia’s racial appropriation of hip-hop culture and her ensuing feud with Azaelia Banks, Nicki Minaj’s award-winning feminist remix of Sir Mix-A-Lot, the cultural and political ramifications of Rihanna and Chris Brown’s highly publicized domestic abuse case, and Miley Cyrus’ claim that she developed body dysmorphia on the set of Hannah Montana

The course is divided into three units, each culminating in a 5-7 page essay on controversies of the students’ choosing. In Units 1 and 2, students will place their chosen controversy in historical and rhetorical context, identifying the intended audience and the strategies used to reach those audiences. In Unit 3, students will be advancing their own argument on the pop star controversy of their choice, relating their chosen topic to the feminist readings to which they will be exposed throughout the semester.


II. Assignment and Grading Breakdown

  • 1.1 Annotated Bibliography (5%)
  • 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 (20%)
  • Oral Presentations (5%)
  • Participation (10%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory)

III. Required Texts

  • Everything’s an Argument (sixth edition), Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruskievicz
  • EasyWriter by Andrea A. Lunsford

RHE 309K • Rhet Of US Exceptionalism

44130 • Sheridan, Mark
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM FAC 9
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In a speech in 2008, after winning the Iowa caucus, Barack Obama portrayed his rise to prominence as “a story that could only happen in the United States of America.” Such claims for America as exceptional have been commonplace since the nation’s founding, but why does it matter whether we believe that the U.S. is or was the greatest country in the world? Why are politicians and pundits so eager to convince us of this fact? What does it mean for a country to be “great,” anyway? Do such claims amount to patriotism, nationalism, jingoism or religious fanaticism? In this course, students will examine U.S. exceptionalism throughout history and in the present day, assessing its rhetorical appeals and strategic value. Students will examine the ways in which U.S. exceptionalism is deployed on all sides of cultural and political debates: as both a defence of the status quo, and as a call to meet the standards set by other advanced nations. Students will learn to discuss complex historical, political and rhetorical issues both in and out of the classroom, and learn to analyze a variety of texts, with the ultimate aim of producing a multimedia project that incorporates and reflects on arguments about U.S. exceptionalism in specific areas of contemporary life.


  • Annotated Bibliography - 15%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay - 15%
  • Cultural Object & Reflection - 15%
  • Short Writing Assignments - 45%
  • Presentation - 10%
  • Peer Review - Mandatory
  • Revision - Mandatory
  • Participation - Invaluable


Course Materials

Required Texts

  • Everything’s an Argument, Andrea Lunsford, John Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters
  • They Say/I Say, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
  • Easy Writer, Andrea A. Lunsford

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Women In Dystopia

44100 • Vidor, Amy
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 10
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“Reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays.”

Aldous HuxleyBrave New World

What do the Hunger Games’s Katniss Everdeen and Divergent’s Tris Prior have in common? These films and many other literary works have succeeded because of a winning combination of strong leading women placed in chaotic alternate realities. To understand the success of such dystopias, we’ll study the genre within the context of its literary history as well as contemporary politics. We'll discuss women’s roles in the genre and how they have been manipulated to address particular audiences.  In class, we’ll define the term “utopia,” while exploring its evolution as a literary genre beginning with the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis.  Next we will define “dystopia” and learn how this genre participates in and differentiates from the tradition of utopia.  For example, we may compare how women’s positions change from the utopianBook of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizanto the dystopian film V for Vendetta

Because this course carries the Writing Flag, expect to write regularly during the semester, complete substantial writing projects in addition to short blog posts, and receive feedback from the instructor to help improve writing skills. We will also have the opportunity to revise major assignments, and will be asked to read and discuss their peers’ work.  Together, we will look at women’s roles in four categories: wife, mother/daughter, sexual object, and independent agent.  Throughout the course students will be asked to consider if dystopias empower women through close reading of different mediums such as novels and films.  Eventually, students will write their own film review of a contemporary dystopia while reflecting upon these questions.



  • Paper 1 Draft (+ Peer Review)                                                     
  • Paper 1 Revision                  
  • Paper 2 Draft (+ Peer Review)                                            
  • Paper 2 Revision                                    
  • Paper 3 (+ Peer Review)        
  • Paper 3 Revision
  • Dystopia Assignment
  • Short writing assignments (a combination of in-class reading responses that involve text annotation utilizing Hypothesis and homework blog posts)



In this course I will be employing the Learning Record. The following are the standard Learning Record expectations and grade breakdowns.

  • A—Represents outstanding participation in all course activities; all assigned work completed, with very high quality in all work produced for the course. Evidence of significant development across the six dimensions of learning. The Learning Record at this level demonstrates activity that goes significantly beyond the required course work in one or more course strands.
  • B—Represents excellent participation in all course activities; all assigned work completed, with consistently high quality in course work. Evidence of marked development across the six dimensions of learning.
  • C—Represents good participation in all course activities; all assigned work completed, with generally good quality overall in course work. Evidence of some development across the six dimensions of learning.
  • D—Represents uneven participation in course activities; some gaps in assigned work completed, with inconsistent quality in course work. Evidence of development across the six dimensions of learning is partial or unclear.
  • F—Represents minimal participation in course activities; serious gaps in assigned work completed, or very low quality in course work. Evidence of development is not available.


We will assess across six dimensions of learning:

  • Confidence and independence
  • Skills and strategies
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Use of prior and emerging experience
  • Reflection
  • Collaboration


Required texts:

  • Rewriting: How To Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric And Digital Life

44105 • Roberts, Michael
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 9
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Because of the ongoing expansion and accompanying pervasiveness of the internet in our lives, being online has become second nature to most of us. Indeed, today it is difficult to participate fully in our everyday lives without digital technology and access online—things most of us take for granted. Thus, being online has become a seamless part of our daily existence, something as natural as getting dressed or eating. However, because of the internet’s profound integration into our lives, most people don’t critically examine what it means “to be” online and the numerous ways digital life shapes what it means to be human.

Through a continual process of reading, discussion, and writing, students in this section of 309K will engage in such critical examination, exploring how digital life both enables and constrains who we are and what we (can) do both online and off. In so doing, students will practice and develop their abilities to think critically and write effectively.

Assignments and Grading

  • Response Papers / Reading Contributions - 20%
  • Annotated Bibliography - 20%
  • Expository Essay - 25%
  • Argumentative Essay - 25%
  • Preparedness and Participation - 10%


Required Texts

  • Andy Clark, Natural Born Cyborgs
  • Amber Case, An Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg AnthropologyA Field Guide to Interface Culture
  • Arne De Boever et al (eds.) Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology
  • Adrian Mackenzie, Transductions: Bodies and Machines at Speed
  • Carl Pullein, Your Digital Life
  • Hal Abelson et al, Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and happiness after the Digital Explosion

RHE 309K • Rhetoric And Digital Life

44125 • Roberts, Michael
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 9
show description

Because of the ongoing expansion and accompanying pervasiveness of the internet in our lives, being online has become second nature to most of us. Indeed, today it is difficult to participate fully in our everyday lives without digital technology and access online—things most of us take for granted. Thus, being online has become a seamless part of our daily existence, something as natural as getting dressed or eating. However, because of the internet’s profound integration into our lives, most people don’t critically examine what it means “to be” online and the numerous ways digital life shapes what it means to be human.

Through a continual process of reading, discussion, and writing, students in this section of 309K will engage in such critical examination, exploring how digital life both enables and constrains who we are and what we (can) do both online and off. In so doing, students will practice and develop their abilities to think critically and write effectively.

Assignments and Grading

  • Response Papers / Reading Contributions - 20%
  • Annotated Bibliography - 20%
  • Expository Essay - 25%
  • Argumentative Essay - 25%
  • Preparedness and Participation - 10%


Required Texts

  • Andy Clark, Natural Born Cyborgs
  • Amber Case, An Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg AnthropologyA Field Guide to Interface Culture
  • Arne De Boever et al (eds.) Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology
  • Adrian Mackenzie, Transductions: Bodies and Machines at Speed
  • Carl Pullein, Your Digital Life
  • Hal Abelson et al, Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and happiness after the Digital Explosion

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of City Streets

44155 • Schrag, Nicole
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM FAC 7
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In this course, we will examine the rhetorical strategies that city residents, activists, developers, and planners use to advocate and to implement their ideas of what a great city should do and be. Our readings will introduce some of the foundational models of urban design that influenced the development of American cities as well as current design controversies in cities globally. We will address debates about urban gardens, hosting the Olympics, homelessness, traffic, Keeping Austin Weird, street art, and other topics relevant to contemporary urban life. This course’s overarching questions include: How is the rhetoric of sustainability, livability, or gentrification employed to advance different forms of urban development? How do urban spaces shape the identity of a neighborhood, district, or city? What claims does urban designnot governmentally sanctioned—like graffiti—make about a city? In the course of the semester, we will repeatedly return to these and related questions and topics, asking ourselves how to research, speak, and write responsibly about cities and their residents.

RHE 309K carries a writing flag, and as such will involve substantial research, writing, and revision.


  • 1.1 Annotated Bibliography (10%)
  • 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis (10%)
  • 2.2 Rhetorical Analysis Revision (15%)
  • 3.1 Argumentative Final Project (15%)
  • 3.2 Argumentative Final Project Revision (15%)
  • Short Writing Assignments (25%)
  • Oral Presentation (10%)


Required texts:

  • Everything’s an Argument, 6th Ed. (without readings), Andrea Lunsford and John J. Ruskiewicz
  • Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford
  • Additional readings will be distributed in class or via Canvas.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Dreams

44110 • Jewell, Brianna
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 303
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Dreams play a powerful role in the construction of thought and life.  They give us hope and they join communities.  In the case of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech, we can see how dreams function socially and politically to collect people around a common vision and to create an idea for a different life. For our purposes, though our initial conversations might complicate or extend this definition, a dream is both something in which people believe in order to live their lives (and in this way bleeds into fantasy), and a hope for a life other than the present one.  In this course we will think about the rhetorical function of dreams.  Specifically, we will identify where texts employ dreams, and for what purpose.  Because the rhetorical function of dreams in argumentative texts is closely tied to particular belief systems that communities and stakeholders hold, we will make ideology an early focus point, and continue to develop our understanding of ideology throughout the course.  As Dr. King’s dream attests, the deployment of dreams in texts (and the effects of those dreams) is context-specific; accordingly, as rhetorical analysts of dreams, we will be keen to understanding the unique situations that produce dreams as an effective rhetorical tool.  In our final writing exercise especially, then, our analysis of dreams will necessarily be at least two-fold, requiring us to examine both the rhetorical appeals that a particular dream makes and identifying the context that produces that dream.  


Assignments and Grading

  • 4 Short Writing Assignments  20%                        
  • Paper 1.1                                 10%
  • Paper 1.2                                 15%
  • Paper 2.1                                 15%
  • Paper 2.2                                 15%
  • Paper 3                                    20%
  • Oral Presentation                      5%
  • Peer Reviews                           Mandatory
  • Class Participation                  Invaluable



Required Texts

  • Critical Situations: A Rhetoric for Writing in Communities. Crowley and Stancliff. Penguin, 2008.
  • Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fourth Edition. Lunsford. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

In addition to the textbook and handbook, the instructor will create a packet of readings, including Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and short segments of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, as mentioned above. More contemporary political speeches and mission statements of organizations with a range of socio-political investments will also be included, and current events will be given special privilege.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Evil

44150 • Sharp, Zachary
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 0.132
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“Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.” – Satan

What is evil? What makes a person or action evil? The oft-quoted line above, spoken by Satan in John Milton’s epic poem,Paradise Lost, hints at the complexity of the topic. For one, evil deeds are rarely committed as such; instead, they are often recast as a kind of good — is it notbetter to reign than to serve? Nearly every act of evil is controversial in this sense, requiring careful consideration of how those who commit evil acts persuade both others and themselves that what they’re doing is somehow just. How and in what contexts can doing the wrong thing be misconstrued as doing the right thing? Who decides what is good and evil? What kinds of discourse motivate zealots to commit evil acts in the first place? How does evil function as a persuasive, motivating tool? Evil has always been both appealing and appalling; how are we to make sense of such a paradoxical and yet pressing concept?

This class is in part an attempt to answer some of these questions. Along the way, we’ll discuss how the conceptof evil is accounted for in various interpretive contexts, ranging from serious religious and philosophical commentary to examples of villainy in such films as No Country for Old Men and The Dark Knight. As we delve deeper, we’ll also explore how evil might be covertly argued for as a kind of good. Thus, a great deal of our time will be spent trying and place ourselves in the shoes (however despicable the owners may be) of people who have been so defined. While gaining a critical lay of the land regarding some definitional aspects of evil is necessary for our undertaking, we will spend most of our time examining why and how ordinary people like ourselves might be persuaded to perform despicable acts. In this sense, the course will also be an examination of the ethics of rhetoric itself.

In performing this investigation, students will build a working definition of evil: how it functions in various discursive contexts and what qualities make it up.  This investigation will provide students with the argumentative toolkit necessary for examining how evil is used in various justificatory arguments. To this end, major assignments will consist of summarizing secondary sources, rhetorically analyzing a text that shows how evil can be speciously argued for as a kind of good, and constructing one’s own, albeit tongue-in-cheek, “evil” argument. These assignments will allow students to develop effective research practices and precise writing, as well as the chance to contribute to an ongoing conversation about a fascinating, troubling, and perennial subject.

Assignments will include: in-class writing assignments, short assignments that prepare students for major course assignments, one topic proposal, an annotated bibliography, and two longer papers (5-7 pages).

Grade breakdown:

  • Annotated Bibliography 1.1:  Advisory grade
  • Annotated Bibliography 1.2: 10%
  • Analysis Paper 2.1: 15%
  • Analysis Paper 2.2: 15%       
  • Argument Paper 3.1: 15%
  • Argument Paper 3.2: 15%
  • Short Assignments: 20%
  • Presentations: 10%

Required Texts

  • Graff, G., & Birkenstein, C. (2007) They Say, I Say. New York: W. W. Norton
  • Lunsford, A. Easy Writer. (2010) Fourth Edition. Boston: Bedford/Martin’s

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Fandom

44095 • Davis, Carolyn
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 7
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Trekkies. Potterheads. Whovians. Nerdfighters. Bronies. Directioners. Twihards. The rise of social media has precipitated the creation of strong and numerous fan communities united around a variety of pop-cultural icons. In the last decade, many of these fan communities have defined themselves by a number of shared values and goals, leading to the rise of organizations involved in civic improvements such as The Harry Potter Alliance and The Foundation to Decrease World Suck, as well as the creation of primarily online charity drives like Accio Books and Action/1D. In this class, we will be examing the development of these communities, online and off, and each student will choose a fandom that they wish to work with over the course of the semester.

Using J. K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and its surrounding culture, as a starting point, we will examine the ways in which celebration of fandom has become an enduring and central feature of American popular culture. In Unit 1, we will begin by investigating the origin of internet fandoms identifying the controversies and stakeholders in the rhetoric created by and about those within fan communities. The research tools acquired in this unit will help as we turn to rhetorical analysis in Unit 2. We will bring together a variety of fan-related texts to form aggregate pictures of our chosen fan communities and analyze the rhetorical power that they generate online. Finally, Unit 3 will be a chance to argue for a position regarding your chosen fandom. This may include a sustained argument concerning the source text, paratext, or fan-generated text. You will also have the option to write a comparable creative fan-fiction assignment, which will be graded on your ability to understand and reach your audience.. By the end of the semester, we will have mapped many of the fascinating intersections among a range of fan communities, and across a variety of media.


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 (10%)
  • Oral Presentation (10%)
  • Participation (10%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory)

Required Textbooks:

  • Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer: A High School Reference. 4th ed. Boston, Mass: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.
  • Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument. 6th ed. Boston, Mass: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Food

44145 • Williamson, Thea
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM FAC 7
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Hunger, sustenance, gluttony, nourishment. We must eat to survive, but the consumption of calories and nutrients is just part of our obsession with food. For centuries cooks, readers, eaters, and writers have used language to attempt to understand what happens when we eat, how we feed ourselves, and our connections to food. Their writing tells us how to prepare food, critiques and evaluates its quality, evokes memories and emotions, preserves traditions, and creates food communities in digital and physical spaces.

In this course we will explore and analyze contemporary and historical writing about food in the form of cookbooks, memoirs, blogs, agricultural policy briefs, food justice manifestos, and other genres. Students will also have the opportunity to apply what they have learned by composing two pieces of original food writing: a recipe and a text in a genre of their choice.



In addition to assignments listed below, each unit will include short writing pieces designed to support students’ progress toward the major assignment.

  • Unit 1: Recipes: Write a Recipe
  • Unit 2: What food writing is out there?Annotated Bibliography
  • Unit 3: Rhetorical AnalysisGenre Conventions Paper
  • Unit 4: Choice Genre CompositionOriginal Food Writing



Students’ performance will be assessed using Learning Record (LR), using the LR’s six dimensions of learning across four course goals: rhetoric of food, conversation, writing, and research. Students will set goals in the beginning of the semester and then compose two reflective self-evaluations to show how they are learning and growing, at the midterm and end of the course. Evidence to support claims of learning will come from students’ writing, as well as peer and instructor comments.



Course readings will be provided electronically by the instructor on Canvas and identified by students as part of their research.  In addition to the primary rhetoric text, Graff & Birkenstein’s (2014) “They Say / I Say,” readings include selections from:

Barber (2015) The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food; Brillat-Savarin (1825/2011), The Physiology of Taste;Fisher (1943) Gastronomical Me;Hazan (1992) The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking;McGee (2004), On Food and Cooking;Presilla (2013), Gran Cocina Latina; Sahni (1980) Classic Indian Cooking

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Laughter

44070 • Zacks, Aaron
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 6
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Laughter can be a powerful, rhetorical tool, but intentionally harnessing and leveraging its power to make clear, persuasive arguments – this is tricky business.

What makes us laugh? What doesn't make us laugh? How do we laugh? How does our laughter sound? When do we laugh, and when do we hold laughter back? Why do we laugh? What does it mean when we laugh, or don't laugh? From a rhetorical standpoint, what work can laughter perform in conversations about issues both trivial and important? Also, why does laughing make us feel good? (Is that feeling, itself, an argument?! To whom? From who?)

In Rhetoric of Laughter, we will address these and other questions through personal reflection on contemporary, laughter-inducing texts before mulling over laughter's role in public discourse.

Major Assignments and Grading:

  • HW - 15%    
  • DE - 15%
  • A1: Analysis I - 5%
  • A2: Analysis II - 10%
  • A3: Analysis III - 15%
  • Argument (Research Project) - 40%


Required Texts:

  • They Say/I Say (TSIS). Third Ed. Graff and Birkenstein, 2014. (Amazon)
  • Easy Writer (EW). Fifth Ed. Lunsford. Longman, 2014. (Amazon)
  • All other course content will be made available via Canvas and e-books available through UT Libraries.


Example Readings (i.e. Things that make me laugh):

  • Gervais, Ricky. Extras (2005-07), The Invention of Lying (2009)
  • Judge, Mike. Silicon Valley (2014-)
  • Kroll, Nick. Kroll Show (2013-15)
  • Texas Travesty, The (1997-)
  • Watterson, Sam. Calvin and Hobbes (1985-95)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Oil

44165 • Byrnes, Delia
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 208
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 Since its discovery in the mid-nineteenth century, petroleum has played a foundational role in American life. From Styrofoam and pharmaceuticals to body lotions and gasoline, oil quite literally fuels our daily lives—often in ways we’re not even aware of. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to read the news or turn on the radio without hearing debates about oil, especially here in Texas where oil is a crucial part of the state’s economy. Yet debates about oil are never just about economics. Rather, our ideas about oil are intimately connected with some of our deepest values: individualism, peace, independence, equality, and nature. In this class, we will explore a variety of positions within American oil culture. Of particular interest will be the ways in which different voices articulate their concerns about and investments in petroleum and its various expressions. By closely examining a variety of recent events, such as the BP oil spill of 2010 and the “shale revolution,” we will explore questions such as: What are the risks and rewards of hydrofracking? Are minorities and people of color disproportionately affected by carbon-based pollution? How do we balance the economic benefits of “tough oil” technologies against the potential environmental consequences? Over the course of the semester, these questions will lead us to examine a host of different perspectives on the benefits, costs, pleasures, and anxieties of “living oil” in the twenty-first century. Students will begin the semester by selecting a controversy related to petroleum culture. They will then research the historical context of their controversy and explore various positions within it. Students will then conduct rhetorical analyses of various texts, both print and image-based. Finally, they will adopt a position within their “oily” controversy and draw on rhetorical strategies to advocate their position to a specific audience.


  • Annotated Bibliography and Statement of Controversy (10%)
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay (10%)
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay Revision (15%)
  • Argumentative Essay (15%)
  • Argumentative Essay Revision (20%)
  • Short Writing Assignments (20%)
  • Tumblr Contributions (5%)
  • Oral Presentation (5%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory)
  • Participation (Invaluable)

Required Textbook and Handbook

  • Everything’s an Argument, 6th ed., by Andrea Lunsford, John Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters
  • Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford
  • *Additional readings will be distributed in class or made available on the course Canvas site.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Rebellion

44090 • Garner, James
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM JES A209A
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“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” - The Declaration of Independence (1776)


Although the idea of “rebellion” is often burdened with negative connotations, it occupies a place of particular fascination in American society; in our popular culture, we love underdogs, outlaws, and rule-breakers, and even America’s very inception happened through an act of defiance. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the mayhem caused by internet hacktivists like Anonymous, “rebellion” takes many forms, occurring when the oppressed finally says, “Enough.” What is it, though, that makes someone a rebel? And what does it mean to rebel? Must rebellion always end with violence, or can resistance be peaceable? How has rebellion changed in shape and scope over time? And from where does the authority derive that these rebels challenge? How does rebellion start with the ideas of a few and expand to the masses? What happens when rebellion becomes fashionable? And, most important for our purposes, what is the value of persuasive rhetoric and argumentation in challenging authority?

We will consider these questions and more by surveying a broad array of arguments regarding the many forms that rebellion takes. This course will consider a variety of “rebellious” texts, including political treatises and manifestoes spanning from the English Civil War to the present; hip-hop, punk, and folk music; and visual media such as graffiti and internet memes, to name just a few. We will also explore informative secondary research critiquing and elaborating these texts’ arguments to develop a vocabulary and conceptual framework for talking about rebellion. In our analysis of rebellion, we will examine a number of important interrelated issues that arise while considering the persuasive efforts made by these texts, including the origins of authority, the relationship between a people and their government, the legitimacy of rebellion, and the conditions that generally lead to rebellion. Because this course has a writing flag, it will be writing intensive; to fulfill the requirements, students will compose and revise three longer papers (each between 5-8 pages in length, including their own persuasive call for rebellion, which will also be delivered orally), as well as write a handful of shorter assignments.


Assignments and Grading

  • Paper 1.1:  Advisory grade
  • Paper 1.2: 10%
  • Paper 2.1: 15%
  • Paper 2.2: 15% 
  • Paper 3.1: 15%
  • Paper 3.2: 15%
  • Short Writing Assignments: 25%
  • Presentation: 5%

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • John W. Bowers, Donovan J. Ochs, Richard J. Jensen, and David P. Schulz. The Rhetoric of Agitation and Control, Third Edition. 2009.  
  • Mark G. Longaker and Jeffrey Walker. Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers. Pearson, 2010.
  • Andrea Lunsford. Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fourth Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. 

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Gospels

44075 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 308
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This course will treat the gospels as rhetorical texts, rooted in time in place and shaped by the communities they were written for. Students are expected to apply rigorous historical method and careful literary analysis to gain a nuanced understanding of how the leader of a Jewish renewal movement became the object of devotion in earliest Christianity. We’ll explore the strategies each gospel writer uses to achieve purpose for his audience, considering the information the writer selects for presentation; the ordering and apportioning of that information; and the language used. By studying the gospels in this way, we’ll be prompted to consider how these texts — both canonical and non-canonical — emerged from the communities following Jesus. We’ll also consider the form of the gospel itself — what it is, what it is not — as we explore the conventions that governed the first-century Mediterranean world (both social and literary).

In addition to examining the gospels, we’ll consider more recent — and vigorous — arguments about the historical Jesus, as offered by organizations like the Jesus Seminar, and as presented in documentaries like PBS’s From Jesus to Christ and ABC’s The Search for Jesus, in attempting to gain a fuller understanding of the gospels. By exploring both the original arguments and the responses to those arguments, we’ll observe the ongoing conversation that exists regarding the quest for Jesus and the role the gospel writers played in crafting his story.


Assignments and Grading

  • Rhetorical Analysis of Mark and Matthew (20%)
  • Analysis of “Q” Passage (20%)
  • Research Paper on the First Century Mediterranean World (20%)
  • Refutation of Historical Jesus Argument (20%)
  • Midterm exam (10%)
  • Final exam (10%)



There are four principal texts:

  • Gospel Parallels (5th edition), Burton H. Throckmorton Jr., Thomas Nelson.
  • The Gospels and Jesus (2nd edition), Graham Stanton, Oxford University Press.
  • The Historical Jesus — the LIfe of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, John Dominic Crosson, Harper One.
  • Misquoting Jesus, Bart D. Ehrman, HarperOne.

In addition, a course packet includes excerpts from six sources: John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew—Rethinking the Historical Jesus; E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus; Marcus J. Borg and N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus—Two Visions; Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them); Bernard Brandon Scott, Hear Then the Parable—A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus; and Dale C. Allison, Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan and Stephan J. Patterson, The Apocalyptic Jesus—A Debate

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Iphone

44115 • Barta, Caroline
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 9
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How has the iPhone crafted, shaped, and transformed the texts we create? Are we being fragmented by the ability to present and represent ourselves to the world with the flick of a finger—the touch of a home button? Using the medium of creative digital spaces, this class questions how the iPhone changes how we think of writing and participates in larger, culture-wide discussions about how we view our “selves” in the digital age. In order to define and to trouble the “author,” audience, and text for the twentieth-first century, we will learn to identify and analyze the basic principles of rhetoric.

This course is split into three units—each of which culminates in a major writing project. In Unit 1,we begin by tracing the development and history of the iPhone alongside other smartphones, in order to begin the task of defining key terms for our class. This section of the course particularly examines the iPhone as an archive, culminating in the writing of an “I” narrative, focused upon a key memory, snapshot, or text exchange. In Unit 2,we will enter a vibrant, existing conversation about the altered state of the author, audience, and text, complicating and transforming a discourse by throwing the iPhone into the mix. We will model academic discourse, doing extensive research to back up individual lines of inquiry feeding into the class conversation. In Unit 3, we explore the venue and audience of one of the “apps” on our phones and its relation to a facet of self-identity, leading to the construction of a rhetorical analysis. We finish the unit by revising an existing project into a multimodal presentation to wow an audience.

Throughout the semester, class-run social media accounts hosted on our very own website play with the lines of learning by engaging with our subject in and out of the formal classroom. In turn, students take charge as “social media curators” for a week; so yes, you will use your phone for class! On that note—while having a smartphone is helpful for completing assignments, owning an iPhone is not at all necessary for enrollment. As I’m excited for us to discover, we all bring the "i"—our experiences, archived memories, interests, and passions—the class is the conversation that follows.



  • RewritingHow To Do Things With Texts, Joseph Harris (e-text available through UT Library).
  • Seeing Ourselves Through TechnologyRettberg, Jill Walker. Palgrave Pivot, 2014 (online, open source)
    • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.
    • As needed, selected short readings to be posted on our password-protected Canvas site, including short texts relating to unit content by Fred Vogelstein, Ian Crouch, John Green, Neil Gaiman, Ryan Van Meter, and Hugo Lindgren. 


Students will be assessed utilizing the standard Learning Record portfolio system. Six dimensions of learning will be emphasized: confidence and independence; skills and strategies; knowledge and understanding; use of prior and emerging experience; reflection; and collaboration. In addition to completing the assignments below, students will submit a midterm and final portfolio to be evaluated by the instructor.  Students must complete all assignments to the instructor’s satisfaction in order to pass the course. All major assignments will be submitted through Canvas, while some shorter assignments and the multi-media project will be conducted on a course website.

  • Paper 1 Draft (+ Peer Review)
  • Paper 1 Revision
  • Paper 2 Draft (+ Peer Review)
  • Paper 2 Revision
  • Paper 3 (+ Peer Review)
  • Multi-Modal Revision + Presentation
  • Media Account Project
  • Short writing assignments (six assignments assigned as prewriting for the major assignments)

RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Hon

44170 • Royall, Karen
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 6
show description

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

44175 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM PAR 308
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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

44180 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.120
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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

44185 • Steel, Connie
Meets T 5:00PM-8:00PM FAC 7
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

44190 • Ruszkiewicz, John
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 104
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Rhetoric 325M is an advanced-level workshop in writing and editing. Its goal is to make already skilled writers more polished and publishable. The standards are high: the course will focus intensely on editing individual projects with everyone in the class having access to the drafts of their colleagues' work. Specifically, course goals are the following:

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


Course Requirements

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

Grading Policy

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


John Trimble, Writing With Style / 3rd edition

RHE 328 • Magazine Writing/Publishing

44200 • Buckley, Tom
Meets W 5:00PM-8:00PM PAR 101
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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 Digital Media

44195 • Zacks, Aaron
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 6
show description

Writing poses these questions to all who approach:

  • What do I want to say?
  • In what form and style should I say it?
  • Where should I publish to evoke the desired response from my intended audience?

These questions cannot change because the rhetorical principles are immutable, but our answers must change to suit conventions of the day. In the twenty-first century, the vast, fragmented, and increasingly temperamental landscape of digital writing obliges us to respond with exceedingly nuanced answers. 

This class surveys this landscape with assistance from readings reflecting a range of methodologies, including writing & composition studies, communications theory, quantitative analysis, and professional advice. We will discuss the influences of writing and publishing phenomena (e.g. self-publishing, narrowcasting) on the practices of contemporary writers and readers.

Over the course of the semester, students will strategize, propose, write, revise, and edit four original pieces cohering around a self-identified topic or theme. We will devote special attention to the proposal stage of invention, during which students will provide thorough, nuanced answers to our fundamental questions, setting detailed goals for their Portfolios. Students are invited to take the class as an opportunity to develop existing writing projects.


Reading List:

  • Brian Carrol, Writing and Editing for Digital Media (Routledge, 2014)
  • Troy Hicks, Crafting Digital Writing: Composing Texts Across Media and Genres (Heinemann, 2013)


Grade Breakdown:

  • First Submission 1      10%
  • First Submission 2      10%
  • First Submission 3      10%
  • First Submission 4      10%
  • Portfolio                      50%
  • Peer Review                10%

RHE 328 • Writing For Nonprofits

44205 • Batt, Alice
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 103
show description

Do you feel passionately about a cause—such as protecting the environment, ending world hunger, or ensuring civil rights for all people living in Texas? Can you see yourself working for an organization whose main purpose is to raise awareness about that issue and make a difference in people’s lives? If so, Writing for Nonprofits is for you.

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.  In this class, you’ll learn about the crucial role writing plays in achieving these goals. Our objectives are to:

  • understand the rhetorical situation inherent in nonprofit work
  • think critically about the way various nonprofit messages are constructed and become adept at creating them
  • learn how to research and assess potential donors, using Internet and print sources
  • develop the knowledge and skills necessary to write a compelling grant proposal
  • develop collaboration skills

This service-learning course provides you with the unique opportunity to work directly with local non-profit agencies and create materials their directors can use for publicity and fundraising. The materials you’ll write for class will be the kind that employees of nonprofits create on a daily basis. Each of you will write a feature article and work with a group to research and write a grant directed at a particular foundation. You will also design a project of your own that meets the needs of one of our partner organizations or another local nonprofit.

We will have several guest speakers in class this semester. Some have specific writing needs and would like your help; others will simply be here to share some of their hard-won experience in the nonprofit realm and field your questions about nonprofit careers. 



  • Readings about rhetorical principles (UT Library’s Electronic Reserves)
  • Public Relations Writing by Thomas Bivens
  • Grant Seeking in an Electronic Age by Victoria Mikelonis, et. al.
  • Feature Writing in the 21st Century by Carla Johnson



To track the progress of your learning, we’ll be using the Learning Record (LR), a portfolio-based system fully described on the web at Grades in this course are determined on the basis of the LR, which you will prepare and submit with a portfolio of work at midterm and at the end of the course. Your portfolio will include a selection of the work (both formal and informal) you’ve completed during the semester; ongoing observations about your learning, and an interpretation of the work that shows your development across five dimensions of learning: confidence and independence, knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, use of prior and emerging experience, and reflection. This development will occur in the major strands of work in the course, which are available—along with grading criteria—at

NOTE: All assigned work, including informal writing, proposals, rough drafts, finished projects, peer critiques, the midterm LR and final LR must be completed and submitted on time to receive a C in this course. Except under extraordinary circumstances, there will be no incompletes in this class.

RHE 330C • Digital Rhetorics Of Satire

44210 • Zacks, Aaron
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 6
show description

Satire, and its blood brother, irony, seem to pervade every corner of the internet today, from the bright, public sphere of social media to the sardonic depths of the Dark Web. Is satire more prevalent today than ever before? Do we consume more satire than we used to? Is satire, as a rhetorical mode, more relevant to, or somehow better-suited to the deeply mediated kinds of discourse familiar to us in the twenty-first century?

These are some of the grand questions we’ll reflect on through our study of the diverse and multimodal contexts in which we encounter satiric argument on the internet: the “Satiric Web.” Looking at everything from playful memes circulating anonymously on reddit to the caustic tirades John Oliver posts to YouTube after Last Week Tonight airs on HBO, we’ll spend the semester questioning how digital tools, devices, and strategies are contributing to satire’s apparent prevalence in different physical and psychological areas of our lives.

Early in the semester, students will elect a subject, or theme, to guide their work, which will entail a series of research projects (surveys and analyses of satiric rhetoric) and argumentative essays (two short, one long).  


Major Assignments and Grading:

  • 10% Reading Responses
  • 10% Presentation
  • 20% Short Essays
  • 30% Research Projects
  • 30% Term Paper


Required Texts:

  • Easy Writer (EW). Fifth Ed. Lunsford. Longman, 2014. (Amazon)
  • All other course content will be made available electronically through Canvas and UT Libraries.


Example Readings:

Day, Amber.

Satire and Dissent: Interventions in Contemporary Political Debate.

 Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2011.

Gray, Jonathan, Jeffrey

 P. Jones, and Ethan Thompson, eds. Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in

 the Post-Network Era. Eds. New York: NYU Press, 2009.

Maus, Derek C. and James

 J. Donahue, eds. Post-soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights.

 Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2014.

Randall, Eric. The 'Death of Irony,' and It's Many Reincarnations.”

The Wire.

 Atlantic Monthly Group, 9 September 2011. Web.

RHE 330C • Digital Storytelling

44215 • Boyle, Casey
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 104
show description

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 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

  • Students will be asked to subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for the duration of the class (Be advised that Adobe offers an educational discount).
  • Several articles and online texts will be shared via Canvas course site (So, there will be no required books to purchase).

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 • Networked Writing

44220 • Spinuzzi, Clay
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 6
show description

Writing is perhaps our most flexible tool. Since its invention in 3200 BCE, this tool has been used for a remarkable range of activities—and has been combined with other technologies to shape what is possible in different societies and contexts. And the current information and communication technologies—such as social media, instant messaging, and collaborative writing spaces—are certainly making their mark, changing how we read, write, compose, and argue. 

In this class, we’ll examine writing as a tool that interacts with various information and communication technologies, and we’ll try out various information and communication technologies to better understand how they interact.


Assignments and Grading

Project 1: Offline writing. (20%)

Not only has writing been offline for almost all of its history, it has been done in specific media: fired clay, bones, papyrus, marble, paper, sticky notes. In fact, it’s hard to go an hour without encountering some kind of offline writing. As Karlsson shows in her article, even trades that seem to have nothing to do with writing actually involve writing. In a highly literate society, writing is applied to most of our problems.

Find and analyze four pieces of offline writing that are related to each other in a specific activity. Examples might include:

  • a shopping list, a printed circular for a grocery store, a sticker on an apple, and a sign advertising a sale.
  • a flyer for a Greek event, a ticket for the event, a sign at the event, a t-shirt commemorating the event.
  • a course syllabus, course notes, an assignment for the course, a picture of the whiteboard during a lecture.
  • the Starbucks menu, a chalkboard showing today’s specials, a receipt, a paper coffee cup with the customer’s name written on it.


Analyze the pieces of offline writing in these terms:

  • Purpose. What does each piece of writing do within the activity? What role does it play in comparison with other examples of writing?
  • Medium. Why is each piece of writing in this medium rather than others? How does this medium help it to achieve its purpose?
  • Links. How does this piece of writing link up with other pieces? For instance, the barista may take a name for the receipt, but also may write it in marker on a Starbucks cup. In what ways do these pieces of writing become associated?
  • Strengths and weaknesses. In becoming associated, these different texts may reinforce each others’ purposes or roles in the activity. but they may also undermine them. Discuss some ways in which the four pieces of writing reinforce or undermine each other.

Include pictures or scans of each piece of writing, either as embedded figures or as separate uploads.

Project 2: Social writing. (25%)

We’ve done offline writing for a long time, but two trends—universal literacy and widespread access to digitally based information and communication technologies—have radically increased both the variety and the interactivity of writing. We can now keep in close, interactive contact with a variety of relationships via social networking (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus) and messaging (e.g., SMS/texting, instant messaging, GroupMe, Skype, Google Hangouts). And as the Haas et al. piece illustrated, this new (historically speaking) affordance has led to behavior that older people might find bizarre—such as texting someone who is in the same space.

 How have information and communication technologies changed the nature of relationships, either close or distant? Write a paper that explores this question. For this paper:

  • Interview 2-3 people who has grown up with, and uses, social media or messaging. Specifically, find people who have used social media or messaging since high school (at the latest). Discuss the following:

?      What do they use social networking or messaging to do? Under what conditions? Ask for specific examples that you can capture, either via screen capture or by writing verbatim.

?      How do they use social networking or messaging to interact? For instance, do they comment on others’ status? Do they monitor how others feel or what others are doing?

  • Interview 1-2 people who did not grow up with social media or messaging. These could be relatives, employers, professors, etc. Discuss the following:

?      Do they use social media or messaging? If so, how do they use it? If not, why not?

?      What have they found most counterintuitive about social media?


Based on the research above, write a paper that compares and contrasts the expectations of the two groups. Compare both sets of expectations to your own.


Project 3: Collaborative writing. (30%)

Collaborative writing has become increasingly important in endeavors from entertainment to business to education, helped along by new and powerful ways to collaborate. As Zachry et al. show, publicly available online services have created an additional collaborative layer over businesses; as Sherlock demonstrates, collaborative texts such as wikis are key to making certain activities in World of Warcraft happen. And of course Wikipedia is the poster child for massive collaboratively written endeavors.

This project involves examining such collaborative writing spaces, but it also involves using them.

In groups of 3-4 people, select a collaboratively written text to examine and evaluate. You might consider texts such as

  • a wiki for an online game or a Wikipedia page
  • a Google Doc for an open source software project
  • a piece of documentation in a content management system

 As you examine the text, you’ll collaborate on an evaluation of the text. Specifically, you’ll look at features such as:

  • Identity. Are collaborators identified? How are they identified—with full names, pseudonyms, etc.?
  • History. Does the system show the history of changes? How do you get to it, and to what degree does it show the changes?
  • Controls. Who controls the text? What levels of control are embedded in the software? What roles are established? How do people move from one role to another?
  • Contributions. What features allow people to make contributions? Are these features easy or hard to use? Speculate on how the qualities of these features affect the quantity and quality of the contributions.

 Collaboratively write a paper based on the evaluation.

  • Use collaborative writing software (such as Google Docs, a wiki, or a content management system) to write and submit the paper..
  • Use a project management tool (Basecamp, Asana, Wrike, Google Sheets, etc.) to plan, track, and adjust writing tasks.’


Project 4: Networked writing and alliances. (25%)


In their book The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico, Ronfeldt et al. describe how the Zapatistas took advantage of relatively new information and communication technologies (new in 1998, anyway) to network different actors with different agendas, resulting in alliances that quickly changed the dynamics of revolution. We see similar tactics being used with more recent actions leveraging more recent technologies: the Arab Spring used Facebook and Twitter; Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party use social media and discussion boards; the Syrian rebels use Skype; Anonymous uses a variety of channels.

Select one instance—possibly from these, possibly from other instances—and research it. Specifically, examine how entities with different agendas meet and network those agendas via information and communication technologies.


Required Texts and Course Readings

Baten, J., & Van Zanden, J. L. (2008). Book production and the onset of modern economic growth. Journal of Economic Growth13(3), 217–235.

Bender, E. M., Morgan, J. T., Oxley, M., Zachry, M., Hutchinson, B., Marin, A., Zhang, B., et al. (2011). Annotating Social Acts?: Authority Claims and Alignment Moves in Wikipedia Talk Pages. LSM  ’11: Proceedings of the Workshop on Languages in Social Media (pp. 48–57). Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics.

Ferro, T., Divine, D., & Zachry, M. (2012). Knowledge Workers and Their Use of Publicly Available Online Services for Day-to-day Work. SIGDOC  ’12:Proceedings of the 30th ACM international conference on Design of communication (pp. 47–53). New York: ACM.

Hutchins, E. (1995). How a cockpit remembers its speeds. Cognitive Science19(3), 265–288.

Karlsson, A.-M. (2009). Positioned by Reading and Writing: Literacy Practices, Roles, and Genres in Common Occupations.Written Communication26(1), 53–76. doi:10.1177/0741088308327445

Law, J. (1986). On the methods of long distance control: Vessels, navigation and the Portuguese route to India. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief: A new sociology of knowledge? (pp. 234–263). Boston: Routledge.

Morgan, J. T., & Zachry, M. (2010). Negotiating with angry mastodons. In Wayne Lutters & Diane H. Sonnenwald (Eds.),Proceedings of the 16th ACM international conference on Supporting group work - GROUP  ’10 (pp. 165–168). New York: ACM.

O’Leary, M., Orlikowski, W., & Yates, J. (2002). Distributed work over the centuries: Trust and control in the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670-1826. In P. J. Hinds & S. Kiesler (Eds.), Distributed Work (pp. 27–54). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Oxley, M., Morgan, J. T., Zachry, M., & Hutchinson, B. (2010). “What I Know Is …”: Establishing Credibility on Wikipedia Talk Pages. WikiSym  ’10: Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration (pp. 2–3). New York: ACM.

Ronfeldt, D., Arquilla, J., Fuller, G. E., & Fuller, M. (1999). The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation.

Sherlock, L. (2009). Genre, Activity, and Collaborative Work and Play in World of Warcraft: Places and Problems of Open Systems in Online Gaming. Journal Of Business And Technical Communication23(3), 263–293.

Schmandt-Besserat, D., & Erard, M. (2008). Origins and Forms of Writing. In C. Bazerman (Ed.), Handbook of research on writing: History, society, school, individual, text (pp. 7–22). New York: Erlbaum.

Smart, G. (2008). Writing and the social formation of economy. In C. Bazerman (Ed.), Handbook of research on writing: History, society, school, individual, text (pp. 123–135). New York: Erlbaum.

RHE 330D • Essays Through The Ages

44224 • Voss, Peter
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM FAC 9
show description

What is an essay? Has it always been a 5-paragraph piece of expository prose that contains a concrete thesis statement at the end of its first paragraph? When did people first start writing essays? One of history’s most famous essay writers is Montaigne. Was he the first individual to explore this genre? How has the understanding of what constitutes an essay shifted over time, and how has this shift occurred in relation to the changes in rhetorical theory? In what ways are the genre conventions of the essay flexible, and in what ways are they rigid? Who decides what constitutes an essay anyway? 

These are just a few of the questions we will consider in the Essay Through the Ages. The course will examine the essay’s long history in the Western intellectual tradition, and ask important questions about what’s happening to the essay in the twenty first century. Going back to classical times, the essay has long been the important tool of intellectuals and philosophers. Throughout the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, the essay became the central tool of intellectual inquiry, and the genre eventually evolved to become the basis of humanistic learning in universities. Our digital age is testing the extent to which this old genre can serve the concerns of today, and we will consider the extent to which our time is receptive of what the essay has to offer.


TEXTS: Plutarch’s Moralia; Seneca’s Moral Essays; Montaigne’s Complete Essays; Milton’s Areopagitica; Pope’s “Essay on Criticism”; selections from The Spectator; David Hume’s Essays Moral, Political, and Literary; various essays by Coleridge, Hazlitt, and Virginia Wolf; David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster; and Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw.



Paper 1                                                          30%

Paper 2                                                          30%

Final Paper                                                     40%

RHE 330D • Rhet Inventd/Revised/Retold

44225 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 208
show description

In this course, we will examine how rhetoric has been theorized, taught, practiced and revisited. Throughout its history, different voices have shaped what rhetoric is and its function in a community. At times, these different understandings of rhetoric expanded and at others narrowed rhetorical territory. Moreover, social, political, intellectual, historical changes can facilitate and mandate a revision and a retelling of rhetoric.

In this course, we will revisit and critically engage the contribution of key figures exemplifying rhetoric in antiquity; medieval; renaissance; enlightenment periods. We will also explore modern times, needs and challenges, studying how the work of, for example, Kenneth Burke, Chaim Perelman, Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, Jacquline Royster and others impact our conception of rhetoric today.

Focusing on how rhetoric is revisited and retold, we will explore some influential revisions of rhetoric. These revisions continue to expand rhetoric’s territory beyond that conceived in antiquity. We will investigate revisions that uncovered women’s rhetorical contributions (Royster; Glenn); different rhetorical traditions; the intersections of culture, race, nation, etc. and rhetoric. For example, we will explore how scholars continue to shed light on the nuances of rhetoric especially when it intersects with facets of our experiential, relational and material lives including culture, ability, race, etc.


Assignments and Grading

Students’ performance will be assessed based on an achievement rubric detailed at the beginning of the semester.   

Major assignments will include:

-       Two researched, peer reviewed, and substantially revised research papers

-       Short assignments

-       Participation (class participation, oral report/leading class discussion/individual or group presentation)

-       Attendance (attendance policy detailed at the beginning of the semester)



Required Texts and Course Readings

  • A history of rhetoric book
  • A course reader including selections from Cheryl Glenn’ s Rhetoric Retold, Andrea Lunsford’s Reclaiming Rhetorica, Molly Wertheimer’s Listening to Their Voices, Carol Lipson and Roberta Binkley’s Ancient Non-Greek Rhetoric and Rhetoric Before and Beyond the Greeks.

RHE 330E • Film As Rhetoric

44235 • Ferreira-Buckley, Linda
Meets TTH 5:00PM-6:30PM PAR 208
show description

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


  • Dartmouth Writing Program, “Writing About Film,”
  • Movie Speeches.” American Rhetoric. <>
  • Internet Movie Database (IMDb),
  • Yale, “Film Analysis Website 2.0,”

RHE 330E • Rhetoric And Nature

44241 • Russell, Matthew
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 104
show description

“Nature” is a human idea with a long and complicated history. Far from standing apart from humanity, the landscapes and creatures we label as “natural” are deeply entangled with the words, images, and ideas we use to describe them. While animals, rocks, and trees are real enough—rain forests, mountains, beaches, and oceans are also cultural icons that deeply influence how we view them and how we use them. “Nature” turns out to be not as natural as it might first seem. People understand nature in different ways, which is one reason why efforts to protect the environment so often fail.

You will make an oral presentation based on a digital storytelling, multimedia project you create in class and write three short essays that examine how language, images, and ideas about nature have had real consequences ranging from the creation and preservation of wilderness areas to contemporary ecotourism and the landscaping of city parks. Writing these essays will introduce you to the expectations of college-level writing and will teach you research skills.


Required Texts

  • The Little Penguin Handbook. Faigley.
  • The Social Conquest of Earth. Wilson. New York, Liveright, 2012. ISBN 0871403633.
  • Encounters with the Archdruid.  McPhee.  New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1980.  ISBN 0374514313.
  • Handouts and online readings.


  • Short Essays Assignments: 40 %
  • Final Project and Presentation: 20%
  • Weekly Assignments (Discussion Forum postings, Quizzes): 40%

RHE 360M • Rhet/Writ For Teachers Of Eng

44245 • Henkel, Jacqueline
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 103
show description

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

show description

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 368C • Writing Center Internship

44260 • Ruszkiewicz, John
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PCL 2.340
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 368E • Grammar: Writ/Editors/Tchrs

44265 • Henkel, Jacqueline
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 208
show description

Students in Grammar for Writers, Editors, and Teachers will study the grammar or structure of written English; assess grammatical issues, handbooks, and controversies; and apply grammatical knowledge in composing, rewriting, and editing exercises.  They should expect to learn traditional grammatical vocabulary and also to critique it; to learn about different approaches and attitudes toward “correctness”; to look carefully at the structure of written English; and to edit effectively.

This course is meant for students who:

- want to become more conscious and confident about their own sentence-level editing choices.

- want to know which “rules” to follow and which not.  (If the New York Times can split infinitives, why can’t you?)

 -want to develop grammatical knowledge and conquer “grammar anxiety.” 

- will need to teach grammatical lessons but are unsure of their own knowledge.

(Note:  Students need not begin the course knowing grammatical terminology.)

Assignments and Grading

Minimum requirements are:  1) satisfactory performance both on unannounced and announced quizzes or problems; 2) satisfactory work on writing exercises (1 paragraph-1 page each); 3) satisfactory text analyses (1-2 pages each); 4) effective peer review and workshop participation in class; 5) discussion informed by familiarity with the required readings; and 6) regular attendance. Note that these are minimum requirements.

Grades are based on quizzes and problems (30%); writing exercises (30%); text analyses (10%); peer review, discussion, and workshop performance (30%).  Attendance and courteous classroom behavior are considered essential, and unsatisfactory marks in these areas are deducted from the final average.

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

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

Required Texts and Course Readings

Kolln, Martha J., and Loretta Gray.  Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects, 7th ed., 2012.

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

David Crystal, The Fight for English: How Language Pundits Ate, Shot, and Left, Oxford UP, 2008.