Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing

43885 • Rodriguez, Gabriella
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM MEZ 1.208
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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 Female Pop Stars

44030 • Cirit, Dilara
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 304
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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 Internet Trolling

44025 • Breece, Matthew
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 9
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The answer to the question whether internet trolls are harmful to our shared online communities is almost always a resounding “yes.”  Yet the question of how to deal with trolls without undermining our own values of self-expression, community engagement, and democratic participation remains open to debate.  Disagreement abounds about whether or not we should restrict speech in comment sections, whether anonymity or real names policies create safer online spaces, and whether hacker organizations like WikiLeaks and Anonymous promote or threaten democracy. 

In this course, students will explore how trolling rhetoric poses problems for substantive engagement within specific online communities; analyze how this rhetoric functions within particular venues and disrupts productive discourse; and advocate for solutions to these problems within particular venues and online communities.  Throughout this course, students will engage critically with a variety of texts, research credible sources, write and revise thoughtful and well-organized college-level papers, and practice the conventions of academic prose.

Assignments and Grading

  • 7 Short Writing Assignments – 25%
  • Argument Map Paper 1.1 – 10%
  • Argument Map Paper 1.2 – 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper 2.1 – 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper 2.2 – 15%
  • Policy Argument Paper 3.1 – 15%
  • Policy Argument Paper 3.2 – 15%

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Graff and Birkenstein
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook, Bullock, Brody, and Weinberg
  • Additional readings available in Canvas.  These readings will introduce students to multiple viewpoints that address issues concerning limitations of speech on online forums, safety and anonymity, and the effects of hacking on democratic communities as well as rhetorical frameworks for analyzing online trolling in specific situations. 

RHE 309K • Rhet Of US Exceptionalism

44045 • Sheridan, Mark
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM FAC 7
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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

43996 • Vidor, Amy
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 104
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“Reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays.”

- Aldous Huxley, Brave 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 utopian Book 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

44050 • Roberts, Michael
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 208
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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 Of City Streets

44060 • Schrag, Nicole
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 6
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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 design not 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 Evil

44065 • Sharp, Zachary
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.210
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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

44003 • Davis, Carolyn
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 10
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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

43997 • Williamson, Thea
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM FAC 9
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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

44040 • Zacks, Aaron
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM 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 Rebellion

44010 • Garner, James
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 206
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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 Religion

44070 • Amijee, Fatema
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM GAR 0.120
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I.           Course Title and Instructor

RHE 309K: Rhetoric of Religion; Instructor: Fatema Amijee

II.         Course Description

Religion is a pillar of society. Not only does religion play an essential role in shaping our identities, it also defines many of our personal and political conflicts. It is as much a source of puzzlement as of meaning and purpose: is religion an opiate of the people? How can God give purpose and meaning to our lives? Is religious belief rational? How does a religion differ from a cult, nationality, or culture? Can a religion evolve? What role does the afterlife play in the appeal had by religion? In what ways do religious authorities appeal to their audiences? Religious rhetoric plays a central role in how we approach these questions, and so throughout this course we will endeavor to answer these questions from a rhetorician’s perspective. We will begin with a focus on the rhetoric of terminology with a emphasis on how labels affect religious public discourse, and then go on to discuss in depth the rhetoric of origin as it relates to origin stories, the rhetoric of obedience and trust and the rhetoric of prayer and the afterlife.  The course will not focus on any particular religion, but will rather engage in a study of the rhetoric of religion more generally (including the rhetoric of secularism). We will explore in detail the nature of the rhetoric of religion, its significance for the survival of religion and sustaining religious identity, and what it tells us about the nature of religion itself. For example, we’ll examine the tremendous shift in religious rhetoric that resulted when Western Christians began to depart from the teachings of the Church, and instead established the primacy of the text of the Bible. We’ll also look at the significance of the text-first approaches of Judaism and Sunni Islam, comparing them to messenger-focused approaches (such as that coming out of Shia Islam, Catholicism, and Orthodox Christianity).

III. Assessment


  • 1.1. Defining Religion Essay - 10%
  • 1.2. Defining Religion Essay Revised - 10%
  • 2.1. Compare/contrast Rhetorical Analysis - 10%
  • 2.2. Compare/contrast Rhetorical Analysis Revised - 10%
  • 3.1. Persuasive Essay - 10%
  • 3.2. Persuasive Essay Revised - 10%
  • Short Writing Assignments (6) – 5% each - 30%
  • Class Participation - 10%


IV. Course Texts

  • Everything's an Argument (Edition 6), by Andrea A. Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters
  • The Little Seagull Handbook by Richard Bullock and Francine Weinberg

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Gospels

44005 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 103
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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

44015 • Barta, Caroline
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 9
show description

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.



  • Rewriting: How 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 And Persuasive Writ

44075 • Longaker, Mark
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM FAC 7
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

44080 • Charney, Davida
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 7
show description


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

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

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

RHE 310 • Intermed Expository Writing

44083 • Charney, Davida
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 7
show description

In this intensive writing workshop, you will learn to recognize, evaluate, and produce stylish prose, the kind that is used in academics, journalism, and public forums. Many undergraduates start off with writing that is overly "loose," "vague," "wordy," "chatty," and "student-y." Others have writing that can only be described as "dense," "turgid," or "convoluted." In either case, you will learn how to create "tight," "concise," "pointed," and "confident" prose. 

The class will analyze and produce two types of short texts: vignettes describing daily life in a city or community and letters to the editor.  For both types of texts, you will analyze and evaluate many published examples before producing your own.  The class will select the best student-authored submissions to edit, refine, and revise and publish on a class blog.

Draft Vignettes: 25%

Draft Letters to Editor: 25%

Revising/Editing Blog Posts: 10%

Exercises: 25%

Quizzes: 15%

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

44090 • Davis, D
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 9
show description

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

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

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

(1) Write an effective rhetorical analysis.

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

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

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

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

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

44085 • Walker, Jeffrey
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 1
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

44095 • Ruszkiewicz, John
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 104
show description

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

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


Course Requirements

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

Grading Policy

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


John Trimble, Writing With Style / 3rd edition

RHE 328 • Magazine Writing/Publishing

44105 • Buckley, Tom
Meets W 5:00PM-8:00PM PAR 101
show description

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

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

No previous journalistic experience is necessary.


Course Requirements

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


Grading Policy

  • Three articles, with revisions: 25% each
  • Shorter exercises: 15%
  • Participation in second half of the course: 10%


Required Texts

  • Writer's Market 2010, Robert Lee Brewer (Editor)
  • Writing for Magazines: A Beginner's Guide, Cheryl Sloan Wray

RHE 328 • Screenwriting: Life Stories

44100 • Roberts, Evan
Meets W 6:00PM-9:00PM CLA 0.124
show description

This course is an introduction to ethnographic/documentary fieldwork and the screenwriting adaptation process. Students will conduct oral history interviews with an individual and adapt their life story into an 8 page short film script.

First, writing teams will conduct a series of interviews outside of class, learn the basics of how to get “good tape” and transcribe their recordings. Next, teams will use these transcripts as source material for fictional stories and workshop their scripts in class.

Students will engage in short interview projects to learn the craft of interviewing, as well as writing exercises where they use existing oral histories to practice adapting the essence of a real life experience into a three-act structure. Through in-class writing exercises and writing assignments students will explore the process of adaptation and find their “take” on the essence of a situation in one person’s life.

Students will explore the basic dramatic principles of story, character and structure as well as analyze the structure and mechanics of scripts and short films and present their findings in class.

Since much of the work of screenwriting is done before the actual drafting, this class will focus on the process of screenwriting: from the initial premise, to treatments and step-outlines, then writing the first draft.  

The craft of screenwriting is learned through the critical examination of other screenplays and films, ie:  we watch movies to learn how to write movies, read screenplays in order to write screenplays.  This workshop, then, will also hone your critical and editorial skills, and the application of those skills to your own writing.

The semester culminates with a pitch presentation, in which you and your writing partner reveal your collaborative creative process and bring us into the world of the film in a clear, concise, engaging visual presentation. The panel will consist of Deans, friends of the college, and local filmmakers. Each film project competes for the potential to get their film funded and produced by the College of Liberal Arts film production team and local filmmakers. Students will retain a writing credit on the finished short film.  

Grading and Assignments

  • Oral History Exercise: (5%)
  • Students will prepare 3 different fictional takes on a pre-existing oral history and create loglines, outlines and step-outlines for their stories.
  • Film Analyses: (5%)
  • Students will analyze 3 short films from their filmography for structure, story and character.
  • Script Analyses (5%)
  • Students will analyze 3 short film scripts for character development and visual writing.
  • Logline & Outlines (10%)
  • Students will pitch a 1 sentence logline and one-page outline for both script ideas.
  • First Drafts & Revisions (50%)
  • Students will write two (2) first drafts and revise as necessary.
  • Written Feedback (5%)
  • Students will give classmates written feedback (forms provided) for each script and revision.
  • Pitch Script & Visual Presentation: (10%)
  • Collaborators will prepare a verbal and visual presentation.
  • Participation at Presentation (10%)

Presentations focus on the collaborative process, the interview-subject relationship, as well as “selling” the world of the story to potential funders.


Making a Good Script Great- Linda Seger, The Screenwriters Workbook- Syd Field, The Art of Adaptation: Turning Fact And Fiction Into Film – Linda Seger, Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide – Mark Kramer, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up – Lee Gutkind, The New New Journalism – Robert Boynton, True Stories, Well Told – Susan Orlean, Lee Gutkind, The Journalist and the Murderer- Janet Malcolm

Web: The Lives Column in the NYTimes,

Films: Stories We Tell, Close Up, American Splendor, The Beaver Trilogy, Bernie, Wild

Podcasts: Scriptnotes (

RHE 328 • Writing For Entrepreneurs

44103 • Pogue, Gregory
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 1.102
show description

Unique ID:                        44103

Instructor:                         Dr. Gregory P. Pogue

Meets:                                11:00-12:30 PM TTH

Building and Room:          CLA 1.102

Have you every wanted to start your own business?

Does the potential to convert ideas into products and services – to make money and/or help others in need – excite you?

Have you ever wondered how your liberal arts education could be highly valued by companies?

If you have ever asked these questions, Entrepreneurial Writing: Lights, Camera, Action! Storyboarding for Entrepreneurs is the course for you!!!

Entrepreneurs turn the possible into practice; ideas into products; aspirations into reality. This is done through persuasion: they identify key problems and fit solutions that create innovative economic opportunities in the form of products, services and structures. Entrepreneurs must argue for value, not just in answering the question “What is it?”, but in addressing the question “What does it mean?”– the larger societal or broad market impact of the product. This class will provide tools to help entrepreneurs progress from the “What is it?” and “What does it mean?” questions to addressing the “What does it do?” discussion – how is specific value created in the marketplace. The progression requires engagement with market stakeholders in order to co-create value. To do this, students will engage with Austin startups, using the Entrepreneurial Storyboard, a persuasive, rhetorical tool for business partnership communication.

Students do not need an entrepreneurship background, nor do they need to have a winning idea. The focus of the class is not creating the next big innovation (although you might!) but on figuring out how successful entrepreneurs develop value-based arguments and how they successfully communicate these to the market to position innovative products and services for success. The class will use actual entrepreneurial ventures in Austin, TX as subjects for applying theory and developing persuasive, rhetorical arguments for value and business expansion. Students will have the opportunities to actively apply skills gained in liberal arts educational in the business world and identify new fit and value for themselves while working with nascent businesses.


  • Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customer by Geoffrey Moore (print, e-reader or .pdf)
  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Reis (print, e-reader, or .pdf)
  • Articles provided by instructor


  • Project One: Development and presentation of Storyboard for an existing product (10%)
  • Project Two: Comparing initial Storyboard (Project 1) with published literature on the subject and critically assess rational for product success (30%)
  • Project Three: Development of INITIAL Storyboard for an innovative, existing product – local Austin startup company (20%)
  • Project Four: Development and presentation of a FINAL Storyboard for local Austin startup company from Project Three (30%)
  • Class Participation: Individual: Based on attendance, preparation for class, peer review forms, and interaction in class discussions (10%)

RHE 328 • Writing For Nonprofits

44110 • Zacks, Aaron
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 6
show description

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

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

1) promote their mission; and

2) create opportunities for people to support it.


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

- Understand the rhetorical situation inherent to nonprofit work;

- Assess an organization’s needs;

- Think critically about an organization’s precepts and opportunities for engagement;

- Prioritizing the use of an organization’s resources;

- Construct innovative messages in support of cause;

- Use the internet and print sources to research and assess potential donors;

- Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to write a compelling grant proposal;

- Collaborate with like-minded, busy, students and professionals.

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

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



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


This course has five major projects:

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

RHE 330C • Digital Rhetorics Of Satire

44115 • Zacks, Aaron
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM 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 • Writing And Photography

44120 • Faigley, Lester
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 104
show description

This course aims to make you a better writer, a better photographer, and a better analyst of images. We will look at the issues which have preoccupied practitioners and theorists of this medium for the past century and a half, from the daguerreotypists of the 1830s and 40s through to new issues raised by today's digital photography. Expect to write short discussion-board essays in response to our readings and viewings, make a presentation about a photographer, write an essay about documentary photography, and complete an original documentary project. The documentary project will consist of 10-15 photographs and 1500-2000 words of explanatory text. The text and photographs should present an understandable, engaging, “picture” of the subject, but the writing and the photos should each stand on their own.

Assignments and Grading

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


Required Texts and Course Readings

  • The Little Penguin Handbook, Second edition, MLA update. Faigley. New York: Longman, 2009. ISBN 0205743390
  • The Book of Photography: The History, the Technique, the Art, the Future. Hoy. National Geographic, 2005. ISBN 978-0792236931
  • Handout essays and online readings and viewing

RHE 330D • Arguing With Liberals

44125 • Longaker, Mark
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 206
show description

What do Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton, and Marco Rubio have in common? They are all liberals. They may not all represent the Democratic party (which claims to represent political liberals in the present-day United States), but when they make arguments, they appeal to principles that have been associated with liberal political theory for over 300 years: Every person has an inalienable right to free expression; unrestricted commerce offers the surest path to individual prosperity and economic growth; political progress must increase the individual’s ability to freely pursue her own particular happiness; laws should keep people from imposing on one another’s rights and liberties. In this sense, “liberalism” is a classical set of values and principles that many--and often opposing--parties have adopted. In this class, we will explore the arguments about liberalism as well as the arguments that rely on liberal principles. Finally, we will discuss the particularly liberal forms of argumentation. We will do so by addressing three kinds of liberalism and a range of liberal thinkers/writers both contemporary and classical: (1) Utilitarian (e.g. John Stuart Mill, John Dewey); Principled (e.g. John Locke, Ayn Rand); Virtue-Ethicist (e.g. Deirdre McCloskey, Anthony Ashley Cooper Third Earl of Shaftesbury).

You will complete three major projects for the term: (1) Two opinion articles written in the style of contemporary online news media, each commenting on a recent controversy by applying the principles and the works (and by adopting the writing style) of one author whom we will study in class. Each of these articles will be posted on a class blog/news magazine that we will collectively maintain throughout the semester. (2) A series of posts relating specific passages and concepts from the class readings to recent political events. These posts will all belong to a common Twitter feed that will be embedded on the class blog. (3) A long (7-10 page) paper that articulates: one writer’s version of liberalism; how that version differs from other versions of liberalism, which we will study in class; what argumentative principles arise from this version of liberalism; and why this author would endorse a particular argument made recently in contemporary news media. You will submit the last assignment for instructor feedback, and you will revise to address these concerns and suggestions. You will get your peers’ feedback on your two opinion articles, and you will revise according to their suggestions. Finally, you will contribute daily discussion forum posts based on the readings assigned for each class.


Assignments and Grading:

  • Opinion articles for Class Blog: 25%
  • Twitter Posts: 20%
  • Long Paper (including revision): 35%
  • Daily Discussion-Forum Posts: 20%



  • John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty
  • John Dewey’s The Public and its Problems
  • John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration
  • Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness
  • Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Equality (selections)
  • Harriet Martineau’s A Manchester Strike
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury’s The Moralists

RHE 330D • History Of Public Argument

44130 • Roberts-Miller, Patricia
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 208
show description

If democracy is to function well, people have to argue well. But what does “argue well” mean? Does it mean getting one’s “target” audience to comply? Does it mean to follow certain rules of argument, and, if so, what rules? Does it mean to advocate good policies? Or is it possible to have a “good” argument for a bad policy? Who should be included in the argument and why? This course will explore several questions about the relationships among how public argument has functioned at various moments in Western culture, how theorists of rhetoric have said it should function, and how scholars have said we should teach it.

There will be five papers, a quiz, and frequent microthemes. 

RHE 330D • Philosophy Vs Rhetoric

44135 • Garver, Eugene
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 103
show description

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


Assignments and Grading

  • 10 Short Response Papers (250 words) - 25%
  • 1 Rhetorical Analysis Paper - 25%
  • 1 Research Paper and Brief Oral Summary - 30%
  • Preparedness, Participation, and Attendance - 20%


Required Texts and Course Readings

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

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

RHE 330E • Animal Rhetorics

44140 • Davis, D
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 9
show description

Traditionally, rhetoric has been defined as a specifically human art or science in which human beings use language to persuade one another to take up particular attitudes or behaviors. For Plato rhetoric was “the art of winning souls by discourse,” for Cicero it was “speech designed to persuade,” and for Quintilian it was “the good man speaking well.” For the so-called father of modern rhetorical studies, Kenneth Burke, rhetoric’s most basic function is “the use of words by human agents to form attitudes or to induce actions in other human agents” (Rhetoric 41). Rhetorical theorists traditionally presume that rhetorical ability, in fact, is the definitive distinction between human beings and all the other animals—Burke actually defines the human being as “the symbol using (and abusing) animal.”

In 1992, however, a respected translator of Aristotle, George A. Kennedy, scandalously proposed that rhetoric is not simply a human art but pre-verbal energy that is evident in all animal life. All animals engage in various sorts of rhetorical exchange, according to him, epideictic, deliberative, and forensic. Indeed, the conviction that there is a single, definitive capacity that distinguishes all human beings from all nonhuman animals—a capacity for language or reason or culture or tool-use or altruism or self-knowledge—has been systematically debunked by recent discoveries in a wide array of disciplines, including primatology, neurobiology, psychology, and anthropology. Certain animals, for example, pass the same mirror test used to determine self-recognition in human children; many more use tools, share distinct languages and complex social interactions, have a sense of past and future, pass knowledge from one generation to the next, and indicate varying propensities for laughter, grief, deception, empathy, and shame. We now know that human beings are not the only “rational animals,” in other words, nor are they the only symbol using animals. Many animals, we’ll see, are quite successful rhetors.

In this course we will study both animal rhetorics and rhetorics of “the animal.” We’ll engage recent animal studies research, where we’ll meet, for instance, apes who “write,” prairie dogs who use sophisticated grammatical patterns, elephants who mourn and bury their dead, dogs who “read” human gestures, magpies and dolphins and gorillas who recognize themselves in a mirror, rats who starve themselves to prevent a buddy from being harmed, and African Grey parrots who can count, discern shapes and colors, and use many English words. We will also study philosophers and rhetoricans who interrogate the fuzzy line between human beings and nonhuman animals, and the ways in which any understanding of “the human” is already dependent on a rhetoric of “the animal,” as if that descriptor covered every nonhuman entity, from a sea sponge to a great ape.



  • George Kennedy, “A Hoot in the Dark: The Evolution of a General Rhetoric”
  • Jeremy Rifkin, chapter three from The Empathic Civilization
  • Irene M. Pepperberg, selection from Alex and Me
  • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Roger Lewin, selection from Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind.
  • Con Slobodchikoff, selection from Learning the Language of Animals: Chasing Doctor Doolittle.
  • Nature Channel’s Documentary, Secret Life of Crows
  • Barbara J. King, selections from How Animals Grieve
  • Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, selections from The Genius of Dogs
  • Marc Beckoff and Pierce, selections from Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals.
  • Marc Beckoff, selections from The Emotional Lives of Animals.
  • Frans De Waal “Morally Evolved,” from Primates and Philosophers
  • Temple Grandin, selections from Animals Make Us Human.
  • JM Coetzee, The Lives of Animals
  • Cary Wolfe, “Flesh and Finitude: Thinking Animals in (Post)Humanist Philosophy.”
  • Karl Steel, “How to Make a Human”
  • Several videos

Assignments and Grading

  • Semi-weekly Reading Posts on class discussion board. Informal notes analyzing/exploring key issues in the readings + at least one thoughtful response to a classmate’s post. 10 x 2pts = 20%
  • Three Summary/Response papers. Formal, very rigidly defined one-page, single spaced, beautifully polished, and terribly insightful papers devoted to summarizing and responding to the assigned text. 3 x 10pts = 30%
  • One short digital (visual or aural) argument based on course texts.  20%

One final, 5-6 page researched paper devoted to some aspect of the course theme. 30%

RHE 330E • Film As Rhetoric

44145 • Ferreira-Buckley, Linda
Meets MW 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 103
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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 • Peacemaking Rhetoric

44150 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 103
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Very often we invoke peace as a desirable state of being and of the world. But, what is peace? What does it take to be peaceful? To what extent does our criticism of violence help us get closer to peace? What does peace have to do with rhetoric? We will use these questions to begin our explorations of the rhetoric of peacemaking. The discipline of rhetoric has an enduring investment in countering injustice and pursuing justice and peace.

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

As we reflect on the rhetoric of peacemaking, we will read scholarship on the rhetoric of nonviolence, reconciliation, and (human) rights. We will also read/read about illustrative speeches, texts, and rhetorical practices that critique injustice and advocate for justice and peace.


Major Assignments and Grading

Two researched and substantially revised papers: 60% (30% each)

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

Participation & Short Writing Assignments: class participation/leading class discussions, responses to freewriting prompts, and/or short writing assignments: 20%

Portfolio: comprises a revised research paper and another short writing 10%


Required Texts

A packet of readings,which will include:

  • Chapters/Articles written like Erik Doxtader’s “Reconciliation—A Rhetorical Conception” or With Faith in the Works of Words: The Beginnings of Reconciliation in South Africa 1985-1995; Ellen Gorsevski’s Peaceful Persuasion: The Geopolitics of Nonviolent Communication; John P. Lederach’s The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace; and James J. Kimble “John F. Kennedy, the Construction of Peace, and the Pitfalls of Androgynous Rhetoric.”
  • Speeches/Texts written by politicians like John F. Kennedy’s “The Strategy of Peace,” national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi’s speech on the eve of the last fast and Martin L. King’s “I have a Dream”, and recognized activists like Rigoberta Menchú’s I, Rigoberta Menchú

RHE 360M • Rhet/Writ For Teachers Of Eng

44155 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM PAR 101
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Designed for students planning a career teaching English, this course will introduce you to scholarship in composition that informs the teaching of writing today. Theories will be examined in terms of their assumptions about the nature of language and learning. Among the topics we'll discuss are the writing process; the rhetorical situation; the relationship between language and identity; the place of grammar and usage; curriculum for basic and developmental writers; collaborative learning; and creating and evaluating assignments.

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

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

RHE 366 • Internship In Rhetoric & Writ

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This course provides an academic foundation and practical support for upper-division students working in DRW-approved internships.It is designed to help students 1) recognize how rhetoric is applied in the workplace environments, and 2) apply their training and skills in rhetoric and writing professionally.To meet these objectives, students will participate in a variety of activities: assigned readings, class discussions (in class and online), journal reflections on their workplace experience, university-sponsored workshops about job searching and workplace protocol, and in-class workshops and peer critique sessions designed to further develop their writing skills.Students will produce 20 pages of writing (which may include Discussion Board assignments and journal entries at an instructor’s discretion) by the end of the semester. Because the amount of on-the-job writing students do will vary per internship, students will consult with the instructor at the beginning of the semester to determine the types of writing they will produce.This course is offered on a pass/fail basis. It does not count toward the rhetoric major.It may be repeated once for credit when the internships vary.Prerequisites

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

44170 • Ruszkiewicz, John
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PCL 2.340
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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