Department of English

CAROLINE B BARTA


M.A., Boston College

Contact

Interests


bibliography and textual studies; history of the cookbook

Courses


RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Satire

44060 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 7

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

Surely that number has grown dramatically in the past eight years. With viewership comes legitimacy, and whether or not the satirist wants to be taken seriously ceases to a matter under his or her control. Unevenness of audience expectations produces a complex rhetorical situation, especially in response to the most serious of world events, most recently Hurricane Sandy and the Sand Hook tragedy. On other, bizarre occasions, we have seen satire misread as earnest argument, such as this past December, when a Chinese news outlet reported that The Onion had named North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jung-un the “Sexiest Man Alive in 2012.”

When utilized effectively, satire speaks truth to power through the indirect strategy of irony—saying the opposite of what one means—and can, perhaps, encourage useful public debate. It is also entertaining and, when done well, tremendously funny. This is the central irony of satirical rhetoric that we will dwell on in this course.


What role does satire play in our culture? How are satirists utilizing new media and technology to infiltrate spaces usually reserved for earnest argument? Can satirical argument produce measurable change in the world like other rhetorical modes, such as political speech and news broadcasts? What role do we, as engaged citizens, expect satire to play in our lives? How does satire meet or challenge those expectations? And what on Earth does it mean that a portion of our country believes Jon Stewart is more reliable a reporter than Wolf Blitzer? And, for starters, what is satire, anyway?

We will engage these and many other questions over the course of the semester through studying satirical arguments about various subjects (music, sports, politics, etc.) in a wide variety of genres (television, internet, poetry, video games, radio, etc.). Students will apply concepts of rhetorical analysis in our discussions of these texts and learn to move deftly between different media. We will study some classic rhetorical texts, such as Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal (1729) and Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary (1906), but, because satire is, above all, topical, most of the course content will be contemporary.

As with all rhetorical study, the underlying aim of this course is to hone our sensitivity to the arguments surrounding us, making us more careful interpreters of our society and cultures. This course is writing-intensive and revision-intensive; students will produce and revise approximately 30 pages of original writing over the course of the semester. This course also requires active participation in class discussions and one or more presentations. In the final weeks of the semester, students will produce a piece of satire, in the genre of their choice, accompanied by an essay describing their use of rhetorical strategies.


1 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27439-2004Aug23.html

Assignments and Grading

 

  • Research Summaries                           10%
  • Annotated Bibliography                      10%
  • Essay 1.1 (Rhetorical Analysis)          10%
  • Essay 1.2 (Revision)                           15%
  • Essay 2.1 (Persuasive Essay)             10%
  • Essay 2.2 (Revision)                           15%
  • Final Project and Essay                      15%
  • In-Class Writing                                 5%
  • Homework                                          10%
  • Peer Review                                        Mandatory

 

 


Required Texts
Course Packet (available the first week of the semester from Speedway Copy in the Dobie Mall)
Gray, Jonathan, Jeffrey P. Jones, and Ethan Thompson. Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era (2009)
Scharton, Maurice and Janice Neuleib. Things Your Grammar Never Told You: A Pocket Handbook (2nd Edition, 2001)


Sample Satirical Texts

  • Bierce, Ambrose. The Devil’s Dictionary (1906)
  • Colbert, Stephen, et al. The Colbert Report (2005-)
  • Judge, Mike. Office Space (1999)
  • Kafka, Franz. “A Hunger Artist” (1924)
  • Melville, Herman. “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” (1853)
  • Onion, The (1988-)
  • Stewart, Jon, et al. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999-)
  • Swift, Jonathan. A Modest Proposal (1729)
  • Tomorrow, Tom. This Modern World (1988-)
  • Travesty, Texas (1997-)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Iphone

44115 • Spring 2017
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 9

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.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS:

  • 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. 

ASSIGNMENT SEQUENCE AND GRADING:

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 309K • Rhetoric Of The Iphone

44015 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 9

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.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS:

  • 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. 

ASSIGNMENT SEQUENCE AND GRADING:

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 S306 • Rhetoric And Writing

85440 • Summer 2016
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM MEZ 2.118

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.

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