Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing


RHE 306: Rhetoric and Writing

This course is grounded in the rhetorical analysis of "controversies," broadly defined. It is divided into four units, each one requiring some sort of outside research. The first two units are devoted to rhetorical analysis; they are mostly descriptive and allow students to become familiar with what is being said and how. The third and fourth units are devoted to advocacy; having become familiar with the controversy, students now take a position within it and produce an informed argument for that position.

Unit 1:
Analyzing a Rhetorical Situation

In this unit, students learn the basics of rhetorical analysis. This analysis involves understanding the rhetorical situation, including the communicators, messages, audiences, exigences, and purposes. The major assignment for this unit involves examining a set of texts dealing with a controversy, applying a rhetorical analysis.

Unit 2:
Rhetorically Analyzing Arguments

In this unit, students will analyze a specific position within their chosen controversy. After summarizing what the writer says, noting the central claims and key evidence, students will analyze how the argument is put together as well as why the writer has made specific rhetorical choices. Students may also discover and describe significant disagreements among others who advocate this same position. The major assignment for this unit requires analysis and description, not evaluation or argumentation.

Unit 3:
Proposing a Course of Action

In this unit, students situate themselves within the controversy that they have constructed and produce an argument that advocates a particular position using the persuasive strategies analyzed and studied throughout the semester.

Unit 4:
Developing a Multimedia Argument

In this final unit, students expand upon their Project 3 proposal by turning it into a multimedia project. They learn how to take their previous argument and re-present it in a different medium, reaching different audiences.