Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing

43530 • Leekeenan, Kira
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BEN 1.124
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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 Student Testing Services at (512)-232-2662 to petition for RHE 306 credit.

RHE 309K • Arguing The Digital Divide

43755 • Cowan, Jake
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM FAC 7
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As students, we research course descriptions and register for classes online. As social individuals, we send Tweets and Snapchats to connect with friends near and far. As contributors to a globalized economy, we apply for jobs using email and make purchases on Amazon. Yet within Austin, within America, and across the globe, diverse populations are still not included in this contemporary digital world. Over the past decade, the controversy over this disparity—commonly called the digital divide—has widened beyond its political and economic origins. Questions of a production gap between the vast majority of consumers and the few content owners have arisen, as have tensions about fair infrastructural access under the banner of net neutrality. With more people plugging in for the first time, digital literacy and the ability to interact as informed, critical subjects within this new media environment have become increasingly important rhetorical skills too often overlooked.

Within this course, students will closely exam these and other divisions online: Their root causes, broad implications, and differing responses. The class will work to construct a vocabulary and a conceptual framework through which we can discuss differing digital divides. Informative, critical and influential articles will introduce students to a variety of controversies within the larger topic, positions within those controversies, and stakeholders who hold those positions. To this end, we will follow the origins of the term digital divide through its historical development, beginning with geographical, economic, and political examples of technological inequality on both a micro and macro (local and global) level. With a basic background established, we will then trace the term as it has been used to describe consumerist dynamics on the Internet, gaps in how new media literacy is (not) taught, and demographic divisions that have developed within Web 2.0. Three longer essays will be augmented throughout the semester by short writing assignments and a creative multimedia project that will ask students to engage the problems of the general controversy firsthand.

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%
  • Research summaries (5): 25%
  • Social media assignment: 5%

Required texts and Course Readings

  • Rhetorical Analysis. Longaker & Walker. Pearson, 2010.
  • Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fourth Edition. Lunsford. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.
  • Various readings provided digitally, including articles by Straubhaar, boyd, McChesney, et. al.

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Fantastical Beasts

43750 • Cline, Nina
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 6
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What is it about animals that makes them such a compelling symbolic trope in fantastic narratives and public discourse? In 2001, celebrated author and cultural icon J.K. Rowling published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a fictional textbook used in the study of magical creatures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In 2016 Rowling made her screenwriting debut with a fantasy film of the same name that grossed approximately $814 million worldwide. Beginning with Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts, we will study the animals of fantasy narratives in the context of their cultural and political history to understand the popularity and success of these stories across the ages. Additionally, we will address problematic manifestations of the trope as a tactic to dehumanize women, people of color, queer folks, and those on the margins of mainstream society. In class, we’ll begin with a definition of “animal,” which we will complicate throughout the semester as we learn more about the tradition of the beast fable. Next, we will define “human” to explore how these stories have contributed to human exceptionalism, the idea that we are special among (or essentially different from) other living things. For example, we may compare how our relationship to animals changes from Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest’s Tale to the Disney film Zootopia.

As this course carries a Writing Flag, students should be prepared to write regularly and provide classmates with constructive feedback throughout the semester. In addition to major writing assignments, students will complete short blog posts and revise their writing based on feedback from the instructor and their peers. In this way, each student will refine their writing practice and improve writing skills according to their own strengths and preferences.  Together, we will explore fantastical beasts as vehicles for the discussion of the body, power, and public good. Under what circumstances is it empowering to be an animal, or be like an animal, and when is it an insult? What do fantastic beasts reveal about the way we view ourselves? For their final projects, students will write their own beast fable as a response to a contemporary controversy of their choosing.

Required Texts

  • Rewriting: How To Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris (Available as an eBook on the UT Libraries website)
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling. (The 2001 and 2017 editions are both fine)

Supplementary reading selections will be provided via Canvas as PDFs (viewings of films or clips will be made available to students as necessary).


Course Assignments

All major assignments will be submitted through Canvas, while shorter assignments and class reading annotation will be done on a course website. 


Unit 1: Coming to Terms with the “Beast”

  • Blog Post 1
  • Blog Post 2
  • Blog Post 3
  • Project 1 (+ Conference feedback)

Unit 2: Political Beasts – the Body, Power, and the Public Good

  • Blog Post 4
  • Blog Post 5
  • Project 2.1(+ Peer Review)  
  • Project 2.2 (Revision)

Unit 3—Writing the Beast: From Analysis to Authorship

  • Blog Post 6
  • Blog Post 7
  • Project 3.1 (+Conference Feedback)
  • Project 3.2 (Final Draft + Peer Review)
  • Project 4

I will use the Learning Record in this course. After each assignment, students will receive a detailed copy of the assignment rubric with substantive comments and/or suggestions for improvement. There will be 3 conferences throughout the semester with the instructor to discuss the student’s overall semester grade, the first two as “Progress Reports” and the last as a final grade meeting.

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Late Night Comedy

43695 • Scott, Maclain
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 104
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Before its current use in public discourse, the phrase “fake news” was used to describe The Daily Show with Jon Stewart—a late-night political satire TV show that featured a variety of comedians (such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, and Samantha Bee) who have since gone on to host similar shows of their own. By providing comedic takes on current events and political actors, these shows led to questions concerning the role and effects of satire in our society. While The Daily Show may have eventually outgrown (or shied away from) the “fake news” label, the tension between late-night comedy, political commentary, and the news continues to provoke passionate debate.

In this course, students will examine a variety of arguments about, for, and against late-night political comedy, including the (in)effectiveness of satire, political bias and/or responsibility, and the diversity (or lack thereof) of TV show hosts and writing staffs. Students will also learn about the various rhetorical strategies used within these shows, such as irony, imitation, hyperbole, metaphor, and self-deprecation, as well as the affordances and limitations of the multimodal format by which hosts address their audiences. Students will ultimately put forth their own arguments concerning the place, potential, and/or problem of late-night comedy in the contemporary political and cultural landscape.


  • Paper 1: Annotated Bibliography (10%)
  • Paper 2.1: Rhetorical Analysis (“A Closer Look”) (10%)
  • Paper 2.2: Revision (15%)
  • Paper 3.1: Argument (10%)
  • Paper 3.2: Revision (20%)
  • Paper 4: Video Presentation (10%)
  • 5 Short Writing Assignments (25%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory)
  • Participation (Required) 

Required Texts

  • Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, 7th edition (without readings)
  • Little Longhorn Handbook

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Ambiguity

43745 • Moura De Oliveira, Claudio
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM FAC 7
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Clear writing is usually defined as easily understandable, coherent and intelligible. But understanding  a message depends on interpretation, and there is no right way of interpreting. Or is there? What does it mean to comprehend? Is there something inherently factual to be unraveled in a message or must we, as receivers, come up with it? What challenges does misinterpretation force us to face? Is clarity always the best choice? Or is there a use for ambiguity?

In this course, we will examine what it means to be clear, when it is beneficial and when it might not be. We will read philosophical texts and discuss what are and what leads to (mis)understandings. Persuasion and argumentation will be thought in the paradigm of clarity/ambiguity and we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of adhering to each side into the writing process. Students will read and respond to a public apology made by a public figure of their choice, investigating the factors that lead to them; write short analyses, summaries, recaps, digested reads, and other forms of accounts of an understanding of a text. Students will also explore what strategies can afford clarity to a text and how to avoid confusion, as well as analyze and compare different interpretations of a same text. Ultimately, students will put forth either an encyclopedia entry or an instructional text (in any media) considering the mechanisms that lead to precision and simplicity in writing. The final goal will be to provide students with the tools to produce clear writing, understand the uses of ambiguity, and make students able to apply coherence and transparency to a text.


  • Paper 1: Open Letter (15%)
  • Paper 2.1: Analysis and Comparison (10%)
  • Paper 2.2: Revision (15%)
  • Paper 3.1: Encyclopedia Article / Instructional Text (10%)
  • Paper 3.2: Revision (15%)
  • In Class Presentation (10%)
  • Short Writing Assignments (25%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory)
  • Participation (Required)

Required texts:

  • Williams, Joseph M, and Joseph Bizup., Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 2017.
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014. 
  • Eco, Umberto,  Metaphor, Dictionary, and Encyclopedia (provided by the instructor)
  • Plato, The Apology of Socrates (provided by the instructor)
  • John Locke, "Of Words", from An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (provided by the instructor)
  • Additional readings as provided by the instructor

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Creativity

43705 • Holland, Cindy
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 7
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What IS creativity? Is it a character trait? Is it a process we engage in? Is it a mysterious muse that descends from on high? What are the implications of each of these ideas? Does it matter how we conceive of creativity? These questions will guide our study as we examine various popular and scientific theories of creativity and work to understand how these ideas might have influenced our thoughts about own creativity.


Over the semester we will explore methods of creative problem solving, including the Design Thinking model and divergent thinking activities. Students will keep a class journal to chronicle both their performance in each problem-scenario and their responses to the creative process. Then students will attempt to put these new and creative “ways of being” to use as they gather and track information (i.e. do research) about a creative person, event, act, or object of their choice. Thus, creativity will become both our subject matter and our approach to research. Students should expect to encounter moments of ambiguity and uncertainty in class every week, and should learn to recognize these as important aspects of both the writing (and the creative!) process.



Journal Entries and Collaborative Paragraphing (3-4 per week)

Rhetorical Analysis (4-7 pages)

Research Project (written or multimodal)




Students will receive instructor feedback on their written assignments, and then will evaluate their own writing and learning through a Learning Record. This means students will argue for a final grade and provide evidence to support their claim to that grade. The instructor will make the final decision of what grade to assign, honoring self-evaluations as much as possible.



Required Texts

They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.

The Storm of Creativity. Kyna Leski.


Additional readings provided via Canvas.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Soccer

43655 • Khoshnood, Alfredo
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 206
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“The ball turns, the world turns.”

-Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow

The globe’s most popular sport is a nexus for rhetoric: people argue about it, through it, and using it. In this course we will consider how soccer functions as a rhetorical entity. We will begin by considering the sport’s inextricable connection to the progression of globalization in the latter half of the twentieth century. We will then survery various genres of soccer related media in order to understand how the public discourse surrounding soccer reflects rhetorical trends and concepts. Through this consideration, we will come to understand how soccer functions as both an individual and collective athletic performance and as a complex cultural, political, and rhetorical spectacle. In addition to furthering our understanding of soccer’s role in global discourse, we will also develop skills in persuasive and analytic composition across various media formats.

Assignment Breakdown:

  • Moments in Soccer Timeline: 20%
  • Rhetorical Analysis First Draft: 15%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Revision: 20%
  • Soccer in the Shadows Debate: 35%
  • Viewing Journals: 5%
  • Participation: 5%

Note on participation: participation grades in this class will be determined by active engagement in class discussions and activities, and occasional reading quizzes.

Required texts:

  • They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd edition.
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook
  • Additional readings to be supplied on Canvas by instructor

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Apocalypse

43650 • Goodstein, Liza
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 9
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It’s the end of the world as we know it--do we feel fine? It may seem like doomsday talk is everywhere right now, but apocalyptic narratives have often accompanied moments of social upheaval. So how do we evolve from visions of nuclear apocalypse in the 1950s and 60s to environmental apocalypse in the 1990s and early 2000s? What kinds of apocalypses are we beginning to see imagined today?  And where does the zombie apocalypse fit in? In this course, we will examine how apocalyptic fictions emerge from their historical moments and create arguments for social change. We will begin by looking at the origin of the term “apocalypse” and its dual function as both destruction and revelation. We will see how apocalyptic narratives have come to occupy two distinct but overlapping spaces: real-world predictions and artistic depictions. From there, we will engage with both types of apocalyptic narrative across a variety of different media, analyzing how speakers use rhetorical strategies in order to create apocalyptic scenarios that critique elements of their society and argue for change. Finally, we will use what we have learned about apocalyptic rhetoric to invent our own arguments around these themes.


This class uses the Learning Record portfolio system, an open evaluative model that uses observation, conferences, and student-compiled portfolios to measure student development across five dimensions of learning. In addition to completing the assignments below, students will submit a midterm and final portfolio to be evaluated by the instructor.


  • Project 1: Annotated Bibliography
    • Draft (+ Peer Review)                                                                                    
    • Revision                         
  • Project 2: Rhetorical Analysis Paper
    • Draft (+ Peer Review)                                                               
    • Revision                                                 
  • Project 3: Final Project
    • Draft (+ Peer Review)                   
    • Revision
  • Short writing assignments and blog posts


Required Texts

  • Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How To Do Things with Texts. Utah State University Press, 2006.
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.
  • All other readings will be provided by instructor on the course website.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Dinosaur

43710 • Hall, Kirsten
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM JES A215A
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The last of the dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago. Yet, these vanished, forgotten creatures somehow still persist in our imaginations as the ultimate case of obsolescence. Is our obsession with obsolete things caused by nostalgia? Or are they a reminder of our own mortality? Perhaps it’s that the process of extinction or the reality of falling of fashion, even if it is something as small as replacing our old phones with a newer model or taking our trash to the curb, strikes to the heart of life’s basic cycle of birth, death, and resurrection. This course will examine the phenomenon of “going the way of the dinosaur,” exploring what it means for things, ideas, people, and places to become obsolete. Junk and castoffs has taken a central place in the modern world and in the modern imagination. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, we have lived in an increasingly disposable world. Songs like Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” and shows like Pawn Stars and Antiques Road Show suggest that this state of affairs fascinates us—even approaching to religious reverence as Austin’s “Cathedral of Junk” attests. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. But the fad for “KonMari” philosophies of minimalism and decluttering as well as our culture’s increasing consciousness about landfills and recycling suggests we have reason to fear.

This class will explore how authors and texts draw attention to and find meaning in forgotten, obsolete things. We will begin the semester by constructing a definition of obsolescence, learning more generally about how to understand a complex idea and apprehend its shape, dimensions and limits. Students will then turn their attention to the world around them, analyzing how what we discard and what we reuse tells us about our own shifting values and desires. Finally, in an argumentative paper and digital project, students will consider how the treasures of today become the fossils of tomorrow.      


  • 1.1 Definitional Paper (10%)
  • 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis (10%)
  • 2.2 Rhetorical Analysis Revision (15%)
  • 3.1 Argumentative Essay (15%)
  • 3.2 Argumentative Essay Revision (15%)
  • 4.1 Digital Archive (10%)
  • Oral Presentations (5%)
  • Short Papers (10%)
  • Participation (10%)
  • Peer Reviews (Mandatory) 

Required Textbooks and Handbooks

  • Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Gospels

43690 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 101
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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 Travel

43735 • Rubin, Jessica
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 9
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Taking on the identity a traveler changes the way we see everything, including ourselves and the places most familiar to us. In this course, writers will develop skills and dispositions as observers, researchers, and writers, skills that will support the creation of insightful and meaningful writing about journeys of any distance. When we travel, we do more than go somewhere new; and when we write of our travels, we do more than tell what happened. As people who travel and people who write, we must think carefully about the purposes and potential of both. 

Sharing tales of travel and adventure is a tradition that stretches back to the beginnings of storytelling, and many of the stories we consider essential to relating the human experience are about actual or symbolic journey across new lands. As a contemporary theme, writing about travel encompasses many ways of composing texts about places and experiences, from guidebooks and reviews to poetry and photographs. In this course, we will examine how some writers have employed different styles and forms of writing about travel, and we will produce two well-researched original pieces of travel writing: a local travel article and a full-length travel essay. In addition, we will use academic analytical writing to explore the conventions of several genres and variations in style across texts that we read together, and texts that each writer chooses as stylistic exemplars.


Major assignments:

  • Local Travel Article (including draft, peer review, process reflection) 15%
  • Rhetorical Analysis of a Mentor Text (draft, peer review, revision) 15%
  • Annotated Bibliography (draft, peer review, revision) 15%
  • Long-form Travel Essay (draft, instructor conference, revision) 20%
  • Final Reflection Paper 10%
  • Supporting assignments (class work and homework) 15%
  • Writer’s notebook and class participation 10% 


  • Graff, G., & Birkenstein, C. (2014). “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • The Brief Penguin Handbook. Faigley, 2014/2011. 
  • Additional readings as provided by the instructor

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Witchcraft

43665 • Butler, Tia
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 303
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Witchcraft, witches, and magic are components of the supernatural which have become a part of contemporary culture and are represented throughout Western history and popular culture. Accusations of sorcery and witchcraft, moreover, have also historically been employed to rob others of power. Witchcraft and magic are implicated in social, economic, and political histories, and are heavily tied into gender construction and the history of women, along with questions of race and religion in other social minorities. In this course, we will investigate the rhetoric surrounding the Witch Hysteria of the early 15th and 16th centuries to understand how this early form of prejudice against those who are different can still be traced to rhetoric used today to either demonize those considered to be heretical or social minorities, or simply as rhetoric used to delegitimize political probes, as in the case of the Mueller probe or other conservative and reactionary causes.


Grading/ Assessment –

  • Short Writing Assignments-20%
  • Participation-10%
  • 1.1 Archival Assignment-10%
  • 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis Paper-10%
  • 2.2 RA Revision-15%
  • 3.1 Proposal Paper-15%
  • 3.2 Proposal Revision-20%
  • Peer Review-Invaluable

Required Texts

  • Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World, Jodie Nicotra
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook, 2nd Edition
  • I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, Maryse Conde
  • Other materials will be available on Canvas

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Wrestling

43715 • Hooker, Tristin
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 9
show description

Professional wrestling isn’t just about bodyslams. It’s about narrative, audience, feedback, and persuasion: all the things that make up Rhetoric. In this course, we will begin by analyzing how those strategies play out in the small scale (within the ring and also in televised/digitally shared promos), and extend through the entire constructed wrestling world. We will examine how what happens in the ring bleeds into public personas outside of the ring, especially on social media. We will look at aspects of performance, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and cultural representation, as they appear within the wrestling world. We will also examine rhetorical strategies and how both fans and wrestling companies have seized on the growth of social media to interact with and/or direct their fanbase (and the way the fans have used those same strategies to talk back). Ultimately, the course will also help students produce texts that solidify the critical ideas we are looking at. We will also look at the way the language and tropes of wrestling have crept into broader public discourse, from journalism to politics.

In this class, we will watch a lot of footage, read some critical texts and some tweets. We will learn important terminology and principles from classical rhetoric and apply them to what we see. We will learn to recognize major tropes and subgenres within wrestling, but also to recognize rhetorical choices made in performing and producing sports entertainment. We will get into the rhetorical ring, ourselves, creating personas and commentary and defending the rhetorical moves we make. We will consider the audience’s role in production and persuasion, and evaluate the relationship between rhetorical performance, suspension of disbelief, and reality.


List of Assignments:

Major Writing Assignments: 45%

  • Project One: Rhetorical analysis of a wrestler or storyline. (15%)
  • Project Two: Rhetorical analysis of culture in wrestling (15%)
  • Project Three: Researched argument on a rhetorical strategy in wrestling (15%)
  • Project Four:  Build a rhetorical wrestler (20%) 

6 Blog Posts 10%

2 Course Dictionary Entries (minimum) 5%

3 Project Drafts and Peer Review 15%

Participation 5%


Required Texts

  • Jodie Nicotra, Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook, Norton

Additional Readings

Additional texts will be assigned during the course, and either the text/materials themselves or guidelines for searching will be distributed electronically.

RHE 309S • Crit Read And Persuasive Writ

43759 • Garner, James
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM PAR 206
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 study a discourse that is inherently related both to the rhetorical tradition and modern politics: tolerance. Tolerance has been a major part of political discussions at least since the 16th century, and it persists as a buzzword in the media. We describe people who hold certain attitudes as being tolerant or intolerant. Stories of intolerance on college campuses flood the 24-hour news cycle. Tolerance becomes tricky as we try to define the limits of what we’re willing to tolerate. But as we’ll find in this class, tolerance as a philosophical, political, and—most importantly for our purposes—rhetorical stance is a lot more complicated than popular media presents it. These tensions make tolerance a robust and important discourse worth studying. 

This 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. You’ll complete assignments analyzing rhetoric (why are particular arguments persuasive to some audiences and not others, for instance?), as well as write persuasive arguments geared toward specific audiences. We’ll complete a number of peer reviews and workshops to help you grow as writers and thinkers. This course isn't for the faint of heart—we’ll occasionally discuss controversial topics in this class, but always in the service of intellectual growth. If you're a hard worker, you like to share your thoughts, and you're interested in what rhetoric and politics have to do with one another, then this is the class for you.


  • Paper 1.1 – 5%
  • Paper 1.2 – 10%
  • Paper 2 – 10%
  • Paper 2.1 – 15%
  • Paper 3 – 25%
  • Short Assignments – 20%
  • Even Shorter Assignments – 15%


  • Mark G. Longaker and Jeffrey Walker. Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers. Pearson, 2010.
  • EasyWriter with 2016 MLA Update by Andrea A. Lunsford

Other readings will be provided to you by your instructor online and in PDF form.

RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Nsds

43760 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM PAR 101
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 312 • Writing In Digtl Environments

43761 • Riddick, Sarah
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 104
show description

Fake news, bot accounts, trolls, secret sales of personal data, targeted political ads and disiniformation campaigns—the stakes for writing in digital environments have never felt higher. Yet, despite its dangers, digital writing is an undeniably incredible mode of persuasion. Today, it is easier than ever to create and distribute compelling content to the world, and this ease empowers far more people than those who tend to already have it.

From whistleblowers to social media influencers, Buzzfeed “Tasty” videos to Reddit threads—we will analyze a variety of venues and rhetors that illustrate the opportunities and pitfalls for digital writing. Meanwhile, you will research a topic of your choice and its online appearance across these venues. Finally, in a series of in-class workshops, you will learn to create different types of digital writings (e.g., visual, auditory); this work will culminate in a final multimodal project that is aimed to persuade audience members for your topic in an online venue of your choice. You don’t need arrive to this class with prior technical or rhetorical knowledge about writing in digital environments, but you will certainly leave with some. In addition, revision will be an integral and celebrated part of this course.


Required Texts:

  • Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical.
  • Additional readings will be supplied by instructor.


  • Essay 1 (including peer review and revision): Rhetorical Analysis of a Digital Text
  • Essay 2 (including peer review and revision): Case Study of a Digital Venue
  • Final Project: Multimodal Digital Writing Project
  • Short Assignments: Topic Proposal, Reading Responses, Discussion Board Posts, In-Class Multimodal Workshops


Although students will regularly receive detailed feedback on their coursework, they will not receive traditional letter grades for these assignments. Instead, assessment will be based around the Learning Record portfolio system. In addition to completing the course assignments, students will submit a midterm and final portfolio that demonstrates growth across six dimensions of learning: confidence and independence; skills and strategies; knowledge and understanding; use of prior and emerging experience; reflection; and originality, creativity, and imagination.

RHE 315 • Intro To Visual Rhetoric

43762 • Goad, Rhiannon
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM FAC 9
show description

Handsome Squidward. Pussyhats. MAGA hats. Mona Lisa. Kim Kardashian Breaks the Internet. Glossier pink. Obama HOPE poster. Visual artifacts shape who we are, what we stand for, and how we do things. That is to say, images persuade. But how? In this course, students consider the rhetorical dimension of our visual culture and refine their writing skills. With expository writing assignments, students expand their vocabularies for disseminating visual culture. In analytic essays, students adopt a series of interdisciplinary frameworks to evaluate visual artifacts. Through in-class workshops, students learn the basics of designing infographics, editing videos, building websites, and manipulating photos. For a capstone project, students pull from all three skills (expository, analytical, and digital) to create a multimedia essay. 

Grade Breakdown

  • Analytic essays: 30%
  • Capstone project: 30%
  • Expository writing exercises: 25%
  • In-class workshops: 15%


  • They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing 3rd Edition by Cathy Birkenstein and‎ Gerald Graff
  • Visual Rhetoric: A Reader in Communication and American Culture  by Lester C. Olson,‎ Cara A. Finnegan, and‎ Diane S. Hope

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

43770 • Charney, Davida
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 7
show description

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

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

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

(1) Write an effective rhetorical analysis.

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

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

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

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

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

43765 • Smith, Daniel
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 103
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

43775 • Longaker, Mark
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 206
show description

The first thing many people notice about your writing is its style. Do you break any grammar rules? Are your sentences easy to read? Can you occasionally turn a phrase? Your style says a lot about you. It earns your reader’s trust. It keeps your audience interested. It emphasizes your main ideas. In many ways, therefore, your style is the substance of your writing.

In this class, we will practice writing in various styles, paying close attention to correctness, clarity, and elegance. Writing non-fiction, such as reviews and essays, you will craft your style to suit your audience, your genre, and your situation. You will also copy-edit prose, your own and your classmates’. Finally, you will revise your writing with stylistic goals in mind.


The following assignments will improve your writing style and will determine your final grade:


  • 10 homework assignments, completed in groups: 5%
  • Quizzes on grammar, editing, and stylistic figuration: 25%
  • 2 presentations on grammar rules and stylistic figuration: 10%
  • 2 copy-edits of another student’s writing: 20%
  • 2 non-fiction narrative essays: 40%

Breakdown of the grade for each non-fiction essay: Each non-fiction narrative essay is worth 20% of the final grade. That 20% is broken up into 3 discrete segments, each making up a percentage of your final grade: (1) a proposal describing and exemplifying the genre you will write: 5% of the final grade; (2) a complete and polished first submission of the essay: 5% of the final grade; (3) a proposal that explains how the essay will be revised in light of comments received from your instructor and fellow students: 5% of the final grade; (4) a second submission that demonstrates changes in line with your revision proposal: 5% of the final grade.

RHE 328 • Apocalyptic Tech Writing

43779 • Graham, Samuel
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 104
show description

Did you know that technical writers will be our first line of defense in the apocalypse? It’s true! No matter the science fiction dystopia you imagine, effective communication of technical information, emerging hazards, and where to find safety will be a critical aspect of emergency response. Whether it's a zombie virus outbreak, robot uprising, or environmental collapse, emergency messaging in the form of informational fliers, advisory websites, and social media campaigns will be an essential part of saving lives.

Subsequently, the Fall 2018 edition of RHE 328 is devoted to preparing aspiring technical writers for their important role in the coming apocalypse. Students in this class will explore core concepts in technical writing, especially as relates to best practices in risk communication. Specific course units will focus on: 1) genre and media studies in technical writing, 2) information design and usability, 3) organizational issues for technical writers, and 4) socio-cultural concerns around emerging science and technology. Using these concepts and theoretical approaches as a guide, students will practice emergency communication in a variety of genres while responding to a range of apocalyptic scenarios drawn from contemporary media.

Although this course will include assignments involving writing for digital environments and video production, no prior experience with specific technologies is required.    


Course Requirements and Grades

This course has six major assignments:

  • Mythos presentation: Students will extract and distill technical details from a chosen apocalypse mythos, e.g. zombie movie, dystopic novel, or apocalyptic video game. Students will then deliver an in-class presentation describing the relevant technical details of the apocalypse causing contagion, technology, and/or hazard.  (10%)
  • Hazard flier: Using the technical details extracted for the mythos presentation, students will develop a flier for public distribution that notifies appropriate target audiences about the emerging threat. (10%)
  • Informational Website: Students will write and design an informational website about the emerging hazard. Website designs will coordinate with the organizational branding of a relevant government agency, e.g. Center for Disease Control, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, etc. (20%)
  • Emergency Communication Plan: Students will prepare an emergency communication plan specific to their chosen apocalypse mythos. The plan will include tactics and strategies for broad dissemination to audiences stratified across demographics, sample messages, and clear metrics for evaluating success. (20%)
  • Survival Video: Students will develop and usability test a how-to video on a chosen classroom-appropriate apocalypse survival skill. (20%)
  • Socio-Technical Analysis: Students will write an essay that 1) explores the socio-technical issues raised by their chosen apocalypse mythos and 2) reflects on the ramifications for technical writers. (20%)

Required Texts

  • Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
  • A packet of readings provided on Canvas

RHE 328 • Magazine Writing/Publishing

43780 • 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 • Writing For Digital Media

43777 • Smith, Daniel
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 9
show description

This course will focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of digital writing through shared readingsdiscussions, and practically-oriented assignments of digital composition. Theoretically, we will expand our understanding of how and why writing in digital milieus is decidedly different than doing so in more traditional media, attending to the ways digital writing involves distinctive technical and social dimensions. Practically, we will exercise our rhetorical intelligence to develop ways of assessing and effectively responding to the constraints and affordances of rhetorical situations in digital spaces.

Note: While no prior experience with digital media is needed, a willingness to learn is required. Toward that end, the course will be organized as an ongoing project-based workshop (especially in the second half of the semester) and will require substantial work on the students’ parts to research and develop material to be used for their digital compositions. In addition to readings and discussions, several of our class meetings will provide opportunities for learning about and hands-on practice with digital composing tools. Please be advised that such work requires regular attendance, diligent preparation, and active participation.

Course Texts

  • Brian Carroll, Writing and Editing for Digital Media (Routledge, 2014)
  • Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (New Riders, 2014)
  • Kinneret Yifrah, Microcopy: The Complete Guide (Nemala, 2017)


Course Requirements

  • Short Assignments & in-class Writing Exercises-50%
  • Final Project Proposal-20%
  • Final Project-30%                                                     

RHE 330C • Mobile Environments

43782 • Sackey, Donnie
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 104
show description

Mobile computing devices have become ubiquitous in our communities. From cooking to navigation, their presence has improved the quality of our daily lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of adults own a smartphone, and that number increases to about 80% when we consider 18-35 year olds. At a rate of 69% per year, we’re spending more time on our phones that ever before. Such a trend emphasizes the need to consider how we design mobile environments, especially as they interface with physical environments. This course focuses on principles of user experience (UX) design. Specifically, it focuses on the creation of low-fidelity mobile application solutions, which are designed to help users explore and create meaningful and personally relevant experiences within their environments. While this is not a graphic design, programming, or human-computer interaction course, we will cover techniques from those disciplines to guide our work. Our goal will be to engage with design as a rhetorical form that can transform how users understand and communicate in their environments.

No prior design experience is required. This will be a project-based workshop that emphasizes project management and collaboration. 

Texts and Materials

  • Students will be asked to subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for the duration of the class (The Campus Computer Store sells $75.00 yearly subscriptions).
  • Jessie James Garrett, The Elements of User Experience ISBN: 978-0321683687
  • Don Norman, Living with Complexity ISBN: 978-0262528948
  • Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression ISBN: 9781479837243 

  • Additional texts will be made available on our Canvas course site.

Assignments and Grading

  • Reading Responses - 10%

Multiple written responses to required readings posted to our course site (300-500 words posted in Canvas). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion.

  • What is user experience design? - 25%

This project will help students to become more acquainted with the field of UX by researching the skills, experience, background, and education of UX designers and organizations and institutions that employ people in user experience..

  • Augmenting Reality - 25%

In this individual project, students will blend ethnography, psychogeography, and low-fidelity prototyping, in order to design a hypothetical interface that facilitates a new experience within an identified space (e.g. Austin, a park, campus, etc.) 

  • Designing for Social Change - 25%

This team project places students in a scenario where they are asked to design a mobile solution that can help disrupt social injustice. 

  • Participation - 15%

In addition to course projects and response, students will be evaluated on completion of daily activities and participation in discussion.

RHE 330C • Rhet And Data Visualization

43785 • Charney, Davida
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 7
show description

Decisions on public policy, business deals, and problems in your personal and social life all depend on numerical evidence. In today's political climate, quantitative data claims from experts are under fire and sometimes even rejected out of hand. Such challenges are not new. As Mark Twain said, "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics." Of course all forms of evidence are open for interpretion and challenge. But quantitative data may be the most persuasive evidence due to methods that are are open for inspection, correction, and debate every step of the way. 

The first part of this class will build up the concepts and rhetorical strategies that underlie quantitative data.  You will learn to interpret and evaluate the way data is presented across media, including words; static images, graphs and tables; and dynamic online presentations including interactive and animated displays.

In the biggest part of the class, you will practice producing and presenting data in valid and persuasive ways. In a series of assignments across the term, you will collect, code, analyze, interpret, and present data. The data-collection projects will involve your own attitudes and activities concerning writing in college, such as finding and reading sources, writing papers, and consulting with peers in the University Writing Center. You will work in a small group on one set of data to apply analytic techniques such as descriptive and inferential statistics and to design graphic representations of the data.  The cap for the semester will be giving a presentation of your findings that includes graphics and visuals.

By taking this course, you will improve your ability to judge the data you see in other courses and in public and social media and to use data responsibly and effectively in your own work.



  • Robert Abelson, Statistics as Principled Argument, Taylor and Francis, 1995.
  • Joanna Wolfe, Data Visualization, in press.



Quantitative Grade (50%)

  • 5% Collect observational data by completing activity logs and surveys
  • 5% Code nominal data from UWC consultation transcripts, activity logs, or open-ended survey questions
  • 10% Interpret, critique and user-test graphical data
  • 15% Analyze dataset with descriptive and inferential statistics
  • 15% Design PowerPoint (or equivalent) visuals and graphics, including tables and figures

Writing Grade (35%)

  • 15% Activity journal and report
  • 15% Observational process report
  • 5% Group Oral Presentation


  • 15% Peer review, discussion board posts, quizzes

RHE 330C • Writing With Sound

43790 • Boyle, Casey
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 9
show description

This course will examine recording, editing, and distribution of sound as a form of writing. In a contemporary world where writing is mostly digital, we often overlook the presence of sound—music that accompanies video, voice published as podcasts, noise remixed into an ambient art form. In order to understand the rhetorical effects of sound compositions, this course will read and discuss important works in the field of sound studies and offer an introduction to using open source digital audio editing tools for writing with sound.

Note: This course will be organized as a project-based workshop (especially in the second half of the semester). In addition to readings and discussions, several of our class meetings will be opportunities for hands-on practice with digital audio tools that will involve your classmates and the instructor. Please be advised that such work demands regular attendance and requires active participation.

Texts and Materials



Reading Responses (20%)

8 written responses to required readings posted to our course site (300-500 words posted in Canvas). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion. In the first week, I will provide a more detailed assignment sheet for how to organize the responses.

Soundscape Analysis (15%)

Students will script and compose a 4-5 minute analysis that examines and reenacts the various sonic dimensions of a chosen location.

Sonic Remediation (25%)

This assignment asks students to select a print-based writing–a short essay or article from/related to our course readings–to remediate into a sound essay.

Podcast Series (40%)

This final assignment will include a short proposal, three podcast episodes, and a brief prospectus that outlines a digital distribution plan. Of your three podcasts, one will include a site recording, one an interview, and one studio recording.

RHE 330D • Philosophy Vs Rhetoric

43804 • Smith, Daniel
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM 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 330D • Rhet Inventd/Revised/Retold

43800 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 103
show description

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

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

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


Assignments and Grading

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

Major assignments will include:

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

-       Short assignments

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

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

Required Texts and Course Readings

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

RHE 330D • Rhetoric And Hitler

43795 • Roberts-Miller, Patricia
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 208
show description

DESCRIPTION: This course will consider three aspects of Adolf Hitler and rhetoric: first, what were Hitler's rhetorical strategies in various situations, how those strategies fit with dominant cultural rhetorical practices, how the example of Hitler functions in arguments about deliberation and politics. There will be three major researched papers (80% of the final grade), nearly daily writing assignments (10%), and at least one exam (10%).

The first part of the course will look at the rhetorical strategies and cultural background of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, looking especially at the rhetorics of eugenics and antisemitism in early 20th century Euro-American culture. The second part of the course will examine Hitler’s rhetorical strategies once he was in power, especially the speeches of 1933-34, his deliberations with his generals, and the speeches about and supporting him. The third part of the course will invite students to consider how the “reductio ad Hitlerium” functions in community deliberations, and how it relates to other similar rhetorical moves (such as the “argument from Galileo”). Overall, the goal of the course is to use Hitler (and arguments about Hitler) to pursue questions about what we mean when we talk about “effective” rhetoric. 


  • 3 Major Research Papers: 80%
  • Daily Writing Assignments: 10%
  • Exam: 10%

RHE 330E • Comparative Rhetoric

43810 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 304
show description

What does culture have to do with rhetoric? This question taps into a crucial force that impacts rhetorical practices and scholarship, and this intersection of rhetoric and culture has attracted the attention of scholars especially since second half of the 21st century, resulting in the development of comparative rhetoric. In this course we will study the conception, development and practice of rhetoric in different and mainly non-Western cultural traditions. For example, we will survey research on rhetorical traditions like ancient Indian, Egyptian, and Rhodian, demonstrating how they predate, relate to and differ from those in Greece and Rome. We will also discuss the objectives, achievement, and potential of research in comparative rhetoric as well as challenges posed by this kind of research. 

Course Requirements, Assignment and Grade Distribution

Class Activities and Discussions (20%)

- Participating in and/or leading class discussion

- Peer review workshops

- Oral report/presentation of research

- Short Assignments


Short Papers (20%)

- Writing five short response/reflection papers to further explore and engage topics and questions addressed in class.


Two Research Papers (30% each)

- Further explore and reflect on issues raised by the course drawing on outside research.  Both papers will involve producing multiple drafts.

More detailed instructions, expectations and grading criterion will be provided at the beginning of the semester, and might be modified based on students’ performance.



Attendance policy will be detailed at the beginning of the semester.


Potential Texts

- Selections from George Kennedy’s Comparative rhetoric (1998)

- Selections from Carol Lipson and Roberta Binkley’s two edited collections titled Rhetoric before and beyond the Greeks (2004)and Ancient Non-Greek Rhetorics (2009)

- Packet of readings

RHE 330E • Nonargumntatv Rhet In Zen

43806 • Piekarski, Krzysztof
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 104
show description

“Don’t go searching for the Truth. Just let go of your opinion.” ~ Hsin Shin Ming

American rhetoric is strongly grounded in argument and persuasion, and infused with judgments of good and bad, right and wrong. This is true not only for public discourse in the media, academic discourse in schools, and professional writing and speaking, it is also true in everyday conversation. We are constantly trying to convince someone of our judgments, or that something or someone is good or bad, right or wrong—a restaurant, a movie, a car, a teacher. Everything is evaluated and every conversation is full of assertions of value. But what if there were a different, equally “real” way to talk about the world and each other that didn’t create antagonistic relationships? What if we believed that each person is capable of waking up to the reality around her, and responding appropriately, without being converted to some position or belief? What kind of language would we use, and how would we use it?

Zen training begins by kicking the props out of our customary ways of understanding and talking. It subverts value distinctions, challenges our habitual ways of expressing ourselves, and denies the superiority of rationalist, linear logic. It does not do this merely to "deconstruct" language, or to tear down all meaning. It has a radical project of waking us up out of the trance we create for ourselves and others through our habitual uses of language. This class will explore how contradiction, negation, story, surprise, gesture, and silence are used in Zen training as resources for awakening to reality, rather than as assertions or arguments about it. The cryptic pronouncements of Zen masters seem impenetrable. They appear to defy our western rhetorical traditions that depend on logic and formal reasoning as the key to building knowledge. Zen teachers complicate the issue by insisting that language is only "the finger pointing at the moon, not the moon itself." If you have ever tried to write about a meaningful experience, you will recognize the problematic relationship between language and reality. This course engages students in exploring the surprising uses of language and image to create meaning in Zen tradition and practice. 

Students do not need any prior experience or knowledge of Zen rhetoric or Zen practices. The first part of the class will provide background on Zen concepts including ethical precepts and koans, then consider the emergence of the American Zen rhetorical tradition. This class is not an introduction to Zen practice, but rather an exploration of an alternative rhetoric, a different method of using language to construct meaning and shape relationships that help foster care and respect rather than antagonism and aggression.

Grading Policy: Grades in this course are determined on the basis of the Learning Record, which accompanies a portfolio of work presented at the midterm and at the end of the course. These portfolios present a selection of student work, both formal and informal, completed during the semester, ongoing observations about student learning, and analysis of student work and interpretations with respect to the student's development across five dimensions of learning: confidence and independence, knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, use of prior and emerging experience, and reflectiveness. This development centers around the major strands of work in the course: rhetoric and composition, research, technology, and collaboration. The criteria for grades are posted at the Learning Record web site. Please also notice the RHE policy on absences, which can affect your grade. Three unexcused absences will lower your final grade, four unexcused absences results in automatic failure of the course.


Joko Beck, Everyday Zen; Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger, Zen Radicals, Rebels, and Reformers; Norman Fischer and Susan moon, What is Zen?; Mu Soeng, Trust in Mind; Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind; John Tarrant, Bring be the Rhinoceros; Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality; Dale Wright, Philosophical Meditation on Zen Buddhism; 

RHE 330E • Rhetoric And The Law

43803 • Hill, Angela
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM FAC 9
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The image of Justice, represented as a blindfolded woman holding a scale and double-edged sword, is ubiquitous. How does this figure function rhetorically and what relation does it have to the actual creation and practice of law? We often hear about law doing justice, but how is justice done, seen, and understood? And what happens when we view law as neither blind nor balanced, especially in relation to social differences, such as gender, race, class, ability, and nationality? To address these questions, the course specifically examines the historical and enduring relationship between women, as gendered subjects (and objects), and law, as a man-made system. Drawing on court cases, social movements, awareness campaigns, film, and legal theory and history, we will analyze the multiple connections linking representations of justice, claims of democracy, and ongoing tensions within the law. In other words, throughout the semester, we will study legal rhetoric and practice as well as gender, race, class, ability, and nationality, in constituting the law and subjects before the law.

The course is also designed to enhance your reading and writing skills. Reading might appear to be a straightforward activity requiring no special training, but the analytical reading expected in academic contexts is a skill that must be learned and cultivated. Likewise, writing analytically is an advanced skill that requires instruction and exercise. These scholarly activities – close reading and analytical writing – are interconnected: to write well, students must be able to analyze the substance and structure of other people’s arguments. This course will develop and test skills in these two vital academic areas.

This course will expand students’ knowledge of law, rhetoric, and American history by:

  • Providing multiple theoretical approaches for thinking about the law
  • Probing the social foundations and effects of legal decision-making
  • Analyzing the nature, form, and content of American jurisprudence
  • Enhancing students’ understanding of diversity, differential treatment of social groups, and the response to subsequent social inequities by these groups
  • Exploring diversity through the multi-layered operation of power, prestige, and privilege
  • Developing students’ critical thinking, close reading, and analytical writing skills

Assignments and Grading

  • Two researched, peer reviewed, and substantially revised papers (60%)

  • Short writing assignments (20%)
  • Participation (15%)
  • Attendance (policy detailed at the beginning of the semester) (5%)


Required Texts and Course Readings

The course reader will include:

  • Selections from Martha Chamallas,Introduction to Feminist Legal Theory; Lawrence Friedman, Crime and Punishment in American History; Margot Canaday, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America;Amy Brandzel, Against Citizenship; and Isaac West, Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law
  • Articles/Chapters such as Austin Sarat and Thomas Kearns, “Introduction: Rhetoric of Law”; Marouf Hasian Jr. and Geoffrey Klinger, “Sarah Roberts and the Early History of the ‘Separate but Equal’ Doctrine: A Study in Rhetoric, Law, and Social Change”; James Boyd White, “Law as Rhetoric, Rhetoric as Law: The Arts of Cultural and Communal Life”; Gerald Wetlaufer, “Rhetoric and its Denial in Legal Discourse”; Robert Cover, “Violence and the Word”; Sharmila Rudrappa, “Madness, Diasporic Difference, and State Violence: Explaining Filicide in American Courts”; and Kimberle Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics”  

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.


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 367R • Conf Crs In Rhetoric/Writing

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Upper-division standing; one of the following: English 603A, Rhetoric and Writing 306, 306Q, or Tutorial Course 603A; and approval of written application by the supervising instructor.

Course Description

This is course does NOT meet the Writing Flag requirement.
Hours to be arranged.
May be repeated for credit.

RHE 368E • Grammar: Writ/Editors/Tchrs

43825 • Henkel, Jacqueline
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 304
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Students in Grammar for Writers, Editors, and Teachers will study the grammar or structure of written English; assess grammatical issues, handbooks, and controversies; and apply grammatical knowledge in composing, rewriting, and editing exercises.  They should expect to learn traditional grammatical vocabulary and also to critique it; to learn about different approaches and attitudes toward “correctness”; to look carefully at the structure of written English; and to edit effectively.

This course is meant for students who:

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

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

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

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

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

Assignments and Grading

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

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

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

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

Required Texts and Course Readings

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

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

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