Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing-Wb

42185 • Rutledge, Thais
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
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An introductory writing course that includes instruction in practical reasoning and the principles of rhetoric.

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing-Wb

42155 • Sahinler, Ipek
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
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Multiple meeting times and sections. Please consult the Course Schedule for unique numbers.

This does NOT meet the Writing Flag requirement.

This composition course provides instruction in the gathering and evaluation of information and its presentation in well-organized expository prose. Students ordinarily write and revise four papers. The course includes instruction in invention, arrangement, logic, style, revision, and strategies of research.

Course centered around the First-Year Forum (FYF) selected readings. Students focus on the foundational knowledge and skills needed for college writing. In addition, they are introduced to basic rhetoric terms and learn to rhetorically analyze positions within controversies surrounding the FYF readings.

RHE 306 is required of all UT students. Contact the Measurement and Evaluation Center, 2616 Wichita (471-3032) to petition for RHE 306 credit.

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing-Wb

42125 • Lin, Boya
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
show description

Multiple meeting times and sections. Please consult the Course Schedule for unique numbers.

This does NOT meet the Writing Flag requirement.

This composition course provides instruction in the gathering and evaluation of information and its presentation in well-organized expository prose. Students ordinarily write and revise four papers. The course includes instruction in invention, arrangement, logic, style, revision, and strategies of research.

Course centered around the First-Year Forum (FYF) selected readings. Students focus on the foundational knowledge and skills needed for college writing. In addition, they are introduced to basic rhetoric terms and learn to rhetorically analyze positions within controversies surrounding the FYF readings.

RHE 306 is required of all UT students. Contact the Measurement and Evaluation Center, 2616 Wichita (471-3032) to petition for RHE 306 credit.

RHE 309K • Rhe Of Environmental Action-Wb

42285 • Ferris, Ian
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
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Environmental issues are all around us. Quite literally, we are environed (ie surrounded) by issues of climate change, air and water pollution, energy transition, commercial agriculture—the list goes on. One of the incredibly valuable ways that we might begin engaging with these issues is to research what experts in various fields are saying and how. At the same time, we can turn our attention not only outward to our surroundings and the voices of others, but also toward our own positions within and connections to such issues in the environments that we inhabit. This movement between exploring our environments, voices in conversation around key issues, and our own current and potential roles within those issues provides an entryway into a fundamental concept in this course: how to attune to and act as writers in increasingly fraught environments.

Being a rhetoric course, our focus is first and foremost to use environmental action as a lens through which we can study and develop our rhetorical capacities—our abilities to both strategically decode and design arguments and other forms of persuasion. But conversely, we will also use rhetoric as a series of lenses to better understand and cultivate our capacities for environmental action. Each member of the class will have the opportunity to develop a research profile on a locally-pressing environmental issue of their choice, conduct primary research through fieldwork to more deeply immerse themselves in the issue as a researcher and writer, and then compose and publish a digital argument on their chosen issue meant to move a real audience toward a form of environmental action. Questions that we will ask along the way will include: What are the historical and local contexts of these global issues? Who are the stakeholders that play a part in and are affected by them? How are others taking up environmental causes through their writing, and what can we learn from them? How does researching and writing about these issues transform our own connections to our environments? And how can we as writers meaningfully engage with local environmental issues? This course will challenge us to take our writing practice beyond the classroom, looking to our local environments not only through secondary research but through primary research that locates us literally and figuratively “in the field.”


  • Major (50%): Environmental Issue Profile (15%), Field Report (15%), Digital Argument (20%)
  • Minor (50%): Short Rhetorical Analyses (10%), Progressive Annotated Bibliography (10%), Writers’ Profiles, Conferences, and Peer Reviews (10%), Reading Responses (10%) Fieldwork Practice (5%), Digital Argument Prospectus (5%)

Required Texts

  • Required Textbook: Becoming Rhetorical – Jodie Nicotra
  • Handbook (Free, Online): UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center Resources

RHE 309K • Rhe Of Internet Influencers-Wb

42295 • Schuster, Sarah
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM • Internet
show description
The 2010s were an age of influence--and influencers. In the past several years, social media has positioned itself to be an unexpected goldmine for users with (seemingly) enviable lifestyles, making them overnight entreprenuneurs. Besides the pleasure that Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and other social media users derive from watching influencers lead lavish lives, the rise of influencing and influencer marketing has caused some to question the ways in which we present ourselves online. Stories of influencers have also come to meld with stories of scams, leading authors, culture critics, and readers question: What does it mean to be an “influencer”? What does it mean to influence, and what does it mean to sell—or scam? What does it mean to “brand” oneself on social media? How does one reproduce oneself as a brand? What does it mean to present one’s life as authentic online, while also engaging in “sponcon,” or sponsored content? What is the line, in other words, between real and fake (or not-real)? What happens when we each reproduce such modes of living and surveilling our friends, family, and community on social media, and how have all of these melded figures made us reevaluate digital media?

This course will ask students to consider the way influencing and “confidence games” have permeated American culture and discourse since before digital media. We will explore and consider ways in which social media has shifted our conception of what is public and what is private, what is disclosure and what is surveillance. We will consider issues of image-making, and the unsteady ground on which building an image can coincide with building a façade. We will explore critical questions around the ways in which stories of influencing, influencers, and confidence men have changed in relation to their historical context, and the anxieties and tensions that these stories oblate, reify, and negotiate. We will analyze how conning, class, and social status have played out in the realm of the social media “influencer,” and we will consider the many-valenced term “influence” as it relates to both “legitimate” and “illegitimate” forms of influencing, self help, and social media marketing. What role does the truth play in these scenarios, and what does it mean to be selling the fantasy of your own life? Is influencing someone the same as scamming them? What does it mean to sell a lifestyle, and what’s the difference between self-help --and helping one’s self?

Required Textbooks

Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World. Cengage, 2018.
The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.
Grading & Assessment

Blog Posts – 10%
Short Writing Assignments -- 25% (5% each)
Short Paper & Presentation 20% (paper 15%, presentation 5%)
Rhetorical Analysis 20%
Final Project 25%

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Action Films-Wb

42232 • Ptacek, Jacob
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From the iconic (“I’ll be back…”) to the ironic (“Go ahead—I don’t shop here, anyways!”), action films have shaped—for good and bad—the discourse of American culture for the past fifty years.   And while often critically reviled, action films and franchises are one of the most profitable sectors of Hollywood’s film industry, both at home and abroad.  But action films are more than just light entertainment.  They engage in political and cultural arguments from all sides of the spectrum, from the treatment of returning veterans (First Blood) to governmental surveillance of civilians (The Dark Knight) to U.S. domestic and foreign policy (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).  They map shifting responses to, among others, urban fears (the Dirty Harry and Death Wish series), war and terrorism (the Rambo films, various Batmen), feminism (Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel) and race (Black Panther).  They often, quite literally, infiltrate contemporary political discourse: Reagan praising Rambo, Schwarzenegger as “the Gubernator,” Obama as a “socialist” Joker, the “Deplorables”.  And of course, lots of things explode.

This course takes for granted, then, that action films are worthy of serious study; and our purpose will be to analyze the arguments that they make, both narratively and visually, through rhetorical strategies.  Because rhetoric depends on understanding speech as situated in a particular socio-historical context, our class will look not just at the films themselves, but also the historical moments from which they emerge, and how critics and others responded to them at the time.  As this is a course in rhetoric, and not in film, students need have no familiarity with traditional models of film analysis (camera angles, shot composition, mise-en-scene, suture theory), but rather an interest in what action films say: How do they respond to an historical event?  What kinds of arguments do they make, and for whom?  Is an argument the words the actors say, or the images the director presents, or some combination of the two? How do these films engage with political, social, scientific, and cultural ideas?  How do their arguments change over time?  How can we evaluate those arguments, and why should we? 

Required Texts:

  • Everything’s an Argument by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz
  • Additional short pieces may be assigned through Blackboard (film reviews, critical articles, etc.)


Five short writing assignments (one-page, single-spaced; the lowest grade will be dropped): 15%

  • Paper 1.1: 5%
  • Paper 1.2: 10%
  • Bibliography Assignment: 10%
  • Paper 2.1: 10%
  • Paper 2.2: 15%
  • Paper 3.1: 10%
  • Paper 3.2: 15%
  • Oral Presentation: 10%

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Beauty-Wb

42234 • Allan, Samantha
Meets TTH 3:30PM-4:30PM • Internet
show description

“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.” - Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Many people begin thinking about their relationship to beauty at a startlingly young age. From magazines, to billboards, to the hyper-aestheticized annals of Instagram, the beauty industry dazzles and accosts us, conditioning the way we see, value, and interact with each other and with ourselves. At times, the criteria for determining what it means to be beautiful can feel so absolute—in part, because it is so pervasive—that we forget the role we play in building, challenging, and reshaping that criteria to address the term’s abuses. Negotiating the rhetoric of beauty can mean fighting injustice in the work place, raising our expectations for interpersonal relationships, and divorcing ourselves from the idea that how we look determines what we’re worth. It can also open new pathways for creativity and fulfillment.

This course will explore the way our society constructs, upholds, resists, and markets beauty standards. In particular, it will focus on the complicated role of beauty in feminist discourse. Questions of interest might include: how does the pursuit of beauty empower and inspire us, and in what ways does it exert unwelcome pressure upon our lives? Does the beauty industry succeed in creating inclusive community spaces, and what happens when the rhetoric of self-care becomes commodified into a skin-care routine? In what ways might beauty assist in gendering our experiences with age, youth, and the passing of time? How are definitions of beauty conditioned by racism, classism, and gender essentialism, and what is being done to challenge these definitions? What should be?


  • Participation (10%)
  • Journal Entries – 3 (15%)
  • Short Papers (20%) including:
    • Short analysis 1 (10%)
    • Short analysis 2 (10%)
  • Annotated Bibliography (15%)
  • 4-6 Page Rhetorical Analysis (20%)
  • Final Project (20%)


Required Text:

  • Glenn, Cheryl. The New Harbrace Guide: Genres for Composing. Cengage Learning, 2018. 
  • All other materials will be provided on Canvas by the instructor.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Disasters-Wb

42270 • Nelson, Lauren
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM • Internet
show description

Warming temperatures, acidified oceans, hurricanes, tsunamis, nuclearization, the end of the world:
what makes a disaster a disaster? In this course, we will analyze various types of media to
understand how disaster is depicted rhetorically and to what extent this rhetoric interacts with class,
race, geography, and scale. Is there a difference between ‘man-made’ and ‘natural’ disasters? How are
disasters represented in news media, books, television, and film? How might understanding the
qualities of disaster as well and their rhetorical depiction in popular culture influence how we
respond to them? How are disasters differently constituted when different communities are involved?
How does that affect our past, present and future? We will explore how disaster is a foundational part of
contemporary media’s rhetoric and how disaster rhetoric is central to understanding both our
increasingly globalized world and the rapidly changing climate.

Students will be required to purchase the following textbook: Mark Longaker and Jeffrey Walker,
Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers, 2011 (Pearson, 1st edition). The remainder of thematic
readings will be available for download from the class’s secure Canvas site. In addition, students will be
required to screen a handful of films and documentaries as part of the course ‘readings.’

Writing assignments:
Weekly Canvas discussion posts, one 4-page rhetorical analysis on a shared text, one 4-page rhetorical
analysis on a disaster-related text of your choice, and a final independent research paper that either
proposes a solution to a disaster scenario of your choice or evaluates how solutions-based rhetoric
impacts how a specific disaster of your choice is represented, understood, or felt (either by nearby
communities or on a larger scale).

Method of assessment:
This course will use contract grading for assessment. At the start of the course, students will be provided
with a detailed checklist of requirements that outlines how to receive a full passing and ‘default’ grade,
which I will set at a “B.” Students will be provided with detailed instructions as to how to exceed the
‘default’ “B” and earn an “A.” This means that earning an “A” will primarily be related to the rigor and
length of each students’ major assignments. For example, the prompts for each of the major unit
assignments will contain additional requirements that the student must complete in order for their
assignment to be counted as ‘above and beyond work.’ I will build two tiers into each major assignment
prompt and students will decide whether they want to undertake the challenge of writing towards the
higher tier. A higher tier would potentially entail a combination of (1) longer word count (2) additional
research or alternative research (3) mixed-genre or multi-modal component (4) more rigorous
critical/theoretical analysis (5) a comparative component (i.e. a comparative rhetorical analysis of two

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Hamilton-Wb

42235 • Akcamete, Aycan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
show description

The 2015 rap musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda Hamilton: An American Musical has immediately become a major hit and a success. Receiving mainly positive criticism for its non-white casting and mesh of hip hop, R&B, soul styles, this hip-hop story on one of the founding fathers creates many notions and ideas pertinent to American identity. In this class, we will explore the topics of nation-building, immigration, and the U.S. exceptionalism as constructed by the musical and extend it to the outside resources to expand our understanding, definitions, as well as controversies surrounding these three topics. The main questions we will answer are: How does Hamilton make arguments about American nation, immigration, and the U.S. exceptionalism? What stories and narratives does the musical construct with regards to American identity, and what arguments are implied in these stories? How is the historical narrative of Hamilton extend to today’s America in 2020? We will also discuss how or whether Hamilton invents, reinvents or fails to invent stories, myths and narratives surrounding American life and identity.

In this class, students will develop analytic skills, critical thinking skills, and research skills through these discussions, together with the rhetorical skills of argumentation and analysis. They will be asked to write weekly posts, provide weekly feedback to their peers, and compose short and long writing assignments to learn more about American identity. Finally, they will have the option to create a persuasive paper or make a creative project about American identity in Hamilton, where they will use the argumentation/rhetorical skills they have developed.

Course Reading List:

  1. Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz
  2. Access to Hamilton songs on Spotify or any other platform.
  3. The remainder of readings will be available for download from the class’s secure Canvas site. 


Major Assignments                             

  • Writing a Narrative
  • Rhetorical Analysis
  • Proposal Argument

 Participation Assignments

  • Canvas Discussion Board Posts (weekly posts + peer review)
  • Short Writing Assignments
  • Creative Project
  • Peer review for Project 3
  • Any in-class assignment that requires a Canvas Discussion Board post during/after class.


  • In this course, I will make use of Labor Contract Grading. In this system of grading, students will sign up for a contract to get a certain grade, for which the expectations and criteria for each assignment and for participation assignments will be provided by the instructor. In other words, if students meet the contract for the assignments and for the class, they will get the grade. The more work they put, the higher grade they can get.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Horror-Wb

42240 • Aman, Jane
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM • Internet
show description

For over a century, American audiences have been captivated by the terrifying, horrifying, and taboo in film. This class will investigate what makes the horror genre such a mainstay in American film. It will also ask in what ways horror films respond to cultural events and anxieties. What kinds of rhetorical tools and appeals do horror films use to shape or respond to public discourse? How and why do horror movies craft their arguments about American life and culture? For instance, how does Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) shape its commentary on the insidiousness of white liberalism? How are film makers like John Carpenter responding to and creating arguments about the excesses of 80’s culture in cornerstone slasher films like Halloween (1978)? Why did/do these arguments continue to resonate with audiences today? In addition to placing horror films in their historical and cultural context, we will analyze horror film rhetoric through a variety of lenses, such as issues of race, gender, and disability. Students will learn to respond to horror films through rhetorical analysis and film criticism. Ultimately, we will seek to answer the question: what makes the horror genre truly horrifying?

The course will be split into four distinct units focusing on the History of Horror, Gender and Horror, Race and Horror, and Body Horror. In each unit, students will be asked to watch and respond to at least three classic horror films. Each unit will be punctuated with either a short or longform writing assignment. Students will learn to think critically and independently and conduct thoughtful, responsible research using a variety of databases, web resources, and topic-specific resources. Additionally, students will be asked to think of film as rhetorical, place film in context, respond to and analyze rhetorical maneuvers in film, compose lengthy, college-level papers and/or multimodal assignments that convey original arguments and analysis, revise ideas and compositions in response to constructive feedback from the instructor and peers, correctly document use of research materials using MLA citation, and present ideas effectively and convincingly in front of peers. An important note: Due to the content of the films we will be analyzing, this course will address a number of potentially triggering topics.

Assesment Breakdown

  • Movie Review- 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis 2.1- 5%
  • Rhetorical Analysis 2.2- 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis 3.1- 5%
  • Rhetorical Analysis 3.2- 10%
  • Final Project- 25%
  • Peer Review- 10%
  • Weekly Discussion Posts- 15% 
  • Participation- 10%


  • Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World by Jodie Nicotra
  • The remainder of readings will be available for download from the class’s secure Canvas site, through the UT Library, or on a variety of movie streaming services.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Illness-Wb

42245 • Winnega, Brie
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
show description

In the midst of the recent Covid-19 outbreak this spring, one reporter from The Guardian asks, “Now [that] the WHO has declared Covid-19 a pandemic, what will it mean for the way the outbreak is treated and prepared for?” (Davey 2020). Another reporter writing for The New Yorker argues that President Trump’s March 11 speech about the “foreign virus” carried an exceptionally nationalistic tone, exemplifying his inadequate response to the disease (Glasser 2020). As many of these news reports indicate, our rhetoric often has important effects on the way our society responds to public health emergencies. In the case of a pandemic, rhetoric can impact the means through which whole governments initiate policy changes. At the individual level, it can impact how we advocate for a loved one who is sick, how we give instructions about care needs, and how we tell our own stories.

This course will explore some of the ways people talk about illness. Students will be asked to discuss and unpack the meaning and significance of words such as “cure,” “diagnosis,” “disease,” and “immunity.” As a class, we will engage with a variety of genres ranging from personal narratives, to healthcare pamphlets, to news reports and social media – all with an eye toward what type of rhetoric is deployed and what it is intended to accomplish.

Since this is a research-based and writing-intensive course, students will be asked to identify and research over the duration of the semester a topic of interest related to rhetoric of illness. They will draft and revise numerous writing assignments related to their topic, critically analyzing how rhetoric is deployed in their choice of cultural artifacts related to the course theme. Finally, they will use what they have learned to invent their own arguments around cultural constructions of illness.

Required Texts

  • Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument. 2012.
  • Style Guide from UNC Writing Center: [available online]

  • Other course content available via Canvas.


  • Participation (10%)
  • Paper 1 Literature Review (15%)
  • Paper 2.1 Rhetorical Analysis (10%)
    • Paper 2.2 Revision (15%)
  • Paper 3.1 Analytical Essay (15%)
    • Project 3.2 Revision (25%)

Minor Writing Assignments (10%)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Protest Music-Wb

42290 • Schaeffner, Kevin
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM • Internet
show description

Music is often celebrated as a “universal language”: as a positive force that breaks down barriers and
brings people together. You might find it difficult to disagree with this romantic sentiment at first
glance. But when an artist like Public Enemy calls upon their audience to “fight the power”, it’s
doubtful that this message lands in a universal way. Some may be moved by this song: feeling
energized and encouraged to resist injustice. Others may feel alienated by its intense energy. Some
may even feel as though they are the enemy of Public Enemy: or feel like they are the power that the
rap group aims to bring the fight to. Audience divisions -- and music’s lack of universal appeal -- is
perhaps never more salient than in protest music. Music that challenges societal injustices (like police
brutality, public figures, or war) rarely tries to romantically connect all people. In fact, it often serves
to emphasize the disconnection amongst different groups, disrupt the status quo, and upend
sociopolitical inequities.

In this course, students will focus on music that protests. Students will analyze how social issues are
presented and argued about through music with a special focus on how protest music is composed
for particular listeners in certain circumstances. They will learn to listen to these musical arguments
strategically and ethically to understand the political positions that different musicians take on social
issues. They will also learn to listen to the surrounding contexts and conversations that the music
reflects on and disrupts. In reaching these understandings through research and analysis, students will
form their own argument concerning the ways that protest music is/isn’t persuasive and empowering
to different audiences and in varying contexts. They will be listening to music that is deliberately ununiversal in the language that it uses and the messages it promotes: attending to music’s ability to do
more than bring us together by attending to music’s ability to bring the noise.

Assessment Breakdown
Project 1: Annotated Bibliography -- 15%
Project 2.1: Rhetorical Analysis -- 10%
Project 2.2: Rhetorical Analysis Revision -- 15%
Project 3: Argumentative Paper -- 15%
Project 4: Argument Podcast Remediation -- 15%
Short Writing Assignments -- 20 %
Participation -- 10%

Course Reading List

Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World. Cengage Learning, 2018. (required purchase)
Online writing handbook: UNC-Chapel Hill

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Public Thinkers-Wb

42280 • Walker, Kiara
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
show description

In early 2019, Foreign Policy released their 10th annual list of 100 global thinkers offering a “spotlight on the most influential people in the world—for better or worse.” The list, a statement on those who “had a profound impact on the planet in the last 12 months,” included politicians (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and John McCain), activists (The Women of the #MeToo Movement and The Parkland Students), artists and entertainers (Donald Glover and Lena Waithe), academics (Mary Claire-King and Douglas Irwin), readers’ choice (Michelle Obama and Jordan Peterson) and an animal (Koko the Gorilla). While the role of the public thinker has often been described as in decline during the twenty-first century, such a list—its existence and range—speaks to the mainstream presence and fixation on this role.

This course will take a closer look at the rhetoric of and surrounding public thinkers with the aim of understanding how the title of public thinker is constructed rhetorically and what makes public thinkers persuasive for an intended audience. In doing so, we will work together to approach significant questions about public thinkers through a rhetorical lens, such as: What is a public thinker? How does one become designated as such? What role and function do these thinkers serve in society? How do public thinkers respond to and reflect society? How has the role of public thinkers changed over time, especially in response to changes in media? How do we understand, define, and approach contemporary public thinkers? Throughout the course, students will focus on chosen contemporary public thinker(s) in order to explore how public thinkers have been conceived of across time, analyze how audiences respond to and uptake persuasion from public thinkers, and present a position on the state of contemporary public thinkers.

Assessment Breakdown:

  • Short Writing Assignments: 20%
  • Definition Paper: 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis: 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Revision: 15%
  • Proposal: 5%
  • Final Project and Reflection Essay: 20%
  • Final Presentation: 5%
  • Peer Review(s): 5%
  • Participation: 10%

Required Texts:

Everything’s an Argument. Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, Bedford/St. Martin’s

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Responsibility-Wb

42265 • Colclough, Sarah
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM • Internet
show description

A famous philosopher once said “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Yet
“responsibility” is a nebulous concept, despite the term’s prominence in our era’s most fiercely
debated issues. To what extent are individuals “responsible” for recycling when a handful of
corporations produce most of the world’s pollution? If Facebook is responsible for sharing
misinformation, does the responsibility to curb the problem fall on the company, its users, or the
government? What responsibilities does the U.S. owe to non-U.S. citizens fleeing a geopolitical
crisis that U.S. military intervention may have exacerbated? In short, what do individuals,
groups, and institutions “owe” to one another and future generations?

This course takes a closer look at the concept of “responsibility.” In this writing intensive class,
students will select and research a contemporary controversy to examine how “responsibility”
is attributed in times of crisis. Possible topics range from whistleblowing, #MeToo, the Second
Amendment, online “cancel culture,” climate change, media coverage of mass shootings,
immigrantion and refugees, the Second Gulf war, Medicaid for All, and student loan debt.
Assigned texts may include news articles, films, podcasts, and multimedia. Our purpose is not to
establish a single, definitive definition of “responsibility,” but to take the fluidity of the term as
an opportunity to investigate how the term functions rhetorically -- and its effects -- across
multiple high-stakes conversations.

Assignments and Grade Breakdown:

Participation (In-Class Participation, CWFs): 10%
4 Short Writing Assignments: 25%
Peer Review: 5%
Project 1: Evaluation Argument Essay 15%
Project 2: Annotated Bibliography 15%
Project 3: Rhetorical Analysis Essay 15%
Project 4: Counterargument Essay 15%

Glenn, Cheryl. The New Harbrace Guide: Genres for Composing . Third Edition, Cengage
Learning, 2017.
Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument . Sixth edition,
Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012.
Roberts-Miller, Trish. Demagoguery and Democracy. The Experiment, 2017.
Other course material to be provided by the instructor on Canvas.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Suburbia-Wb

42300 • Booth, Andrew
show description

Master-planned communities, McMansions, strip malls, chain restaurants, megachurches: these are all archetypical images of American suburbia, a place where more than half of all Americans live. Yet despite their formative impression on American culture and society over the past seventy years, the suburbs are often dismissed with an eye-roll and chalked up as cookie-cutter and clichéd. But perhaps it is the everyday nature of the suburbs that makes them so important to think about critically. We’ll begin the course by asking ourselves, “How do suburban spaces shape the identity and values of an individual, of a neighborhood, or of a city?” In short, this course will treat the suburbs as texts, spaces that are rhetorically constructed and deeply rooted in ideologies of race, consumerism, and nostalgia.

In this course we’ll first examine representations of suburbia in film and read some critical texts that analyze American suburbs. Then, after acquainting ourselves with some rhetorical theory, principles, and terminology, we’ll examine a suburb, critically analyzing its physical spaces and places. Finally, we’ll write persuasively and put forth our own critical arguments about suburbia in the American cultural, political, and societal landscape. If everything works, examining suburbia through a rhetorical lens will allow us to develop skills that will be useful in not only understanding how suburbia has shaped American values and ideology, but it will also allow us to better engage in current critical conversations about suburbia as they relate to American society, politics, and culture.


  • Assignment 1: Mapping Suburbia (10%)
  • Assignment 2: Rhetorical Analysis of a Place/Space (10%)
  • Assignment 3: Rhetorical Analysis of a Suburb (15%)
  • Assignment 4.1: Proposal Argument (10%)
  • Assignment 4.2: Revision of Assignment 4.1 (15%)
  • Assignment 5: Presentation (10%)
  • Short Writing Assignments—4x (20%)
  • Participation (10%)

Required Texts:

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

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Job Search-Wb

42255 • Gossi, Drake
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM • Internet
show description

Getting a job these days is tough. First, you must decide on what jobs to apply to, and where. Then comes the process of creating various application materials, followed by adapting them to each individual job site’s unique specifications. As if all that wasn’t difficult enough, you must do your best to imagine not only what questions the hiring manager will ask, but also how to respond to them. Should you be modest? Funny? Honest? What if they ask you whether you have experience in something that you don’t have experience in? Worse still, even if the interview goes well, your future boss will inevitably Google you, and who knows what a “deep search” of your name will turn up.

As the cliché goes, getting a job is a full-time job in itself. But the process shouldn’t have to be stressful. In fact, this course aims to reduce job-seeking anxiety by offering you three opportunities. The first is to prepare job application materials for two different dream jobs, both of which will be in different industries. The second is to research how different industries interview applicants differently. The third is to populate the web with content that will make you look good when your future boss Google’s you.


  • Resume portfolio (self-inventory, two different resumes, reflection, video resume, presentation of video resume) 25%
  • Job interview research (both primary and secondary research into how the interview process reflects the values of two different professions) 25%
  • Reputation management portfolio (Daily Texan op-ed, book review, Yelp review, etc., genre analysis) 25%
  • Revision 15%
  • Participation 10% (reading responses, peer reviews, in-class writing assignments, etc.)

Required Text

  • Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World, by Jodie Nicotra, 1st Edition

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Outlaw-Wb

42310 • Fischer, Liz
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM • Internet
show description

In this course, we will explore topics in rhetoric through representations of the “outlaw” in literature, film, and popular culture, as well as in public discourse and politics. We will be reading excerpts from critical and literary texts, watching clips of films and considering the American fascination with the rebel, the criminal, the deviant. We will pay particular attention to how representations of the outlaw make arguments about acceptable relationships of individuals to society and about who can exercise power. How do different archetypes of the outlaw—such as social bandits, rebels, and—relate to each other? How do the rhetoric they use and the rhetoric used to talk about them differ? How do “outsider” perspectives gather and create authority? 

Grading breakdown:

  • Short Writing and Blog Posts: 25%
  • Defining “Outlaw” Essay: 15%
  • Rhetorical Analysis: 15%
  • Final essay first draft: 15%
  • Final essay revision: 20%
  • Participation: 10%
    • In-class exercises: 5%
    • Peer Review: 5%

Required texts:

  • Everything’s an Argument (8th edition) by Andrea Lunsford, John Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters
  • The Outlaw Bible of American Literature by Alan Kaufman, Barney Rosset

Purdue OWL as a writing handbook

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Time Travel-Wb

42260 • Mendenhall, Margaret
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM • Internet
show description

If you could travel to the future, what would you want to know? If you could go back in time, what would you change? If you’re stuck in a time loop, what do you have to fix about yourself to get out? Our chances of actually travelling in time are slim to none—so why do we find these hypothetical questions so fascinating? We constantly tell stories about exploring the future, revisiting the past, or reliving the present. But it’s not just fiction: from global warming projections to public apologies to eulogies and convocations, we often rely on depictions of past, present, or future events to make our arguments more convincing.

This course investigates how speculative explorations of time work as tools for persuasion. We will analyze fictional time travel narratives, examining how stories that seem to be about the past or future often make implicit arguments about social or moral change in the present. In addition, we’ll observe how the future, past, and present are invoked as rhetorical strategies in argumentative writing. In addition to building critical reading skills through exploring these topics, students will learn to write effective and responsible arguments by composing their own argumentative essays about the central questions of the course.

Required books

  • Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, Everything’s an Argument
  • All other readings will be made available on Canvas by the instructor.


  • Discussion Posts and Participation – 10%
  • Short Writing Assignments (3) – 15%
  • Research Synthesis – 10%
  • Paper 1: Rhetorical Analysis 1 – 15%
  • Paper 2.1: Rhetorical Analysis 2 – 10%
  • Paper 2.2: Revision – 10%
  • Paper 3: Argument – 25%
  • Paper 3: Peer Review – 5%

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Viral Media-Wb

42275 • Breece, Matthew
show description

When we think of something that has gone viral, we might think of the latest TikTok dance challenge, a funny meme, or a political hashtag. But there's actually much more to viral media than what we see in our social media feeds. Viral videos, memes, and hashtags circulate within and across social media platforms, enabling particular kinds of interactions and connections between users. These media create new genres as well as initiate, respond to, and extend significant events.  In short, viral media shape our communication practices, our relations with others, and our understanding of our world.

This course will focus on three types of viral media: videos, memes, and hashtags. Students will investigate the following questions: What are the histories and precursors of these media? How do specific social media platforms enable and constrain different kinds of sharing and virality? And how do viral media genres initiate, respond to, and extend public events, social movements, and other cultural phenomena?

Throughout this course, students will engage critically with a variety of texts, research credible sources, write and revise thoughtful and well-organized college-level papers, and practice the conventions of academic prose.  Additionally, students will become more proficient in the use of digital tools for textual analysis and production, using social media, audio recording, video, and web platforms to create multimodal compositions.

Note: No prior knowledge of digital media technologies is required for success in this course.


  • Nicotra, Jodie.  Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World.  Boston: Cengage Learning, Inc., 2019.
  • Additional course readings will be posted on Canvas.

Assignments and Grading:

  • Paper 1: History of a Viral Medium (10%)

  • Paper 1 Revision: (10%)
  • Paper 2: Comparative Platform Analysis Paper (10%)

  • Screencast Remediation: Comparative Platform Screencast Video (10%)

  • Paper 3: Viral Event Paper (15%)

  • Webtext Remediation: Viral Event Webtext (10%)
  • Annotated Bibliography (10%)
  • Discussion Boards (10%)
  • Screencast Script (5%)
  • Artifact Paper (5%)
  • Production Workshops (5%)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Witchcraft-Wb

42233 • Butler, Tia
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM • Internet
show description

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%
  • 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 Women's Work-Wb

42241 • Echternach, Julia
Meets WF 9:00AM-10:00AM • Internet
show description

This course focuses on three central topics:

  • Concepts for thinking about women’s work and social change
  • The role of women’s work in our lives
  • Rhetorical strategies for using writing to create change in our lives and our society

As we live through a global pandemic and question what our communities will be like a week from now, let alone a year, a decade, or a century from now, we can learn a lot from women writers, artists, and organizers who use rhetoric to survive multiple intersecting systems of inequality and uncertainty, and to demand and create the society that they want to live in. For the women whose writings we will read, analyze, and respond to in this class, unjust working conditions have always been a part of their reality – and yet they have used creative expression to challenge the forces that constrain their lives, to dream of a different world, and to labor that world into being. We will use our time in class to understand how women workers have made sense of gender, race, sexuality, (dis)ability, colonization, capitalism, and globalization; to look at how they use language and rhetoric affect their audiences and affect us; to learn about ourselves and our communities through journaling; and to develop our abilities to write, speak, and express ourselves persuasively.


  • Participation (10%)
  • Weekly Journal Responses (20%)
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper (20%)
  • Opinion-Editorial Paper (20%)
  • Counter-Story Paper (20%)
  • Autobiography Paper (10%)

Required Texts

  • Course Reader.
  • Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee, Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. Pearson, any edition.

The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.

RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Wb

42314 • Moura De Oliveira, Claudio
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM • Internet
show description

In this class we will examine the concept of failure. We will question conventional definitions of success and failure and rethink the culture of competition that awards winners and rejects losers. We will investigate what success has to offer and how rethinking failure can open up opportunities for creativity, cooperation and novelty. Navigating an ocean of accomplishments, victories and triumphs, this class will direct its focus to defeats, losses and embarrassments in order to reimagine prosperity. Through understanding the rhetorical constructions behind the idea of success, students will build projects that will analyze failure, challenge it, and then argue for a reconceptualization of an approach.



  • Participation assignments
  • Rhetorical analysis
  • Failure Research Project
  • Remediation / Presentation


This course will make use of Contract Grading. Students and Instructor will agree on a contract that will inform expectations for participation and criteria for coursework. Meeting these expectations will guarantee students a passing grade, and in order to receive higher grades students will be expected to exceed expectations.

Required Texts:

  • They Say I Say, Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff
  • Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, Andrea A. Lunsford

RHE 315 • Intro To Visual Rhetoric-Wb

42320 • Hill, Angela
show description
In today’s multimedia world, effective arguments often rely on images to persuade audiences. Everyday we encounter visual rhetoric that tries to persuade us to think about this problem, purchase that product, travel to this destination, and/or accept that truth. In this course, we will examine how pictures persuade by analyzing advertisements, fashion photography, political campaign posters, public service announcements, graphic novels, and war photography. Students in the course will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of images; analyze combinations of text, imagery, and other graphics, both in print and in multimedia formats; and locate their own examples of visual rhetoric to present and interpret. By studying visual rhetoric, students will enter into an exciting area within the discipline of Rhetoric and they will hone their skills as writers, researchers, and rhetors.

RHE 315 • Intro To Visual Rhetoric-Wb

42321 • Mendez, Sierra
Meets W 12:00PM-1:00PM • Internet
show description
#2020PresidentialPolitics. This class is for students interested in the persuasive power of visual forms of communication from typefaces to body language to photographs to stage props. This semester, we will think critically about visual texts that produce and move the 2020 Presidential Election. Alongside writing assignments, students will design and create political media in ways that help them explore affective, image-based argumentation and messaging. Course essays are designed to nurture student ability to write professionally and thoughtfully about rhetorical sights and situations. Course graphic projects are designed to develop student understanding of rhetorical decision-making embedded in creative composition, production, and circulation of images. Ultimately, this course aims to cultivate students’ perceptions of themselves as makers of political meaning via images they produce in this class and in their daily lives.
 Assignments Class Activity and Participation (10%)
Weekly Reading Posts (15%)
Unit 1:  “Words as Sights” Rhetorical Analysis (15%)
Unit 1: “Words as Sights” Annotated Creative Production (10%)
Unit 2: “Pictures as Persuasion” Rhetorical Analysis (15%)
Unit 2: “Pictures as Persuasion” Annotated Creative Production & Reflection (10%)
Unit 3: “Mediating Composition” Rhetorical Analysis (15%)
Unit 3: “Mediating Composition” Annotated Creative Production (10%)
Required Texts
Rhetorical Visions by Wendy S. Hesford and Brenda Jo Brueggemann
Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture by Lisa Cartwright and Marita Sturken
(Possibly) Covering Immigration: Popular Images and the Politics of a Nation by Leo Chavez
Supplementary texts (excerpts provided by me)
Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students by Sharon Crowley and Deborah Hawhee
The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
The Right to Look by Nicolas Mirzoeff
Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics by Jacques Ranciere
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
Everything’s an Argument by Andrea Lunsford
Megg’s History of Graphic Design by Phillip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric-Wb

42330 • Graham, Samuel
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-Wb

42334 • Izaguirre, Jose
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM • Internet
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-Wb

42325 • Longaker, Mark
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 328 • Magazine Writ/Publishing-Wb

42335 • Buckley, Tom
Meets W 4:00PM-7:00PM • Internet
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 • Tech Comm/Wicked Problems-Wb

42340 • Graham, Samuel
show description

Learn Tech Comm. Save the world.

Urban food deserts, opioid abuse, chronic drought, obesity epidemics, global climate change—the stuff of everyday headlines. We are increasingly confronted with vastly complex problems that offer no easy solution. These "wicked problems," as they have become known, are so difficult to address that they require the coordinated efforts of scientists, politicians, community leaders, and industry partners. However, bringing such a diverse array of people together to tackle a specific problem is no easy task. Success will require "the formation of new professional roles: translators, mediators, facilitators of debates and negotiations, and political organizers" (Callon, Lascoumes, and Barthe).

Subsequently, the Spring 2019 edition of RHE 328 is devoted to preparing aspiring technical communicators for these new professional roles. Specific course units will focus on: 1) the nature of wicked problems and the roles for technical communicators, 2) practical approaches to translating scientific and technical information for diverse audiences, 3) effective strategies for engaging public audiences around wicked problems, and 4) best practices for facilitating productive stakeholder dialogue.

Course Requirements and Grades

This course has six major assignments:

  • Socio-Technical Network Analysis: Students will identify a wicked problem of interest and prepare a report detailing and analyzing the social, environmental, and/or technical causes of that problem. (20%)
  • Artifact Analysis Packet: Students will identify and analyze three communication artifacts designed to inform or engage public audiences about the chosen wicked problem. (20%)
  • Public Engagement Project: Using their analysis of preexisting public engagement materials as a guide, students will create a custom public engagement project designed to catalyze stakeholder engagement with the identified wicked problem. (30%)
  • Facilitation Plan and Briefing Books: Students will propose an event designed to catalyze a coordinated scientific and community response to an identified wicked problem. The plan will detail specific events designed to foster dialogue among diverse stakeholders and will include appropriate briefing books for included audiences. (30%)

RHE 330C • Access Designed-Wb

42345 • Boyle, Casey
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM • Internet
show description

This course will examine, explore, and exercise techniques for designing accessibility in digital writing and with physical computing devices. To accomplish these tasks, students will examine texts that foreground communication media as mediating bodies and technologies, which will include topics such as accessibility, universal design, disability studies, and media theory. We will explore these meditations by locating accessibility in how online communication circulates with and against bodies (digital documents and online sites) as well as how digital devices (i.e. arduino-based sensor projects) can assist how bodies circulate in space. In addition to course readings, case studies, and class discussions, the class will exercise accessible concepts by working together to design, develop, and deploy accessibility devices with accompanying documentation (e.g. user guides and project websites) that rhetorically respond to a site of contested access.

Note: While no prior technological experience is necessary, a willingness to engage new technologies and a commitment to practicing those technologies is.

Required Course Texts and Materials

A Web For Everyone, Sarah Horton & Whitney Quesenbery

Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability, Aimi Hamraie

Design meets Disability, Graham Pullin

Elegoo EL-KIT-003 UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial for Arduino & Elegoo Upgraded 37 in 1 Sensor Modules Kit (Amazon)


Participation - 10%

Since this course will involve many workshops and group projects, regular attendance and active participation will be required and factored into the final grade.

Reading Responses - 10%

6 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.

Accessibility Audit - 15%

Students will examine an online site to determine its accessibility and will report on that examination.

Captioning Assignment - 15%

This assignment will give students an opportunity to practice techniques for captioning images and video.

Accessibility Device and Documentation - 50%

In this semester long project, student will work in groups to design, develop, and deploy an accessibility device (using Arduino-based components) that responds to a particular situation of access. This project will include a proposal, progress reports, the device, project site, user documentation, and a final presentation.

RHE 330C • Rhetoric/Data Visualiztn-Wb

42350 • Charney, Davida
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM • Internet
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 330D • Rhet Inventd/Revisd/Retld-Wb

42360 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
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 • Women's Rhet Traditions-Wb

42365 • Ferreira-Buckley, Linda
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM • Internet
show description

This course examines women’s rhetorical traditions in 19th and early 20th century America. We will focus on the diverse ways that rhetoric was studied and practiced. Our aim will not be to map out a comprehensive history but rather to investigate the range of rhetorical sites:  debating societies, literary circles and salons, speaking societies, libraries, writing groups, letter writing manuals, and classrooms. We will always consider how these grew out of particular social, cultural, and historical contexts to meet the needs and desires of African-American and white women. Finally, we will examine and evaluate the bases for the work that historians present.

Students will work with the instructor to design and complete a project that investigates a topic of their choice. Sequenced exercises and writing assignments will help participants develop and complete their project.


  • 15% book review           
  • 15% short essay (3-4 pages)
  • 35% longer essay (7-10 pages)
  • 05% annotated bibliography
  • 10% homework
  • 20% quizzes


Excerpts from the following: *

  • 19th and early 20th-century speeches, short essays, and letters by women
  • Rhetoric, elocutionary, and letter manuals for girls or women
  • McHenry, Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies (2002)
  • Miller et al, Rhetorical Women: Roles and Representations (2006)
  • Ronald and Ritchie, Teaching Rhetorica: Theory, Pedagogy, Practice (2006)
  • Royster and Kirsch, “Re-visioning History, Theory, and Practice” & “Conclusion,” Feminist Rhetorical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies (2012)
  • Royster, Traces Of A Stream: Literacy and Social Change Among African American Women (2002)
  • 19th and early 20th-century speeches, short essays, and letters by women

Rhetoric, elocutionary, and letter manuals for girls or women

RHE 330E • Comparative Rhetoric-Wb

42370 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM • Internet
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-Wb

42375 • Piekarski, Krzysztof
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
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"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 Narrative-Wb

42369 • Hsu, Vox
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM • Internet
show description

“The truth about stories is, that’s all we are.” – Thomas King

            History comes to us through stories—about who we are, whose land we occupy, and why we are here. Current events, too, are deliberated through stories. Journalism, political campaigns, and even scientific findings compete to shape public narratives. Climate change is a plot that connects rising seas levels, extreme weather events, and the spread of disease to human impact. Stories, then, are never neutral and inevitably affect the shape of our lives. The futures we create depend on whether and how storytellers cast individuals and states as responsible actors. Cultural evolution emerges from our collective ability to imagine and narrate new ways of engaging with the earth and with one another. What, then, are the ethics of reading, sharing, and composing stories? Our class will attend to this question, focusing on how narratives create shared norms as well as how they enable and constrain social change. Throughout the semester, students will expand their understanding of rhetoric and narrative by:

  • Exploring a diverse range of storytelling strategies and how they participate in normalizing and resistive politics
  • Applying analytical lenses from rhetorical, critical race, gender, and disability studies to examine how narrative affects social engagements and structures
  • Exploring how social inequities are embedded in a wide range of cultural settings through narrative
  • Considering the possibilities and limitations of storytelling as a strategy for social and institutional change
  • Practicing their analytical skills on small case studies and an extended project
  • Becoming active members of a classroom community that facilitates one another’s intellectual and emotional growth

Assignments and Grading*

  • Two brief (1-2 paged) Response Papers with which you will initiate class discussion (30%)
  • Narrative Investigation – you will examine a prevalent narrative of your choosing for its underlying assumptions and present your findings to the class. This may be done individually or in small groups. (20%)
  • Final Project – either a narrative-based undertaking or a critical examination of a narrative or narratives and their consequences for people’s lives (40%)
  • Participation (10%)

* If any student finds that the nature of the assignments or the grading policy inhibits their ability to learn, I encourage them to speak with me so that we can find alternatives.

Required Texts and Course Readings

Possible readings include:

  • Excerpts from: Jeong-Hee Kim, Understanding Narrative Inquiry; Herman et al., Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates; Eduardo Bonilla Silva, Racism Without Racists; Aja Martinez, Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory; Delgado and Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction; Zeynep Tufekci, Twitter and Tear Gas; Sujatha Fernandes, Curated Stories; and Eli Clare, Brilliant Imperfection
  • Articles: LeAnne Howe, “The Story of America”; Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersections of Race and Sex”; Jim Corder, “Argument as Emergency, Rhetoric as Love”; Walter Fisher, “Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm”; Krista Ratcliffe, “Rhetorical Listening”; Romeo García, “Creating Presence from Absence and Sound from Silence”; LeMaster et al., “Unlearning Cisheteronormativity at the Intersections of Difference”; Margaret Price, “The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain”; and Alyson Patsavas, “Recovering a Cripstemology of Pain”

RHE 330E • Rhetoric And The Law-Wb

42380 • Hill, Angela
show description

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

show description

This course provides an academic foundation and practical support for upper-division students working in DRW-approved internships.

It is designed to help students 1) recognize how rhetoric is applied in the workplace environments, and 2) apply their training and skills in rhetoric and writing professionally.

To meet these objectives, students will participate in a variety of activities: assigned readings, class discussions (in class and online), journal reflections on their workplace experience, university-sponsored workshops about job searching and workplace protocol, and in-class workshops and peer critique sessions designed to further develop their writing skills.

Students will produce 20 pages of writing (which may include Discussion Board assignments and journal entries at an instructor’s discretion) by the end of the semester. Because the amount of on-the-job writing students do will vary per internship, students will consult with the instructor at the beginning of the semester to determine the types of writing they will produce.

This course is offered on a pass/fail basis. It does not count toward the rhetoric major.

It may be repeated once for credit when the internships vary.


Consent of supervising instructor must be obtained. Upper-division standing and twelve semester hours of work in Rhetoric & Writing are required.


A course packet

Others TBA