Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

RHE 306 • Rhetoric And Writing

42350 • Leite, Diana
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 10
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 Student Testing Services at (512)-232-2662 to petition for RHE 306 credit.

RHE 309K • Remixing Rhetoric

42495 • Tuttle, Amy
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 10
show description

What do Tupac’s “California Love,” Andy Warhol’s Marilyn prints, and South Park have in common? They’re creative and cultural works of genius that have influenced and shaped generations. However, these aren’t entirely original works born of a lightning-in-a-bottle, “a-ha!” moment of creation by a lone inventor. In fact, each one of these is a copy, combination, transformation, or remix of previous works presented as something new. “California Love” samples Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman,” Warhol’s Marilyn prints derive from original photographs of the actress, and South Park draws its comic remix from a variety of serious current events and cultural phenomena. Therefore, we might say that one characteristic of “good writing” is the ability to be inspired by great things and to combine and transform them into something entirely new.

Remixing—or the process of taking existing pieces of text, images, sounds, and video and stitching them together to form a new product—is how individual writers and communities build common values; it is how composers achieve persuasive, creative, and parodic effects. Throughout the semester, we will examine remix as a method for argumentation—a multimodal method that works across the registers of sound, text, and image to make claims and provide evidence to support those claims. Essentially, students in this course should develop an appreciation for remix and for the ways in which the cannons of rhetoric—invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery—can be remixed, never acting in isolation, but always moving alongside and through a number of “original” texts.

Assignments and Grading

  • Paper 1.1
  • Peer Review 1
  • Paper 1.2
  • Paper 2.1
  • Peer Review 2
  • Paper 2.2
  • Multimodal Project 3.1
  • Edited Collection 3.2
  • Short Writing Assignments (6)

Grades are determined by a portfolio-style, evidence-based model called the Learning Record (LR). Once at the midterm and once at the final, students will compose a persuasive essay that documents their improvement as a student by explaining both what they have learned and how they have learned it. Students will base their assessments on the semester’s coursework, including writing, revision, and class participation, as documented in a reflective journal. By using the dimensions of learning, grade criteria, and the course goals as heuristics, each student will argue for the grade he/she thinks is fair. I will review each student’s argument and either agree with or revise the request.

Required Texts and Course Readings

REQUIRED Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers. Longaker & Walker. Pearson, 2010.

REQUIRED Understanding and Composing Multimodal Projects. DeVoss. Bedford/St. Martins, 2013.

RECOMMENDED Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Fifth ed. Lunsford. Bedford/St. Martins, 2013.

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Conspiracy Theories

42535 • Heermans, Andrew
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM FAC 7
show description

What is a conspiracy theory, and why do people believe in them? At this point, it is easier to name an example, be it the “moon landing hoax”, the JFK assassination, 9/11 as an “inside job”, or “pizzagate”, than it is to define the essential qualities that all conspiracy theories share. Studies suggest that nearly half the American population believes at least one conspiracy theory, yet the accusation of being a “conspiracy theorist” can put one on the fringe of normalcy, and is often shorthand for lack of credibility, corrupted reasoning and/or paranoia. The question of conspiracy theories presents two paradoxical facts: that humans do conspire, and that people believe things patently false through rhetorics of conspiracy.


This course takes a closer look at a number of conspiracy theories and “conspiratorial thinking” more broadly to have students think critically about the conspiratorial rhetoric they encounter and/or participate in. The course focuses broadly on two questions: what makes conspiracy theories persuasive to those who believe them, and how is giving the title of conspiracy theory or theorist itself a rhetorical act? Approaching conspiracy theories from the standpoint of rhetorical theory allows students to develop the skills needed to write persuasively across intellectual boundaries and engage in ethical argumentation at a historical moment when conspiratorial thinking has particularly high visibility and rhetorical efficacy in American socio-political conversations. 

Assignments :

  • Annotated Bibliography (15%)
  • Figures of Conspiracy Theories Dictionary (10%)
  • Rhetorical Analysis (single source) (15%)
  • Revision (15%)
  • Final Argument (10%)
  • Revision (15%)
  • In-Class / Short Writing Activities, & Participation (20%)

Required Text(s) 

  • Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing, Losh and Alexander, 2nd edition.
  • Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, 7th edition

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Environmentalism

42530 • Train, Emma
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 104
show description

The journalist Naomi Klein describes climate change as a civilizational wake-up call. In the wake of increasing urgency regarding climate change, this course will explore how artists and writers employ rhetorical techniques in the service of environmental wake-up calls. We will develop a working definition of environmentalism and identify the major themes and motives of environmental thinking. We will engage in the discourse and rhetoric of environmentalism, with an emphasis of the political stakes of environmental movements and writing. We will tackle questions like: What is environment rhetoric? What are the rhetorical aims of environmental movements and activism? What does it mean to be environmental or an environmentalist? What does it mean to “fight” against climate change? How do writers, artists, politicians, and journalists redefine what it means to be political in the age of climate change (what some scholars call the “anthropocene”)? 

We will explore a variety of texts (non-fiction, literature, policy documents) that engage in environmental thought, global climate change, and environmental justice and activism, and will also pay particular attention to visual objects and visual rhetoric (films, documentaries, photographs). This course aims to enable each student to locate themselves as a political actor and as a discerning cultural critic of environmental rhetoric. This course fulfills the university writing flag requirement.

Assignment breakdown: 

  • Minor Assignments (regular short writing assignments, under 500 words, and an annotated bibliography): 20%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper: 15%
  • Research Paper: 20%
  • Argumentative Proposal Paper: 20%
  • Argumentative Proposal Paper Revision: 15% 
  • Class participation: 10%

Required texts:

  • Mark Longaker and Jeffrey Walker, Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers, 2011 (Pearson, 1st edition)
  • Other readings will be available for download from Canvas (within fair use policies).

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Utopia/Resistance

42540 • Mack, Rosemary
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM FAC 7
show description

Arundhati Roy — 'Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.'

Where do we find hope if everything seems to be falling to pieces? How do we become optimists about our own ability to change the world? It may seem like the end-times, but moments of pessimism have produced some of the most innovative and persuasive visions of the future. Utopia is the space where activist knowledge and belief in the capacity of human action meets the invention of other worlds. In this course we will explore various strands of utopian cultural production and the movements which give rise to them. We will investigate the two faces of utopia: challenging the world as it is and imagining what the world could be. We will begin by defining what utopia has meant and can mean through short visual texts, fiction, manifestos and theoretical works. We will work together to ask: what do they critique and how? What are the relationships between utopian thought and activism? We will then choose our own utopian texts, working individually to locate them in their historical and political contexts and analyze their rhetorical techniques. Possible texts choices could include televisual utopias, such as Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero,’ Neil Gaiman’s comic Miracleman, or excerpts from novels like Nisi Shawl’s Everfair and Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Finally, we will use utopian rhetorical techniques to invent our own utopian imaginaries, either in the form of a persuasive manifesto, or a piece of short fiction accompanied by a commentary. 

  • Project 1: Annotated Bibliography (15%)
  • Peer Review
  • Project 2: Rhetorical Analysis (10%)
  • Peer Review
  • Revision (15%)
  • Project 3: Utopian vision or manifesto (15%)
  • Peer Review (5%)
  • Revision (15%)
  • Short Writing Assignments (20%)
  • Class Presentation (5%) 

Required Texts:

  1. The Rhetoric of Literate Action, Bazerman, Charles, Parlor Press (open source), 2013
  2. All other readings will be provided on Canvas by the instructor.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Aliens And Ufos

42475 • Gauggel, Laura
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 6
show description

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."

– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Did aliens crash in Roswell in 1947? Do the “Men in Black” visit those who witness strange phenomena? Are lizard people from outer space masquerading as politicians? Aliens and UFOs have become prominent figures in urban legends, conspiracy theories, and science fiction. When aliens appear in popular culture, they invite us to question our own worldviews. In this course, we will examine arguments made about and through aliens. It is not enough to argue whether or not aliens exist; rather, we will explore what the alien means. For example, we will investigate the rhetoric of alien conspiracy theories to understand modern anxieties surrounding invasion and surveillance. In the realm of science fiction, we will examine how artists use aliens to dissect human society. We will analyze how the alien becomes a symbol of the Other, the “them” that stands in opposition to “us.” How do we define the alien? How do we define the human? Are the two categories mutually exclusive? These questions (and many more) will provide students the opportunity to develop skills in critical thinking, college-level writing, and responsible argumentation.


  • Project 1 – 10%
  • Project 2.1 – 10%
  • Project 2.2 – 15%
  • Project 3 – 15%
  • Project 4 – 10%
  • Short writing assignments and quizzes – 30%
  • Participation – 10%

Possible Course Texts:

  • Rhetoric textbook: Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz
  • Grammar resource (available online): Purdue OWL
  • Reading selections (provided via Canvas) may include but are not limited to: Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within, Neil Badmington; Chariots of the Gods, Erich von Däniken; The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin; The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells; “Story of Your Life,” Ted Chiang; Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
  • Film and television selections (available in class and/or out of class) may include but are not limited to: Star Wars, Star Trek, Arrival, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ancient Aliens, Doctor Who, Stargate

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Comics

42515 • Hanson, Tristan
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 6
show description

On November 2, 2011, the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, was firebombed. Reportedly, the bombing was a response to an as yet unpublished issue of the magazine renamed “Charia Hebdo” and listing Muhammed, the founder and Prophet of Islam, as the “Editor-in-Chief.” Leaked in advance of publication, the cover of the issue featured a cartoon caricature of Muhammad with a speech bubble that said (here translated from the French) “A hundred lashes if you don’t die laughing!” The same day as the bombing, Hebdo’s website was hacked and a message was left for the editor’s of the magazine: “You keep abusing, Islam’s almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech…. Be God’s Curse On You!” (my emphasis).

In making comics, creators—including writers, cartoonists, letterers, editors, etc.—have to make decisions about what to depict (“moment”), how to depict it (“framing” and “imaging”), how to caption that depiction (“word”), and in what sequence it should appear (“flow”) (thank you to Scott McCloud for the vocabulary). These decisions are essentially rhetorical in that they must always account for an audience of potential readers and the potential contexts in which they will be read. What the Charlie Hebdo incident described above shows is how important those decisions could potentially be. This course will ask you to explore the ways by which comics of all kinds move us, the ways by which they persuade us to think, feel, and act. It will ask you to think about how you might make comics move others, how you might make them act to change things in the world. Finally, it will ask you to use the rhetorical knowledge you gain from your explorations to create your own comic in an attempt to persuade others. While it may not be your purpose to incite anger or violence, or to “curse” someone, you will seek to harness the undeniable force of comics to do things. In the end, hopefully you will have a sense of how you might use comics as a force of responsible action and how it might inspire that same sense of responsibility in others.


  • Annotated Bibliography 5%
  • Topic Synthesis Paper 10%
  • Text-Image Juxtapositions 15%
  • Series Pitch 10% (written and presented)
  • Comics Script/Illustrated Comic 15%
  • Short Writing Assignments 10% (comic description, research summary, rhetorical analysis of primary source, rhetorical analysis of secondary source)
  • Participation 10% (discussion board posts, in-class writing assignments, peer reviews, etc.)
  • Revisions 25% (synthesis, text-image juxtapositions, comics script/illustrated script)

Required Text:

  • Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing, 2nd Edition by Elizabeth Losh, Jonathan Alexander, Kevin Cannon, and Zander Cannon

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Country Music

42490 • Fickling, Teri
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 6
show description

Randy Travis once said that “country music tells a story about, and deals with, the way people live their lives and what they do.” This course investigates how the narratives in country music make implicit arguments about the broader culture from which they arise. Spanning the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, country music has often been considered the genre for authentic working class expression. This course will consider how this music’s instrumental content establishes mood and tone, and how lyrical content changes through time in response to shifting norms. Organized by major topics in the genre, this course will encourage students to interrogate how country musicians weigh in on discussions of class, gender, race, sexuality, regionalism, and rural vs. urban life. To examine such topics, students will gain a thorough understanding of the basics of classical rhetoric. Starting with the rhetoric within individual country songs, students will learn to wield the tools of rhetorical analysis. This analytical work will provide the foundation for students to research a topic in country music more extensively before making their own argument about how the genre promotes a particular rhetorical stance in response to a broad culturally relevant topic. 

List of Assignments and Grading Percentages

  • Short writing assignments 25%
  • Rhetorical Analysis 10%
  • Revision of Rhetorical Analysis 15%                             
  • Annotated bibliography 15%
  • Topic in Country Music Paper 10%
  • Revision of Topic in Country Music Paper 15%                             
  • Participation (Peer reviews, Quizzes, In-class Assignments) 10% 

Required Texts 

  • Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers, Mark Longaker and Jeffery Walker, Pearson, 2010. 
  • (Additional course readings and musical selections will be posted to Canvas)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Documentary Films

42525 • Bursztajn-Illingworth, Zoe
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 10
show description

Seeking to find a voice in which to speak about subjects that concern them, filmmakers, like the great orators of the past, speak from the heart in ways that both fit the occasion and issue from it.

-Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary. 

 “I think I got their trust because I was not looking at them like insects I would film,” states Agnes Varda, a documentary filmmaker and nouvelle vague icon, while discussing her 2006 film on consumption and recycling, The Gleaners and I. How does documentary film, with its roots in anthropological observation and propaganda, eventually come to persuade, move, and build trust with its subjects and audience in the twenty-first century? In this course, we will investigate how documentary filmmakers argue for structural change, open an audience’s eyes to marginalized experiences, and reveal everything from wrongful conviction to the human need to create art. In doing so, we will use the tools of rhetoric to analyze and research documentary films ranging across a multitude of topics and the genre’s history from 1921 to 2018. To aid us in our rhetorical inquiry, we will also read theory on the documentary film as a genre, criticism concerned with particular documentary films, and interviews with documentary filmmakers. Students will have an opportunity to create arguments concerning our core documentary films or to create short documentary films that put into practice the rhetorical strategies we have discussed throughout the semester. 

Assignments with Grading Breakdown

10% Participation: based on short writing assignments, group work, and in-class discussion
20% Rhetoric of a Scene Papers 
5% Revision Letter for the Revised Rhetoric of a Scene Paper  
5% Research Summary 
5% Contextual Paper 
15% Annotated Bibliography 
10% Audience and Media / Venue Paper
10% Opposition Paper or Story Board
20% Argument Paper or Documentary Film with Accompanying Peer-Review Revision Letter

Course Reading List

 Documentary films available on Kanopy through the library website or on reserve at the UT Fine Arts Library. Additional course readings available on Canvas. 

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Fashion

42480 • Harris, Patrick
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM RLP 1.108
show description

“Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them”—Marc Jacobs

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”—Rachel Zoe

“I don’t do fashion, I am fashion”—Coco Chanel

                  When we talk about “fashion statements” we are usually describing the clothing someone might wear to call attention to themselves. What would it mean, though, to think of all fashion as making a statement? All of us use clothing, makeup, jewelry and other accessories as a way of expressing our interests, values, and beliefs. Fashion is a way of saying (and showing) who we are. At the same time, all of us encounter the fashion industry and are susceptible to the way designers and advertisers play on our desires to belong, to live luxuriously, or to be seen as beautiful. We are constantly filtering messages and images meant to tell us what to look like and who to be.

In this class, we will use fashion as a medium for learning and practicing the elements of effective argumentation. As our primary “texts” we will read like fashion journalism and style reviews, but we will also watch clips from films, television, music videos, and video blogs to see what arguments people make about fashion or with fashion. Students will also maintain a blog that they will update regularly in response to prompts. These blogs will allow students to practice critical writing skills and to learn how to use images and graphic design persuasively. The course will culminate in a final research project of the students’ own making (with instructor approval) that critiques fashion’s role in shaping our individual and interpersonal lives.

Grading Breakdown:

  • 10 Blog Posts (25%)
  • Major Projects (75%)
  • Project 1: Defining “Fashion” Essay (15%)
  • Project 2: Rhetorical Analysis (15%)
  • Project 3.1: Aesthetic Argument (20%)
  • Project 3.2: Aesthetic Argument Revision (25%)

Required Texts:

  • Everything’s an Argument, 7th (2016)—paperback or ebook
  • Textiles and Clothing Sustainability: Sustainability, Fashion, and Consumption (ebook available thru UT Libraries)
  • Rules for Writers, 8th

Other major texts will include clips from: The Devil Wears Prada, Paris is Burning, Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Queer Eye/Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

Optional Texts:

  • 20,000 Years of Fashion (1987)—available through UT Libraries

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Human Rights

42465 • Mohseni Sisiruca, Monica
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 9
show description

The purpose of this course will be to analyze how human rights and their abuses are presented to us by a variety of different sources, from the media to NGOs. The popularization of human rights into mass media in the late 20th century has raised awareness about the abuses and discriminations that occur both at home and abroad. But how does the presentation of human rights abuses affect our understanding of global and domestic issues? Can we distinguish arguments genuinely advocating for disenfranchised peoples from those advancing institutional agendas? 

What comes to mind when we think about human rights and their abuses? Internationally, we may think of the crises of mass-migration in South and Central America, or perhaps LGBT discrimination and abuse in North Africa and South-East Asia. At home, we might think about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, or even the horrifying cases of police violence happening throughout the country. Human rights abuses are shown everywhere: on IG ads and tweeted by politicians, advocates, and celebrities alike. They seem unavoidable in mediated sources of information. How can we build an accurate understanding of these tragedies given the sheer amount of voices? This course equips students with the rhetorical tools to analyze reports of abuses and injustices around the world. We will explore how a biased framing of human rights abuses can slant our understanding of global and domestic issues. Throughout the semester students will be encouraged to research a human rights issue of their choice, with the goal of developing and polishing a final project advocating for their topic.   

  • Major Assignment 1: Annotated Bibliography (5%)
  • Major Assignment 1.2: Revised Annotated Bibliography (15%) 
  • Major Assignment 2.1: Proposal (5%)
  • Major Assignment 2.2: Revised Proposal (15%)
  • Major Assignment 3.1: Final Project (10%)
  • Major Assignment 3.2: Revised Final Project (30%)
  • Short Writing Assignments (10%)

Participation grade will be divided into:

  • Peer-reviews (mandatory)  (5%)
  • Weekly Canvas posts (required) (5%)


Required Course Readings

  • Jodie Nicotra, Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World (required)
  • Little Longhorn Handbook (required)
  • William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style (required)


RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Rap

42510 • Karnes, Martha
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 9
show description

In 2017, Nielson reported that rap & hip-hop music had surpassed rock music to become the most consumed genre. Artists like Drake and Future were streamed over 4 billion times in 2017. Rap music is more than just making it rain and dabbing; there is serious attention to history, culture, style, delivery, and performance. Rap, at its most basic level, is rhetorical. This course will challenge students to think critically about the rhetoric of and surrounding rap music. We will investigate how rap music and performances work rhetorically and intertextually, making use of music videos, live performances, lyrics and lyrical interpretations, and interviews with artists. This will also require us to enter conversations about rap music, culture, and history, and ask questions such as: How does rap make arguments about oppression, privilege, and relationships to the community? What role do rappers play as storytellers in a community? What role should rap play in politics or social justice movements? Is rap music misogynistic, and what does it mean to be a female rapper? This course will also task students with thinking about writing in new ways, as we discuss how rappers use various strategies and media to (re)invent and (re)mix.


Assessment Breakdown

  • Rap Genius Essay: 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay: 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay Revision: 15%
  • Final Essay: 15%
  • Final Essay Revision: 20%
  • Short Writing Assignments: 20%
  • Participation: 10%

Required Texts:

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

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Reality Tv

42520 • Rabe, Michelle
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM FAC 10
show description

In 1992, one brave TV show cut the script, lost the actors, and stopped being polite. With the premiere of MTV’s The Real World, TV started being real. Since The Real World’s first season, reality TV shows have come to dominate cable and network television alike, all featuring real lives in real situations with real implications. From fly-on-the-wall shows to competition shows to dating shows, reality TV programming has continued to expand and diversify, much to critical dissatisfaction. Reality TV shows have come under scrutiny by critics who ask who puts the “real” in reality TV, whose “realities” are being represented, and whether there is really any “reality” in the shows at all. They question both the ethics of putting people’s lives under extreme, surveilled situations and the shows’ allegedly unaltered realities.

In this class, students will interrogate these critical questions about the genre of reality TV to understand how different reality shows are manipulated for particular viewing audiences and to think about how these manipulated narratives are persuasive to them. This course will confront a variety of opinions about the production behind reality TV and the programming it creates with a specific focus on the rhetorical strategies reality TV shows employ, such as confessionals, narration, analogy, editing, and sequencing. Students will analyze a reality show’s portrayal of “real life” issues, form their own argument concerning the potentially beneficial or problematic nature of having reality shows act as representations of reality, and write their own reality TV show premise to attract an audience. In short, they will stop being polite, uncritical observers and start being real rhetorical.

Assessment Breakdown

  • Project 1: Annotated Bibliography — (10%)
  • Project 2.1: Rhetorical Analysis — (10%)
  • Project 2.2: Rhetorical Analysis Revision — (15%)
  • Project 3: Argumentative Paper — (25%)
  • Project 4: Multimodal Assignment — (10%)
  • Five Research Summary Short Writing Assignments — (20%)
  • Peer Reviews — (Mandatory)
  • Participation — (10%) 

Required Texts

Bullock, Richard, Michal Brody, and Francine Weinberg. The Little Longhorn Handbook. 2nd

Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 2014. (required purchase)

Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World. Cengage Learning,

  1. (required purchase)

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Texas

42500 • Mendez, Sierra
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 6
show description

To a fierce degree, Texas holds to its identity and history as a state. Grandiose and independent, Texas exists as a place and also a hyperbolic ideal—a story of pioneers, of guns, of fortitude, of bravery wrapped in an intrinsic good-natured folksiness. This identity derived from Texas’ perceived past drives its present and future by conditioning Texans’ cultures, values, and policies. Rhetoric of Texas affords students opportunities to explore the rhetorical nature of Texas’ memory of itself and its role in maintaining public scripts to manage collective behavior. This class will identify strategies for the distribution of Texas’ primary historical narratives through material texts, objects, and images found in Austin’s historic sites, memorial markers, museums, archives, and newspapers across the state. We will visit many of these sites and compare their narratives with primary and secondary sources that hold alternative stories to ask why we choose to remember some histories while choosing to forget others. Rhetoric of Texas is a course in composition and persuasion across traditional and untraditional texts. It is designed to enhance students’ ability to: 1) analyze what and who we remember in Texas history; 2) evaluate rhetorical strategies and effects of historical representation in public spaces; 3) explore how history and memory are tied to identity, culture, and beliefs/values 4) investigate how history itself is disseminated persuasively and is leveraged as a rhetorical strategy for public discourse, deliberation, and distribution. This effort will culminate in a multimedia digital storytelling project that asks students to reflect on their own history, their subsequent identity as a “collected” individual, and their rights therefore to publics and public goods. This course aims to sharpen students’ critical reading, writing, and thinking skills across myriad text forms.


Grade Distribution:

  • Reading Response I: 5% Reading Response II: 5%
  • Research Response I: 5% Research Response II: 5%
  • Project Prep Assignment I: 5% Project Prep Assignment II: 5%
  • Unit I Project: 15% Unit II Project: 15%
  • Reading Response III: 5%
  • Research Response III: 5% Textbook Presentation: 10%
  • Project Prep Assignment III: 5% Peer Review: Mandatory
  • Unit III Project: 15% Participation: Invaluable 

Reading list: 

The primary text for this class will be Becoming Rhetorical by Jodie Nicotra and The Little Longhorn Handbook. Other readings will include texts found at UT Library Archives, news articles related to recent debates over history and memorialization, and pages excerpted from: 

  • Naming What We Know by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle
  • Gone to Texas by Randolph B. Campbell
  • Empire for Slavery by Randolph B. Campbell
  • The Conquest of Texas by Gary Clayton Anderson
  • An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewin 
  • Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Tafolla
  • Foreigners in their Native Land by David J. Weber and Arnoldo de León
  • History Ahead: Stories Beyond Texas Roadside Markers by Dan K. Utley and Cynthia J. Beeman
  • Inventing Place: Writing Lone Star Rhetorics edited by Casey Boyle and Jenny Rice
  • Ancient Rhetoric for Contemporary Students by Sharon Crowley and Deborah Hawhee

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Gospels

42470 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 103
show description

This course will treat the gospels as rhetorical texts, rooted in time in place and shaped by the communities they were written for. Students are expected to apply rigorous historical method and careful literary analysis to gain a nuanced understanding of how the leader of a Jewish renewal movement became the object of devotion in earliest Christianity. We’ll explore the strategies each gospel writer uses to achieve purpose for his audience, considering the information the writer selects for presentation; the ordering and apportioning of that information; and the language used. By studying the gospels in this way, we’ll be prompted to consider how these texts — both canonical and non-canonical — emerged from the communities following Jesus. We’ll also consider the form of the gospel itself — what it is, what it is not — as we explore the conventions that governed the first-century Mediterranean world (both social and literary).

In addition to examining the gospels, we’ll consider more recent — and vigorous — arguments about the historical Jesus, as offered by organizations like the Jesus Seminar, and as presented in documentaries like PBS’s From Jesus to Christ and ABC’s The Search for Jesus, in attempting to gain a fuller understanding of the gospels. By exploring both the original arguments and the responses to those arguments, we’ll observe the ongoing conversation that exists regarding the quest for Jesus and the role the gospel writers played in crafting his story.

Assignments and Grading

  • Rhetorical Analysis of Mark and Matthew (20%)
  • Analysis of “Q” Passage (20%)
  • Research Paper on the First Century Mediterranean World (20%)
  • Refutation of Historical Jesus Argument (20%)
  • Midterm exam (10%)
  • Final exam (10%)


There are four principal texts:

  • Gospel Parallels (5th edition), Burton H. Throckmorton Jr., Thomas Nelson.
  • The Gospels and Jesus (2nd edition), Graham Stanton, Oxford University Press.
  • The Historical Jesus — the LIfe of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, John Dominic Crosson, Harper One.
  • Misquoting Jesus, Bart D. Ehrman, HarperOne.

In addition, a course packet includes excerpts from six sources: John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew—Rethinking the Historical Jesus; E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus; Marcus J. Borg and N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus—Two Visions; Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them); Bernard Brandon Scott, Hear Then the Parable—A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus; and Dale C. Allison, Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan and Stephan J. Patterson, The Apocalyptic Jesus—A Debate

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The New South

42485 • Jarman, Cody
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM PAR 206
show description

“Tell about the South. What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all.”—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom

In this course we will consider how southerners have used rhetoric to answer Faulkner’s questions. We will study a variety of mediums, including essays, political speeches, popular music, film, and television and how works in these mediums attempt to define what southerness is. The class will focus on three definitive stages in the development of the ‘idea’ of the south: debates about the future of southern culture in the rapidly industrializing U.S. immediately after World War I, the struggle against racial oppression during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and contemporary depictions of the south, particularly following recent debates regarding confederate flags and monuments. We will discuss works from notable southerners like Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Penn Warren as well as many outspoken voices of the contemporary south like Beyoncé and the southern rock band The Drive-By Truckers. We will devote special attention to the relationship between different versions of the south, discussing how they intersect, comment on one another, and collide.

This course will prepare students to recognize and analyze both the overt argumentation of political speeches and social commentary and the implicit arguments embedded in popular culture. We will work together to better understand the ways the south is mobilized in our national discourse and develop the necessary persuasive and analytical writing skills to contribute to that conversation.

NOTE: This course will address challenging topics. We will be discussing problematic and even blatantly racist perspectives. Students in this class should be prepared to engage with these texts critically and with one another respectfully.


  • Everything’s an Argument
  • W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction (excerpts)
  • Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
  • Robert Penn Warren, Segregation (excerpts)
  • Duck Dynasty, selected scenes
  • OutKast, selected songs
  • The Drive by Truckers, selected songs
  • Beyoncé, selected songs and music videos
  • Queer Eye, selected scenes

Grade Distribution:

  • Participation: 5%
  • Research Summaries: 10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis: 15%
  • Comparative Rhetorical Analysis: 20%
  • Final essay 1: 10%
  • Final essay 2 (revision): 20%
  • Semester blog: 20% (Must produce 5 posts. The blog will be graded for completion at 4% a post)

RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Nsds

42550 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM PAR 103
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

42555 • Welsh, Sarah
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM FAC 7
show description

What does “celebrity” mean after Twitter and Instagram? How do you get attention when there’s so much noise, and similarly, how do you make people forget something you’ve said online when you want them to? In this course, we’ll talk about internet celebrity and digital personas, and examine questions about virality, privacy, and managing your own ethos. In so doing, we’ll think about how we build identities online, how we direct (and redirect) attention, and why we trust these platforms in the first place.

In the first unit, we’ll look at how celebrity is curated on the internet and what methods are used to stay in the spotlight. In the second unit, we’ll look at what happens when celebrity goes wrong and how reputations are ruined. Finally, we’ll consider how those reputations can be reclaimed and managed, even when it comes to our own personal and professional goals. While each unit has a multimedia assignment, no prior facility with technology is required: some classes will be devoted to workshops that will help build these skills.

Required Texts

  • A course packet on Canvas will include selections from the following texts:
  • Abidin, Crystal. Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online. Emerald Publishing Limited, 2018.
  • Hennessy, Brittany. Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media. Citadel Press, 2018.
  • Marwick, Alice E. Status update: Celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age. Yale University Press, 2013.
  • Rettberg, Jill. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology. Palgrave Pivot, 2014 

Assignments and Grading

  • Project 1 | Writing a digital history of fame—webtext/essay (20%)
  • Project 2 | Analysis of a social media disaster—video (20%)
  • Project 3 | Personal branding project—website or social media rehab (20%)
  • Reading Responses (30%)
  • Participation and Attendance (10%)

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

42570 • Ferreira-Buckley, Linda
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 208
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

Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM FAC 10
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

42560 • Longaker, Mark
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM PAR 104
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 325M • Advanced Writing

42575 • Longaker, Mark
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 103
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 • Magazine Writing/Publishing

42580 • Buckley, Tom
Meets W 4:00PM-7:00PM PAR 103
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 Nonprofits

42585 • Sackey, Donnie
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 104
show description

This course equips students with the intellectual, analytical, and persuasive skills necessary for writing in non-profit organizations. We’ll dedicate much time toward analyzing, understanding, and building communication strategies in nonprofit contexts by researching and examining the rhetorical practices made by different organizations across a variety of texts (e.g. from mission statements to newsletters to grants). First, we’ll assess our knowledge regarding how these genres work, for whom and why. Second, we’ll consider methods for learning about the capacities and needs of an organization. Throughout the semester, we’ll have guests from local Austin-area nonprofits, who can help us better understand how writing happens in their organization. This feedback will be helpful as we assemble the former two skills in order to produce the genres associated with nonprofits. This will entail writing proposals, telling stories, working across different media, and developing the assessment measures that are necessary for gauging the success of our communication work. By the end of the semester, you should have a greater awareness of how writing happens in these settings and even leave with a greater level of confidence in pursuing a career in non-profit work.

Note: Although we will work with a group of community partners, students are encouraged to take advantage of and build-upon existing relationships with non-profits. Feel free to contact Dr. Sackey before the beginning of the course to talk over ideas.

Required Materials
Barbato, Joseph and Danielle S. Furlich. Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to

Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits. New York: Fireside, 2000. (ISBN


Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York:

Random House, 2007. (ISBN 978-1-4-0006428-1)

Pallotta, Dan. Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up For Itself and Really Change the World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012. (ISBN 978-1118117521)


Assignments and Grading

  • Genre Assessment Paper – 15%
  • Capacity-Needs Assessment – 20%
  • Proposals – 10%
  • Portfolio– 40%         
  • Participation – 15%

RHE 330C • Rhet And Data Visualization

42595 • 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
  • Participation
  • 15% Peer review, discussion board posts, quizzes

RHE 330C • Rhetorc/Risk/Envrmtl Justce

42600 • Sackey, Donnie
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 104
show description

This course will explore the intersection of rhetoric, social justice, and environment through the theoretical lens of environmental justice. Environmental justice is a framework for analyzing and addressing the inequalities in environmental conditions (benefits and burdens) among communities of varying race/ethnicity and economic class. At the same time, environmental justice presents a deep challenge to mainstream environmental and sustainability frameworks. Within the confines of this course, environmental justice also provides a challenge to rhetoric and writing studies. We will spend the duration of the course making sense of what is that challenge. The course will be divided thematically into interrelated sections that explore different aspects of environmental justice.

Through this course, you will: a) develop theoretical frameworks for understanding how environmental injustice is produced locally, regionally, and globally; b) become more knowledgable about local environmental justice organizations and initiatives; c) gain a better grasp of rhetorical and communicative strategies necessary for addressing environmental justice from the community, government, science, and legal perspectives; d) conduct advanced research by developing a research question; locating, evaluating, and integrating primary and secondary resources; and placing project in the context of relevant scholarship; e) write with fluency, clarity, and style; f) explore opportunities for local community engagement; and g) develop strategies for communicating risk across digital media.  

Texts and Materials

  • Kim  Fortun,  Advocacy  After  Bhopal: Environmentalism,  Disaster,  New  Global  Orders  (2001).
  • David Scholosberg, Defining  Environmental  Justice:  Theories,  Movements,  and  Nature  (2007).
  • David  Naguib  Pellow,  Garbage  Wars:  the  Struggle  for  Environmental  Justice  in  Chicago (2004).

Assignments and Grading

Reading Responses - 15%

  • 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.

Risk Analysis Assessment - 25%

  • The purpose of this paper is to perform an assessment of an existing environmental risk. Although students are encouraged to think about risks that are local to the community of Austin/Travis County, they may also consider risks that scale beyond these boundaries and draw connections between local, regional, and global environments.

Risk Communication Campaign - 25%

  • This project builds upon work from the risk analysis assessment. Students will produce a short podcast   and factsheet that introduces a general audience to the risks associated with a particular environmental justice issue.

Documenting Environment & Risk - 35%

  • In this team project, students will produce a 15-minute documentary short film. Students will be encouraged to propose an idea early in the course.

RHE 330C • Rhetorical Metrics

42605 • Graham, Samuel
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 9
show description

Did you know that Outkast and Wu-Tang Clan use a larger vocabulary in their lyrics than Shakespeare did in his plays? It's true. How do we know this? Because someone actually measured the number of unique words used by different hip hop artists and compared those figures to Shakespearean plays. Hip hop vocabulary is, of course, not the only rhetoric we can measure. Recent studies of Facebook disinformation campaigns and their effects on polarizing the US electorate have found that the actual content overwhelmingly involved feel-good, positive messaging. Most people assumed it was negative, because it was polarizing. But when you actually measure the emotional content of the posts, it turns out that's not true. Do you know that who used the most sophisticated language of any of the candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign? Apparently, it was Ted Cruz. Is that what you would have guessed?

Much of our popular understanding of rhetoric, language, and persuasion is based on instinct and intuition. Rhetorical training offers one very good way of honing that intuition to make it better and more sophisticated. Nevertheless, even the best instincts and intuitions can lead us astray, and sometimes you need to check the numbers behind your ideas about rhetoric in the world. Accordingly, this edition of RHE 330C will provide students with hands-on experience measuring language according to different theories and approaches. This means figuring out what to measure, how to measure it, and then actually measuring it. But, how do you measure the entire collected works of the Wu-Tang Clan and compare it to Shakespeare? Ain't nobody got time for that. You're going to need some help. You're going to need something that can read a whole lot faster than you can.

So, in this course, students will teach computers to read. In so doing, students will explore how to use, create, and analyze computational technologies that assess 1) the complexity and difficulty of persuasive texts, 2) the emotional content of bodies of discourse, and 3) the content itself of persuasive language.

No prior experience is required to complete this course.

Assignments and Grading

  • Take-Home Exercises (20%)
  • Two Practicum Exams (20%)
  • Rhetorical metrics project
    • Custom metric proposal (10%)
    • Metrics tool development (30%)
    • Project report (20%)

Required Texts and Readings

  • Text Mining with R: A Tidy Approach by Julia Silge and David Robinson

Additional readings provided on canvas

RHE 330D • Rhet Inventd/Revised/Retold

42615 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 304
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 Of Racism

42610 • Roberts-Miller, Patricia
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 304
show description

This course, in the history of rhetoric, will focus on the deep past of what we now call racism. When Isocrates, in the fourth century B.C.E., argued that the Athenians should lead Greek culture rather than Spartans because Athenians were "pure in blood", was that a "racist" argument? How was Isocrates' appeal to group stereotypes like, or unlike, Cicero's argument that the witnesses in a case were unreliable because they were Jewish? How was the "blood libel" (that the blood of a young boy was used in religious ceremony) used against early Christians? Was that libel changed when Christians began using it against Jews? Why were so many nineteenth century Americans persuaded by Samuel Morse's bizarre argument that the Jesuits were at the center of a Catholic conspiracy to take over the United States? Why did people find persuasive the argument that the Irish could not be trusted with the vote? How did so many nineteenth century ministers use Scripture to defend slavery, and so many twentieth century ministers use the same texts in defense of segregation? How did so many twentieth century political leaders persuade large numbers of people that genocide was necessary, let alone ethical?

Ranging from fourth century B.C.E. to twentieth century arguments for segregation, this course will explore the rhetorical aspects of appeals to essentialist group identities. Why are they persuasive? When are they most effective? Which aspects recur across cultures and eras, and which ones seem historically and culturally contingent? What is the role science and pseudo science in their effectiveness? What are the most effective methods for countering such appeals?

Course Requirements

Students will write and substantially revise three papers, each one between 1750 and 2500 words. There may be a midterm or final, depending upon student performance. There will be daily short writing assignments.


Students will read primary texts (including objectionable and racist material), rhetorical theory, historical secondaries, and sociological treatments of racism. Primary readings will include Isocrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Chaucer, Morse, defenders of slavery, advocates of segregation, eugenicists, and proponents of genocide. Secondary material will include George Fredrickson's _Racism: A Short History_, Ervin Staub's _The Roots of Evil_, Hannah Arendt's _Eichmann in Jerusalem_, and selections from Kenneth Burke, Chaim Perelman, and George Lakoff.

Course grading:

  • Paper #1                    30%
  • Paper #2                    30%
  • Paper #3                    30%
  • Exam, short work:   10%

RHE 330E • Nonargumntatv Rhet In Zen

42630 • Piekarski, Krzysztof
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 7
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 • Peacemaking Rhetoric

42635 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 306
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Very often we invoke peace as a desirable state of being and of the world. But, what is peace? What does it take to be peaceful? To what extent does our criticism of violence help us get closer to peace? What does peace have to do with rhetoric? We will use these questions to begin our explorations of the rhetoric of peacemaking. The discipline of rhetoric has an enduring investment in countering injustice and pursuing justice and peace.

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

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

Major Assignments and Grading

  • Two researched and substantially revised papers: 60% (30% each)
  • Two presentations: summarizing research undertaken and major findings: 10% (5% each)
  • Participation & Short Writing Assignments: class participation/leading class discussions, responses to freewriting prompts, and/or short writing assignments: 20%
  • Portfolio: comprises a revised research paper and another short writing 10%

Required Texts

A packet of readings, which will include:

  • Chapters/Articles written like Erik Doxtader’s “Reconciliation—A Rhetorical Conception” or With Faith in the Works of Words: The Beginnings of Reconciliation in South Africa 1985-1995; Ellen Gorsevski’s Peaceful Persuasion: The Geopolitics of Nonviolent Communication; John P. Lederach’s The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace; and James J. Kimble “John F. Kennedy, the Construction of Peace, and the Pitfalls of Androgynous Rhetoric.”

Speeches/Texts written by politicians like John F. Kennedy’s “The Strategy of Peace,” national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi’s speech on the eve of the last fast and Martin L. King’s “I have a Dream”, and recognized activists like Rigoberta Menchú’s I, Rigoberta Menchú

RHE 330E • Rhetoric/Political Comedy

42625 • Graham, Samuel
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 9
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While the tradition of political satire dates back to the earliest days of Western democracy, it may have reached a new height in recent years. Following in the footsteps of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update and decades of politically-oriented stand-up comedy, The Daily Show catalyzed a satirical explosion. Recently, we have seen a proliferation of new shows and evolving genres exemplified by The Colbert Report, The Nightly Show, Last Week Tonight, Full Frontal, The Jim Jefferies Show, I Love You, America and many more. Political comedy is now so central to our popular media landscape that its audiences are evaluated alongside mainstream news viewers for their knowledge of the issues of the day. Fascinating and surprisingly, people who watch only The Daily Show turn out to be more informed than those who exclusively watch the news networks the show satirizes. Additionally, the rhetoric of political comedy is having a powerful effect on contemporary public discussions. High profile performances like Stephen Colbert's, Keegan-Michael Key's, and Michelle Wolfe's presentations at various Whitehouse Correspondents' Dinners made national news and most recently resulted in the cancellation of the comedy portion of the evening.

This edition of 330E is devoted to making sense of political comedy as a rhetorical phenomenon. Students will engage questions like 1) What led to the recent enthusiasm for political comedy? 2) How do the ideas of political comedy circulate through and impact our national discourse? 3) What is the relationship between contemporary political comedy and historic satirical genres?

Assignments and Grading

  • Two researched, peer reviewed, and substantially revised papers (60%)
  • Four rhetorical mini-analyses (20%)
  • One analytic presentation (20%) 

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Standing Up, Speaking Out: Stand-Up Comedy and the Rhetoric of Social Change, Matthew R. Meier and Casey R. Schmitt
  • The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests, Chris Smith & John Stewart
  • Additional selected readings to be provided by Canvas.

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

42650 • Henkel, Jacqueline
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 208
show description

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.