Course Descriptions

Courses in the Writing and Rhetoric Program offer students the opportunity to develop expertise in writing for academic, professional, community, and personal purposes. The course work provides practice in writing in a range of genres, editing and style, and digital media. Courses also investigate rhetoric, information technology, the politics of language use, and language and identity.

Course Catalog for WRITING AND RHETORIC
RHET 100
How Writing Works
This course, taught at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic, is an interdisciplinary writing course whose goal is to develop and refine students’ facility with the stages of preparing, drafting, and revising analytical essays. Assignments will include readings from a variety of disciplines as well as frequent short essays that will culminate in a sustained final project. The course will be taught in 7 workshops. Each workshop will be 3 hours long. The workshops will occur twice a week for three and a half weeks.
0.50 units, Seminar
RHET 102
American Writing and Academic Culture
This is a four-week program designed for students who want to strengthen their academic English language skills for college. The course is geared toward students who speak English at an intermediate level or higher. Students will be exposed to college-level reading, writing, and speaking, in order to develop the skills, fluency, and confidence to communicate more effectively in English at the college level. Open to advanced high school students, incoming first-year students, and rising sophomores. The course consists of nine contact hours per week, including local trips and peer-mentoring sessions.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 103
College Writing
An introduction to the art of expository writing, with attention to analytical reading and critical thinking in courses across the college curriculum. Assignments offer students opportunities to read and write about culture, politics, literature, science, and other subjects. Emphasis is placed on helping students to develop their individual skills.
This course is not open to juniors or seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 125
Writing for a Digital World
As reading and writing shift from pages to screens, images and other visual elements are becoming increasingly important to successful writing. This course is designed to help students think critically about the role of the visual in written communication today. Using digital design tools in combination with academic writing skills such as research and drafting, students will develop strategies and skills for blending images and words effectively in a range of genres and contexts - both digital and printed, academic and professional.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 128
Writing and Mindfulness
In this course, you will analyze theories of mindfulness and engage in classroom exercises designed to demonstrate how contemplative practices can improve writing. Through a writing-workshop approach, you will write and revise analytical essays; you will also write regular informal reflections on a range of readings and practices. The ultimate goal of the course is to teach you to harness the complexities of your internal and external experiences in order to generate thoughtful and original writing.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 135
Analytical Thinking and Writing
This writing workshop is designed for students who would like to improve their ability to read texts in many disciplines actively and critically and to write strong, thoughtful analytical papers. Students will focus on developing strategies for discovering meaning, identifying analytical elements, and evaluating claims and evidence. Writing assignments will allow students to practice these strategies by writing critical analyses and responses to texts, current events, lectures, and films.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 140
The Rhetoric of Narrative
In this course, we will look at the rhetoric of narrative, with an emphasis on narratives that cut across cultures to see how people in different places use narrative structures to construct their realities from their everyday lives, imagined lives, and the presumed lives of others. We will write our own narratives and analyze them to see how we create our reality from the essentially chaotic matter of everyday life. Readings will include prison diaries, war journals, film and television scripts, and hypertexts.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 145
Autobiography and Activism
A writing workshop focusing on autobiographical writing that is informed by an interest in the world at-large. We will read various writers who combine their personal stories with their political, environmental, and social activism, such as Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, and Angela Davis. Students will write their own reflective autobiographical essays.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 202
Writing in the Disciplines
Students in this course will explore a variety of genres in scholarly, professional, and public writing. Students will learn to identify and use the conventions of these genres and to make effective rhetorical choices in their writing. Students will engage in writing frequently and intensively to improve overall learning in their discipline. The course will facilitate student involvement with particular bodies of knowledge, their methods of scholarship, and modes of communication.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 208
Argument and Research Writing
A writing workshop emphasizing the development of argumentation and research skills. Students learn how to read and evaluate logical arguments, formulate research questions, explore print and electronic resources, and frame persuasive arguments in papers of substantial length. Frequent practice in writing and revising.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 215
Writing the Personal Essay
What makes an excellent personal essay work? We’ll explore this question as both readers and writers. In response to essays by Zadie Smith, Phillip Lopate, D.F. Wallace, and others, you’ll engage with the class in daily reflective writings and discussions. At the same time, you will be working on your own piece—by the end of the course you will have written, revised, and polished a 7-10 page personal essay.
0.50 units, Seminar
RHET 216
Writing the Personal Essay
Writing effective personal essays--those that make private experiences and thoughts relevant to the larger world--is more complicated than it may seem. It requires both that we question and analyze our immediate perceptions, and that we have the patience to discover intriguing structures that do justice to our ideas. This class is a writing workshop that will allow you to explore the form by shaping your own experiences and reflections into well-structured, thoughtful essays. Readings include a range of writers who approach the personal essay in divergent ways; they will offer inspiration as well as instruction in the craft.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 225
The Rhetoric of Broad Street
This course combines community learning and writing as a means of discovering how we define others and ourselves through journals, diaries, essays, and stories. Students explore Broad Street as a social and cultural metaphor, with a wide variety of readings depicting “the other” and reflecting the voices of members of underprivileged and privileged classes throughout history. Students perform community service as a part of course activities.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 226
Writing about Places
This class is a workshop for students interested in writing about "place", which can refer to nature, rooms, buildings, streets, public squares, landscapes, towns, cities, countries, or any physical worlds. Students will write essays in various forms, from travel writing to many other reflections about issues arising from the interactions between people and places. Readings include a range of essays exploring diverse approaches to place.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 260
What is Rhetoric and Composition?
How do human beings effectively communicate with one another? What strategies do we use to speak and write persuasively? What are the best ways to learn to write? How do social, cultural, political, linguistic, and other elements of human life impact the ways we write, speak, and learn to write? How do visual and textual literacies relate to questions of race, gender, and power? These are the central questions of Rhetoric and Composition – a field that stretches from the ancient world to the 21st century college writing classroom and continues to pursue these questions in our ever-changing world. In this course, we will explore how scholars in Rhetoric and Composition have approached, answered, and complicated these questions.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 300
The Art of the Essay
An advanced writing workshop intended to help students find their own subjects and styles as essayists. We will read and write personal essays that express authors’ unique responses to ideas and experiences in deeply reflective ways. Our study will include essays by Seneca, Montaigne, Woolf, Dillard, and others from various historical periods that have explored their responses to the world in engaging and complex detail.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 302
Writing Theories and Practices
This course investigates the theories and practices of writing consultation in North American university writing centers as informed by studies in composition pedagogy, literacy, and rhetoric. Students will be introduced to the broad range of topics found at the intersection of practice and theory in writing centers, including socio-cultural dynamics, grammar instruction, English as a Second Language, learning disorders, critical reading, writing processes, and interpersonal communication. The course will encourage students to create new knowledge about writing and tutor research. By invitation only. For students admitted to the Writing Associates Program.
1.00 units, Lecture
RHET 315
Writing in the Public Sphere: Theory and Practice
This course is a writing workshop in which students will explore the theory as well as the practice of language in the public sphere. Students will write and revise long and short essays aimed at various sources of news and information; they will also analyze those sources. Possible questions include: How do written words affect the process by which public opinion is formed? How can writing best promote public dialogue and deliberation? How is our concept of "writing" evolving in a changing digital landscape? How do various personalities and perspectives gain cultural prominence? How can we best participate as writers in the public sphere? Students will follow current issues with a goal of participating through writing in public conversations.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 320
Queer Rhetorics
This class is open to anyone interested in learning how rhetoric can create new knowledges and perspectives on diversity and inclusion. Specifically, we will apply rhetorical methodologies to US history, popular culture, politics, and law to research the formation of LGBTQ identities alongside mainstream identities in America. Our course moves from the rhetoric surrounding the 1960s Stonewall Riots through current debates about Don't Ask Don't Tell and gay marriage. We also investigate the influence of alternative rhetorics, such as the subversive use of social media activism and the spatial arguments of gender neutral bathrooms. Students will take away the ability to rhetorically navigate key dialogues about gender and sexuality, as well as articulate how these debates influence research and knowledge creation in their majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 330
Macho Rhetorics
From a rhetorical standpoint, what does it mean to argue there are multiple models of masculinity? Using rhetorical methodologies, where could we locate these masculinities: in bodies, social interactions, or culture? This course focuses on the relationship between rhetoric and masculinities. After delving into rhetoric's gendered history, we will investigate how scholars in different disciplines rhetorically construct men and masculinities through their writing and research practices. We will never lose track of how rhetoric also shapes our daily lives. In particular, we will explore how our experiences on campus connect to global discussions about masculinity. Students from any discipline will find productive opportunities to apply the study the rhetoric and masculinity to work in their majors, while learning how research is conducted in other disciplines.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 340
Rhetorics of the Body and Activism
From wearing campaign buttons to lying in front of bulldozers, people use their bodies to make arguments and communicate ideas. This course will explore the concept of rhetorics of the body, which studies how people use their bodies in symbolic communication. We will begin by reading a series of texts theorizing the relationship between rhetoric and the body and how the body both constructs and is constructed by rhetorical communication. Students will research projects that explore the rhetorical situation and strategies of a specific activist or demonstration.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 360
Rhetorics of Law and Violence
Law is an assemblage of words that rhetorically shape our reality. It affects human behavior, directs human choices, and even has the power to end human lives. This course will explore the nature of law as a rhetorical construct and law's complex relationship to violence. Students will study the work of legal and rhetorical scholars who challenge common views of law as objective or apolitical and then consider the rhetorical role of violence in the law via theoretical texts and case studies. While the course will focus on the legal system in the United States, the final project will provide an opportunity to expand our scope to an international scale.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 395
Academic Internship
Internship or field work placement, with a required academic component to be determined by the faculty sponsor and student. Students need to submit a completed internship contract form to Career Services. Students will not be enrolled until the contract has been approved.
1.00 units, Independent Study
RHET 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Writing Center director are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
RHET 406
Composition Pedagogy
Language and literacy have always served as lightning rods for social and political issues, as well as for conflicts of theory and practice in education. This course will explore the contemporary teaching of writing, with attention to the range of current pedagogies in US colleges. We will examine influences of 20th-century revival of rhetoric, process and post-process writing, cultural and feminist studies, cognitive theory, the digital revolution, and the implications of "the global turn" for 21st-century students and teachers of writing. For undergraduate English majors, this course counts as an elective.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 410
Modern Reception of Ancient Rhetorics
This course examines the history of rhetorics in the western tradition by focusing on major authors from ancient days to the twenty-first century. Alternatives to the western tradition are explored by reading representative cultural rhetorics and women's rhetorics. The course will showcase the relationship between rhetoric and political action as well as the search for knowledge.
1.00 units, Seminar
RHET 466
Teaching Assistant
Students may assist professors as teaching assistants, performing a variety of duties usually involving assisting students in conceiving or revising papers; reading and helping to evaluate papers, quizzes, and exams; and other duties as determined by the student and instructor. See instructor of specific course for more information. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
RHET 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office and the approval of the instructor is are required. (2 course credits are considered pending in the first semester; 2 course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester.)
2.00 units, Independent Study
RHET 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office and the approval of the instructor is required. (2 course credits are considered pending in the first semester; 2 course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester.)
2.00 units, Independent Study
RHET 499
Thesis
One semester thesis
1.00 units, Independent Study