Curriculum

RHET 101 Writing

An introduction to the art of expository writing, with attention to analytical reading and critical thinking in subjects across the college curriculum. Assignments offer students opportunities to read and write about culture, politics, literature, science, and other topics. Emphasis is placed on helping students to develop their individual skills.


RHET 103 Special Writing Topics

Telling Stories in the Postmodern World—A writing workshop on storytelling, with an emphasis on narratives that cut across cultures to see how people in different places 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.


RHET 103 Special Topics:

Thoughts of Peace and War This class is a writing workshop, focusing on writing and revising academic essays. The readings will involve issues of peace and war, and will lead us into the following sorts of questions: Why do countries go to war? What are the effects of war on people? How have people worked for peace, and how can they/we continue to do so? What role does gender play in war? Readings include personal stories like Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone as well as writings by philosophers, psychologists, and others about the causes and effects of war and peace.


RHET 103 Special Writing Topics

Literature and Film Emphasizing instruction and practice in writing, this course will explore the nature of narrative in literature and film. Where do stories come from? How do they get told? What kind of culture produces a particular work? To answer these questions, students will examine a series of paired literary texts and creative films, including The Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, and Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours. 1.00 units, Lecture


RHET 202 Expository Writing Workshop

This intermediate workshop is designed for students who have achieved mastery in introductory-level college writing and who want to refine their writing abilities. Students will focus on developing stylistic strategies and techniques when writing for numerous purposes and audiences. Students will choose from these writing forms: interview, travel article, op-ed piece, memoir, sports article, criticism, humor, and science and technology article.


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.


RHET 225 Writing “Broad Street” Stories

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.


RHET 226 The Spirit of Place:

Writing with an Active/Reflective Eye In this course we will write about "place," and explore how writers render ideas of location, nature, and the environment, ranging from wilderness to city streets. We will move from simple descriptions to an exploration of the larger issues that arise in the interactions between people and places. Readings will include Gretel Erlich and Barry Lopez, among others, who have artfully evoked the spirit of place.


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.


RHET 302 Writing Theory and Practice

A study of the art of discourse, with special emphasis on the dynamics of contemporary composition and argumentation. This course examines rhetorical theory from the Classical period to the New Rhetoric, as well as provides students with frequent practice in varied techniques of composing and evaluating expository prose. A wide selection of primary readings across the curriculum will include some controversial ideas about writing from Plato’s Phaedrus, the heart of Aristotle’s Rhetoric, and examples of the best writing in the arts and sciences. By invitation only—for students admitted to the Writing Associates Program.


RHET 331 The Art of Argument

An advanced interdisciplinary workshop in argumentation, with frequent practice in writing and speaking. Students will explore the dynamics of language and logic in a variety of contemporary contexts, as well as engage in interactive debates on both academic and "real world" topics.


RHET 338 Political Rhetoric and the Media

George Orwell called political language “the defense of the indefensible,” and yet democracies need a lively public culture of argument and debate in order to come to terms with complex issues, define values, make decisions, and solve problems. This course will explore the contemporary state of our political rhetoric in the United States, with a focus on the dynamic interactions of television, radio, print, and cyberspace. Students will participate in electronic discussions with peers across the country as they debate current issues generated by national election campaigns. 


RHET 802/404 Theory and Practice of Rhetoric

Aristotle defined Rhetoric over 2,000 years ago as "the art of discovering, in any given case, the available means of persuasion." This course is designed to introduce students to the theoretical traditions of this art of persuasion and its transmission from classical to contemporary times. We will test theory against practice as we examine multiple modes of expression in oral, print, and electronic cultures. Emphasis will be placed on exploring the effects of rhetorical action and interaction on the lives of communities, along with analyzing the dynamics of evolving social and structural concepts of author, audience, purpose, and genre—ranging from classical orations to personal essays to hypertext webs. Students will have an opportunity to experiment with as well as study genres of interest to them. This course is required of English master's students in the new concentration: writing, rhetoric, and media arts.


RHET 891/406 Contemporary Composition Studies

In the past few decades, the teaching of writing has become subject to intense theoretical analysis and debate, and this course will explore the burgeoning field of composition studies. We will look first at the history of composition instruction in the United States from the 19th century to the present, and then examine the competing theoretical frameworks that currently inform the teaching of writing. We will read Mina Shaughnessy, James Berlin, Peter Elbow, David Bartholomae, Patricia Bizzell, and many others, considering the larger philosophical and political differences that are reflected in struggles over how writing should be taught. (Note: English 406 and English 891 are the same course.) For English majors, this course counts as an elective; for writing and rhetoric minors, it counts as a core course. For the English graduate program, this course counts as a core course for the writing, rhetoric, and media arts track; it counts as an elective for the literary studies track.