Fall 2016 Courses

WR 12200: Writing and Rhetoric Tutorial

Critical Reading and Writing in the Disciplines
Prof. Nicole MacLaughlin / Prof. Damian Zurro
WR 12200-01, 02, and 03 / Days and Times TBD

Students enrolled in Critical Reading and Writing in the Disciplines will have completed or be concurrently enrolled in Writing and Rhetoric 13100, 13200, or 13300. WR 12100 helps students apply rigorous reading and writing strategies in the context of challenging courses across the disciplines. Consisting of two weekly one-on-one sessions and one weekly small-group instruction session, this course offers intensive practice analyzing disciplinary readings and writing assignments. Students will receive individual instruction on how to apply professors’ feedback, and they will learn ethical practices for citation and collaboration. Enrollment by departmental approval.

WR 12300: Advanced Writing and Rhetoric Tutorial

Critical Thinking and English Academic Writing
Prof. Nicole MacLaughlin / Prof. Damian Zurro
WR 12300-01 and 02 / Days and Times TBD

Students enrolled in WR 12200 will have completed or be concurrently enrolled in Writing and Rhetoric 13100, 13200, or 13300. This course will offer strategies for successful written and verbal communication in the English academic context. Students will learn critical thinking practices, developing their capacity for thinking like a scholar in the context of different disciplines. Consisting of one weekly one-on-one instruction session and one weekly guided small-group session, this course helps students to develop an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses and to realize their potential as academic writers. Enrollment by departmental approval.

WR 13100: Writing and Rhetoric

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Joanna Want
WR 13100-02 / MWF 9:25-10:15

In this course, we will explore the ways in which effective writing and rhetorical action position us to affect others and the world we inhabit together. We will also analyze how others seek to affect us through their own writing and rhetorical action.

A premise of this course is that too often “argumentation” is understood simply as the means by which one convinces an audience that one’s own position is right and another’s position is wrong. In part, this course explores how writers might engage in argumentation beyond a framework of winners and losers. Course texts, activities, and discussions will help us address some of the following questions: Is persuasion the sole goal of rhetoric? How might we productively engage with those with whom we have legitimate differences? What is rhetorical listening? How can we open ourselves up to being meaningfully disrupted and even changed by others? How do we effectively and ethically act upon our own convictions through writing and rhetorical action?

Course assignments will ask students to reflect on, develop, and articulate a theory of writing with the goal of helping them to transfer their learning to other writing situations at Notre Dame and beyond. A multi-stage, inquiry-based project that requires both primary and secondary research will allow students to pursue a question that matters to them and one that they believe should also matter to others. Students will compose in multiple genres and work collaboratively at key points in the writing process. Evaluation in this course is based upon the fulfillment of a course contract and the final submission of a multi-genre writing portfolio.

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Joanna Want
WR 13100-03 / MWF 10:30-11:20

In this course, we will explore the ways in which effective writing and rhetorical action position us to affect others and the world we inhabit together. We will also analyze how others seek to affect us through their own writing and rhetorical action.

A premise of this course is that too often “argumentation” is understood simply as the means by which one convinces an audience that one’s own position is right and another’s position is wrong. In part, this course explores how writers might engage in argumentation beyond a framework of winners and losers. Course texts, activities, and discussions will help us address some of the following questions: Is persuasion the sole goal of rhetoric? How might we productively engage with those with whom we have legitimate differences? What is rhetorical listening? How can we open ourselves up to being meaningfully disrupted and even changed by others? How do we effectively and ethically act upon our own convictions through writing and rhetorical action?

Course assignments will ask students to reflect on, develop, and articulate a theory of writing with the goal of helping them to transfer their learning to other writing situations at Notre Dame and beyond. A multi-stage, inquiry-based project that requires both primary and secondary research will allow students to pursue a question that matters to them and one that they believe should also matter to others. Students will compose in multiple genres and work collaboratively at key points in the writing process. Evaluation in this course is based upon the fulfillment of a course contract and the final submission of a multi-genre writing portfolio.

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric, Ethics, and Cultural Community
Prof. Elizabeth Capdevielle
WR 13100-04 / MWF 10:30-11:20

This writing studio course includes guided discussions, intensive workshops, extensive drafting processes, and one-on-one conferences with the professor, all designed to help students sharpen their rhetorical skills and put them to good use in university-level academic writing. Student professionalism is essential in this fun, challenging, and highly focused collaborative environment, as we study the messages that shape our culture today. Assignments and discussions address a wide variety of topics, from politics to commercial advertising to science. Each student completes a major research paper project, developing an original question on a topic that suits his or her own interests and values, while becoming comfortable using an academic research library. Along with taking a leadership role in discussion, each student also practices public speaking by presenting original research in a formal talk. We complete the course with final reflections on rhetoric and ethics in our cultural communities.

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. H. Deborah Kwak
WR 13100-05 / MWF 11:30-12:20

In this course, we’ll see how rhetoric has the power to change the world around us and how writers effectively (or fail to) employ various styles and skills of rhetoric to make this happen. In many of the movements and conflicts we see emerging in the U.S. and around the world, at issue are demands for change and justice. Whether these revolve around economic inequality, civil and political rights, ethnic or religious repression, environmental sustainability, or discrimination on the basis of race, class, gender or sexuality, civic actors in the public sphere are often the carriers of these calls for change. We will study and practice the components of skillful rhetoric and persuasive writing in exploring arguments that articulate important social issues. In order to grow in their writing and rhetoric skills, students will actively participate in guided discussions, collaborative writing workshops, drafting processes, and formal presentations. As we analyze the messages that shape the world around us, students will master the foundations of good writing and rhetoric that are essential for their academic and professional success, and equally important, prepare them to meaningfully contribute to the public sphere in and outside of Notre Dame.

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Joanna Want
WR 13100-07 / MWF 12:50-1:40

In this course, we will explore the ways in which effective writing and rhetorical action position us to affect others and the world we inhabit together. We will also analyze how others seek to affect us through their own writing and rhetorical action.

A premise of this course is that too often “argumentation” is understood simply as the means by which one convinces an audience that one’s own position is right and another’s position is wrong. In part, this course explores how writers might engage in argumentation beyond a framework of winners and losers. Course texts, activities, and discussions will help us address some of the following questions: Is persuasion the sole goal of rhetoric? How might we productively engage with those with whom we have legitimate differences? What is rhetorical listening? How can we open ourselves up to being meaningfully disrupted and even changed by others? How do we effectively and ethically act upon our own convictions through writing and rhetorical action?

Course assignments will ask students to reflect on, develop, and articulate a theory of writing with the goal of helping them to transfer their learning to other writing situations at Notre Dame and beyond. A multi-stage, inquiry-based project that requires both primary and secondary research will allow students to pursue a question that matters to them and one that they believe should also matter to others. Students will compose in multiple genres and work collaboratively at key points in the writing process. Evaluation in this course is based upon the fulfillment of a course contract and the final submission of a multi-genre writing portfolio.

Writing and Rhetoric: Theory, Practice, and Ethics
Prof. Matthew Capdevielle
WR 13100-11 / TR 9:30-10:45

What is the difference between manipulating and convincing someone? Is there anyone with whom we share no common ground? To what degree are we bound to respond to others? These are ethical questions: by their very nature they entail a consideration of our relations with others. And our relations with others take shape in language. This studio/workshop course seeks to explore the ethical issues of reasoned dialogue with special emphasis on persuasion. It is a course in argument as a way of reasoning with others by advancing claims and supporting them with evidence. Through a series of papers and seminar discussions, we will work to see how academic argument is more than just staking out a position and supporting it; argument involves understanding the different ways that issues may be viewed by members of different audiences and communities. In order to gain this perspective, we will work, as Aristotle tells us, to "see the available means of persuasion" in any given situation. This is the art of rhetoric.

Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric of Fr. Hesburgh
Prof. Arnaud Zimmern
WR 13100-13 / TR 9:30-10:45

Given the 150 honorary doctoral degrees to his name, it would be an understatement to say Fr. Hesburgh knew a thing or two about clear and persuasive writing. In the first half of this course, we will study his autobiography and other historic documents in the light of classical rhetoric, discerning how Fr. Hesburgh proved so successful in changing his world through language. In the second half of the course, we will turn to our own writing and research and ponder our roles in remembering, constructing, using, and forgetting cultural heroes. We will move, in other words, from the question "How did Fr. Hesburgh use rhetoric?" to the question "How did Fr. Ted become rhetoric?" Goals for this workshop course include developing strong habits of academic reading, researching, presenting, and writing. We will train to identify and articulate the various modes of persuasion that surround us, from what is on the walls of Hesburgh Library to the walls themselves.

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Nathaniel Myers
WR 13100-14 / TR 2:00-3:15

"I am not a writer; I write." In this course, we will overcome the pressures inherent in being "a writer" (good, bad, or otherwise) in order to emphasize writing as a continual process of improvement, skill-building, and craft-honing. We will encounter and implement various rhetorical strategies through which we will both sharpen our critical faculties towards our cultural landscape and strengthen our ability to make persuasive arguments about that landscape. And we will do all this through the lens of film—film, which has its own rhetorical strategies, which abides by its own grammar, and which will provide a useful counterpoint for considering our writing. Assignments will require you to write in a number of cinematic genres: the review (with accompanying rhetorical analysis), a visual/scene analysis, a scholarly research paper, and finally, a visual essay project (with accompanying analytic reflection paper).

Writing and Rhetoric: The Great Conversation
Prof. Ian Gerdon
WR 13100-15 / TR 3:30-4:45

This course is about the practice of communication and the use of words. When we write, we always write to other people. Consequently, every act of communication is an interpersonal act, with all the complexities that involves. Should you flatter a professor? Is it inappropriate to get something out of a friend by blackmail? Communication always involves ethical issues, which means we have two questions to face in this course: how can we communicate effectively, and how can we communicate ethically? We will address these questions in four parts: first, we will ask basic questions about what rhetoric and ethics are. Second, we will consider what makes for persuasive communication under the headings of credibility, emotional motivation, and reasonable argumentation. Third, we will work to master the mechanics of using language and composing coherent and forceful essays. Finally, we will put all that we have learned in the broader context of the dialogues that shape our society – the ‘great conversation’ into which your Notre Dame education will allow you to enter as a thoughtful, effective, and ethical voice.

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric, Ethics, and Cultural Community
Prof. Elizabeth Capdevielle
WR 13100-16 / MWF 12:50-1:40

This writing studio course includes guided discussions, intensive workshops, extensive drafting processes, and one-on-one conferences with the professor, all designed to help students sharpen their rhetorical skills and put them to good use in university-level academic writing. Student professionalism is essential in this fun, challenging, and highly focused collaborative environment, as we study the messages that shape our culture today. Assignments and discussions address a wide variety of topics, from politics to commercial advertising to science. Each student completes a major research paper project, developing an original question on a topic that suits his or her own interests and values, while becoming comfortable using an academic research library. Along with taking a leadership role in discussion, each student also practices public speaking by presenting original research in a formal talk. We complete the course with final reflections on rhetoric and ethics in our cultural communities.

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Robinson Murphy
WR 13100-17 / TR 5:05-6:20

As students, citizens, and consumers, we are barraged by arguments that attempt to persuade us to think, act, and buy in certain ways. By considering our place in a rhetorically-complex world, we can come to negotiate and weigh with savvy the myriad and competing arguments with which we are daily bombarded. In this class, students can expect to approach writing as a process, promote each other's in-class learning by serving as peer-educators during collaborative writing workshops, and contribute to a broader environment of robust intellectual exchange. In addition to advancing their critical thinking, this class will teach students to conduct college-level research, frame an argument, support claims by providing evidence, engage counterarguments, and communicate in language appropriate for their intended audience. If students work to find writing topics that excite them, then English major and pre-med alike (and everything in between) will leave this course prepared to face the arguments they will encounter in their future academic work, civic engagement, and beyond.

WR 13200: Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric

Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Erik-John Fuhrer
WR 13200-01 / TR 3:30-4:45

In this course you will take ownership over your education and the direction of your projects. Though I will provide specific guidelines, they will be broad enough for you to create something that is meaningful to you. To these ends, we will explore diverse applications of voice, writing style and various types of media to construct meaningful arguments about ourselves, our communities, and the social issues that are important to us. We will experiment not only with what types of arguments to make but also with how to best make them. Would your claims be best exhibited through a collage or a short film or does a traditional essay work better for what you are trying to accomplish? These are the kinds of questions we will ask ourselves in this class. We will be looking at various manifestations of argument, both experimental and more traditional, for inspiration. All I ask is that you be comfortable with taking risks and developing new interests and passions. The classroom is your workshop.

Since this is a Community-Based Learning course it will be a thoroughly hybrid experience, drawing both on classroom interactions and community engagement. Through our partnership with the Robinson Shakespeare Center, we will learn to become better listeners, explorers and community members, all of which will make us better communicators and writers. This experience will help us be more generous and open to each other in class.

Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric: Nature and the Community
Prof. Elizabeth Capdevielle
WR 13200-02 / MWF 2:00-2:50

In this sustainability-focused Writing & Rhetoric course, you’ll spend some time outdoors, refine your ways of thinking and communicating about society and the environment, and enjoy new relationships and experiential learning through service in our local South Bend community. In a unique combination of sustainability work and tutoring, we will assist with a program that gives urban youth the opportunity to explore nature through visits to a local permaculture farm and conservation organization, followed by journaling and essay writing about their experiences. In a given week, you should expect to spend your time in several different types of activity. You’ll do traditional homework like reading academic and literary articles, drafting papers, and revising your own writing as you prepare for discussion of rhetorical texts and concepts in our ND classroom. But you’ll also spend some of your time outside of class in non-traditional ways, such as working outdoors in a farmyard, prairie, wetland, or woods, and working at a community center as a tutor and discussion partner to a middle school or high school student. These core service experiences will shape our discussions of rhetoric and writing, as we analyze texts that send certain messages about environmentalism, social responsibility, identity, and community. You will develop college-level research and writing skills through essay and presentation assignments that help you shape your own ethos as a member of both the university community and the wider community beyond our campus boundaries.

Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Ed Kelly
WR 13200-03 / TR 11:00-12:15

I ask students to build community both within and without the classroom, to be responsible for one another and for the community members whom they serve. In class--through reading, writing, and discussion--we’ll focus on issues related to social justice (particularly criminal justice) and on the skills needed to construct rhetorically strong arguments. Outside class, students can choose to serve at either the Juvenile Justice Center, working with temporarily incarcerated youths, or the Dismas House, a venue committed to helping formerly incarcerated people to re-enter society. Each requires about a two-and one-half hour time commitment one night a week for ten to twelve weeks. In addition to argumentative essays, I require students to write two critical reflections on their service experience. Interested in exploring and serving the common good? Sign up.

WR 13300: Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Persuasion and Visual Culture
Prof. Jeremy Davidheiser
WR 13300-01 / MWF 8:20-9:10 

In this course, we will focus on the rhetorical work that visual culture does in our everyday lives. New forms of digital technology mean that we are constantly saturated with images, and we can often overlook the ways that images, like words, communicate messages and persuade consumers. Beginning with the most basic still images and ranging over many forms of online media, television, and film, this course will give you a vocabulary for discussing the means of persuasion and captivation images employ. We will discuss images both as unique media with unique rules and as profoundly diverse media capable of being paired with ambient sound, spoken dialogue, and written captions. Because this is a writing course, we will also spend much of our time workshopping and learning to write persuasively about the rhetorical strategies of visual media. The variety of media we will discuss and write about in this course will be answered with diverse writing assignments, preparing you to write successfully and with nuance as you continue your career at Notre Dame and beyond.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric of Conflict
Prof. Chamara Moore
WR 13300-02 / MWF 9:25-10:15 

Human rights activist Dorothy Thomas once said, "Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it." We face conflict frequently in the various media we encounter in our every day lives: news, political cartoons, film, television, music, advertising, and social media to name a few. How do Batman and The Joker use different rhetorical strategies in their opposition? What about W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, or Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? What about similar rhetorical arguments in a battle of tweets or Facebook comments? These different forms of conflict have shaped our history and continue to shape our lives. This course will allow us to think critically about these and other disagreements in literature and media. After identifying how rhetoric works in our media-driven society, we will then analyze the choices and ethical responsibilities involved in creating a rhetorical argument—such as voice, purpose, audience, and evidence--and we will put these considerations into practice in the construction of our own rhetorically sound arguments. At the end of this course, we will come away with a toolkit for more effective, ethical argumentation, writing, and revision.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: How Meaning Is Made in the Information Age
Prof. Robert Palermo
WR 13300-03 / MWF 10:30-11:20 

As the course title suggests, our topics for the semester are writing and rhetoric. Rhetoric is the theory and practice of argument, and writing is the primary means by which we will construct rhetoric in this class. We approach our topic from a multimedia standpoint, because today it is essential to understand rhetoric beyond its traditional presentation as written or spoken text. We will do this through a careful analysis of the ways in which film, digitalization, the 24-hour news cycle, and social media impact the arguments we hear and make. Our readings, films, and other texts will examine the relationship between digital technology and the process of rhetorical construction. This class has two goals. The first is to analyze and understand rhetoric. When we undertake course readings this semester, including viewing films, artwork, and parsing traditional text, we will do so for the purposes of investigating how the authors are trying to construct persuasive arguments. What argument is being made? How is it being constructed? Who is the audience? Is it convincing? Why or why not? The second is the construction of rhetoric through writing, the crafting of well constructed, persuasive, and ethical arguments.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Communicating Identity in Community
Prof. Amy Nelson
WR 13300-04 / MWF 11:30-12:20 

There are seemingly endless ways to express and negotiate identity in the several communities of which we each are a part. Categories such as gender, race, and religion play daily roles in cultural discourse, and that discourse is now spread across a variety of multimedia platforms, presenting both opportunities and challenges to how we are able to deliver our own points of view. In this course we will analyze the ways in which people argue and make meaning through the use of rhetorical tools. You will strengthen your critical thinking skills as you learn how to successfully identify and craft arguments through the written word as well as through audio and visual media. By the end of the course you will be able to more effectively engage with your communities, ready to act as a thoughtful, informed, and ethical global citizen.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: What Does it Mean to Right?
Prof. Michael Ball
WR 13300-05 / MWF 2:00-2:50 

What does it mean to hold an opinion? When we offer our opinions to others, what might we expect? Will they be swayed? Should they be? How shall we regard the opinions of others? Whom do we expect might influence our own thinking? Do contested questions have a right answer? What does it mean to be right?

We live in a connected world. Opinions abound and are shared so often and so easily that they may be distinguished more by their passion than by the basis on which they are formed. But here in the academy, you will be asked to make reasoned judgments, to argue rationally for a particular view of what is "real" or "true." Your task in a community of scholars will be to persuade, to commend to others a view based upon evidence while acknowledging that other views may be reasonable too.

In the class, drawing on readings and on multimedia sources, we will examine what has become of public discourse in our day. We will consider the nature of partisanship and the effect it may have on deliberation. We will engage in lively discussion and learn to appreciate the interplay of ideas that may advance our knowledge of each other and of the world. In addition, we will examine the various types of evidence with which an argument might be supported. We will build a bedrock upon which you will learn to advance a thesis and to persuade thoughtful readers to your position.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric(s) of Laughter in the 21st Century
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-07 / TR 11:00-12:15 

This course is an introduction to writing, rhetoric, and research. Though each of these terms can be defined in numerous ways, we will focus most carefully on writing as a process of constructing meaning with symbols, rhetoric as the craft of using those symbols to achieve an argumentative purpose, and research as a process of investigation and analysis. While these concepts have long been cornerstones of liberal arts education, digital culture and media continue to transform the ways we experience writing, rhetoric, and research in the 21st Century. This course will explore these intersections between rhetorical theory and contemporary media, with particular attention toward the role of humor in public argument. While satire and comedy continue to be championed as important forms of non-violent rhetoric, instances such as the January 2015 shootings at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo reveal the underlying seriousness and risk involved with deploying humor as argument. Such cases reveal, too, the import of medium to message and the role that social media continues to play in shaping, circulating, and archiving public debate. Throughout the term, students will analyze and produce arguments across a variety of media platforms, including audio, video, blogs, photography, posters, infographics, and traditional print.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Ethical Discourses across Media
Prof. Kasey Swanke
WR 13300-08 / TR 11:00-12:15 

Albus Dumbledore remarked that "words are our most inexhaustible source of magic--capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it." Every day we encounter words and arguments, some of which are injurious to discourse and some of which promote peace, fairness, and dialogue. Focusing on issues of contemporary and ethical significance, we will learn how to use words (as well as images, sounds, and other forms of media) to persuade others in ways that serve ourselves and our audiences.​

The content of this course prepares you for writing successfully in your current and future courses at Notre Dame. Each class that you take here will introduce you to specific conversations regarding topics of moral, political, scientific, and intellectual significance. Most often, these conversations are not simple, but instead quite complicated. Thinking about them often requires qualifications, trade-offs, and excruciating honesty. Navigating and responding to them well requires a keen understanding of argumentation and presentation tactics. While ​we develop a diverse rhetorical toolkit and strategies for successful writing, our ​multimedia ​focus lends us a distinct advantage: you will sharpen​ these important skills within the context of a variety of rhetorical ​modes spanning memes, campaign ads, and scholarly journal articles, to name just a few.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Aristotelian Arguments in a Digital Age
Prof. Patrick Clauss
WR 13300-09 / TR 12:30-1:45 

Two thousand years ago, someone wanting to share a message--to influence others--had a rather limited set of options: That person could write a letter, shout in a public place, or perhaps send up smoke signals. Today, communicators have an unprecedented number of options, including television, radio, cell phones, YouTube, Twitter . . . the list goes on. Available media have exploded in recent years. However, have the fundamental components of the messages themselves also changed? What about ethical argument methods and structures--have they changed, too? Finally, what might we learn about digital arguments, for instance, from Aristotle’s classic On Rhetoric? Such questions will guide our work this semester as we investigate the ways humans use (and misuse) symbols, like language, to influence others in the 21st century.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric(s) of Laughter in the 21st Century
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-10 / TR 12:30-1:45 

This course is an introduction to writing, rhetoric, and research. Though each of these terms can be defined in numerous ways, we will focus most carefully on writing as a process of constructing meaning with symbols, rhetoric as the craft of using those symbols to achieve an argumentative purpose, and research as a process of investigation and analysis. While these concepts have long been cornerstones of liberal arts education, digital culture and media continue to transform the ways we experience writing, rhetoric, and research in the 21st Century. This course will explore these intersections between rhetorical theory and contemporary media, with particular attention toward the role of humor in public argument. While satire and comedy continue to be championed as important forms of non-violent rhetoric, instances such as the January 2015 shootings at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo reveal the underlying seriousness and risk involved with deploying humor as argument. Such cases reveal, too, the import of medium to message and the role that social media continues to play in shaping, circulating, and archiving public debate. Throughout the term, students will analyze and produce arguments across a variety of media platforms, including audio, video, blogs, photography, posters, infographics, and traditional print.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Aristotelian Arguments in a Digital Age
Prof. Patrick Clauss
WR 13300-11 / TR 2:00-3:15 

Two thousand years ago, someone wanting to share a message--to influence others--had a rather limited set of options: That person could write a letter, shout in a public place, or perhaps send up smoke signals. Today, communicators have an unprecedented number of options, including television, radio, cell phones, YouTube, Twitter . . . the list goes on. Available media have exploded in recent years. However, have the fundamental components of the messages themselves also changed? What about ethical argument methods and structures--have they changed, too? Finally, what might we learn about digital arguments, for instance, from Aristotle’s classic On Rhetoric? Such questions will guide our work this semester as we investigate the ways humans use (and misuse) symbols, like language, to influence others in the 21st century.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric(s) of Laughter in the 21st Century
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-12 / TR 2:00-3:15 

This course is an introduction to writing, rhetoric, and research. Though each of these terms can be defined in numerous ways, we will focus most carefully on writing as a process of constructing meaning with symbols, rhetoric as the craft of using those symbols to achieve an argumentative purpose, and research as a process of investigation and analysis. While these concepts have long been cornerstones of liberal arts education, digital culture and media continue to transform the ways we experience writing, rhetoric, and research in the 21st Century. This course will explore these intersections between rhetorical theory and contemporary media, with particular attention toward the role of humor in public argument. While satire and comedy continue to be championed as important forms of non-violent rhetoric, instances such as the January 2015 shootings at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo reveal the underlying seriousness and risk involved with deploying humor as argument. Such cases reveal, too, the import of medium to message and the role that social media continues to play in shaping, circulating, and archiving public debate. Throughout the term, students will analyze and produce arguments across a variety of media platforms, including audio, video, blogs, photography, posters, infographics, and traditional print.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Randal Sean Harrison
WR 13300-14 / TR 3:30-4:45 

Anyone who wishes to make a positive difference in the world is advised to master the practical art of rhetoric to move others to think, feel, and act in the world. Of course, facing the burgeoning array of media available to us as contemporary communicators, the genres and rhetorical situations have multiplied and grown in both technological and cultural complexity. Assuming you are down to promote social justice and other social good, this course will ask you to identify and engage in academic research around a social problematic—an urgent social question or crisis of sorts—and communicate that exigency through the multimedia genre of your choosing. In order to arrive at this strongly persuasive final multimedia text, we will spend the semester learning not only how to use a library to write academic research, but also studying the practical arts of written and visual rhetoric for communicating your findings across a variety of possible media/genres, including textual essays, comics, posters, infomercials, films, TED Talks, and other multimedia/multimodal genres. It’s going to be seriously rad.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Persuasion in the Public Sphere
Prof. Sarah Coogan
WR 13300-15 / TR 12:30-1:45 

Freedom of speech has been a cherished ideal in the United States from its inception. It is easy to formulate a defense of the necessity of free speech; it is far more difficult to exercise our own freedom of speech well. In this election year, we can find many examples of speech used to manipulate, to obfuscate, and even to deceive. Examples of effective and ethical communication are less common. With this in mind, the aims of our course are, first, to develop tools with which to evaluate the speech that surrounds us, written and spoken, print and digital; second, to hone our own communication skills so that we may clearly, ethically, and persuasively share our ideas with others.

This course will particularly focus on the development of academic writing skills, but will also involve components of public speaking and social media communication. We will approach these media from the perspective of classical rhetorical theory, a discipline that has shaped the communication practices of many of history’s great thinkers, philosophers, and, yes, even politicians. The aim of developing these skills is not only to make students more educated, employable, or successful, but also to develop habits of clear thinking, listening, and speaking that will enrich our relationships and contribute to positive and productive dialogue in our communities.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Writing for Digital Natives
Prof. Micah Towery
WR 13300-16 / MWF 8:20-9:10 

Do you miss your brain before the internet? Do you even remember life before the internet? Probably not. If not, you are a ‘digital native.’ This writing class is for you--and about you, in a way. It's about rhetoric in the mediums that define communication today. In this course, we will range the mediums and modes that define our digital-age rhetoric--from Tinder and first-person journalism to Wikipedia's "Neutral Point of View."

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Rachel Hanks
WR 13300-17 / TR 9:30-10:45 

In this course we will look at the gaps between different perceptions of the world as the space where argument, rhetoric and persuasion can occur. This class will argue that constructive and competent arguments usually start from an effort to understand and respect the perspectives of their audience and hone the argument to suit its context. In our study of how to bridge the gaps between perspectives, we will learn to select approaches, rhetorical techniques and media to best suit the context of the discussion. We will look at more than just traditional print media as platforms for argument—we’ll also analyze the arguments of images, movies, advertisements, the layout of physical spaces, and social media, and craft arguments in both print and non-print media. As we compose and revise arguments for a variety of situations and audiences, we’ll also cultivate an ethics of argumentation—what is the difference between using an understanding of your audience to persuade, and using it to manipulate? How can we be responsible citizens while wielding words, which Albus Dumbledore called "our most inexhaustible source of magic--capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it?"

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Multicontextual Rhetoric and Discourse
Prof. Amanda Bohne
WR 13300-18 / TR 5:05-6:20 

As students, you will spend much of your time looking at print works, but you look at images and writing in other contexts every day, just as people did before the digital and printing revolutions. Whether or not you seek them out, rhetorical messages reach you and you probably have a sense of how to respond. Listening to a prepared speech, watching a documentary or following a link that a friend posts on Facebook, you already know how to “read” your own culture and respond to it in a general sense. In this class, you will develop these perceptive skills to create strong, critically-aware arguments in your papers or any other medium you choose to communicate your point of view. At the same time, you will gain a deeper understanding of how modern multimedia discourse draws on pre-digital traditions.