Spring 2018 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: Rhetorics of the Digital
Prof. Nathaniel Myers
WR 13100-01 / TR 2:00-3:15

Is it possible that, by the time you finish college, a machine will be able to write essays better than you, your classmates, and your professors? Well, not likely for any of us -- and yet, we live in a world where this situation doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Already it is clear that our digital, screen-saturated world exerts a powerful effect on us, from the way we send and receive information to how we understand that information, such that we seem as much a tool of our computers and iPhones as they are for us. We live our lives through an Instagram filter, in the 140-character tweet, and with a 10-second Snapchat video. In this course, we will consider the rhetorics of our digital world and the literacies (visual, digital, information) we require to negotiate that world, literacies we are already, however unwittingly, quite skilled in. Alongside text-based scholarship, we will draw on film, video essays, and other media platforms to formulate our own claims, discussion, and writing around topics like new media, information literacy and "post-truth" culture, and digital-born composition and argumentation. Assignments will include a visual analysis paper, a research paper focusing on the aforementioned topics, and a final assignment that integrates personal narrative with digital-born argument.

Writing and Rhetoric: Environmental Ethics
Prof. Robinson Murphy
WR 13100-02 / TR 12:30-1:45

As the global population approaches eight billion, and livable terrain diminishes in the face of coastal erosion and inland desertification, we are confronting a planet on which a rising population is being greeted by ever less habitable space. The way we understand population growth, climate change and species extinction is (mis-)informed by popular and scholarly arguments, which get transmitted through television, film, internet videos, music, as well as more conventional print media. This diverse array of rhetorical occasions, and the strategies of persuasion they exhibit, will guide our investigation into twenty-first century environmental issues and the ethical questions they raise. How can we best serve the needs of the present without compromising future generations? Do we have obligations to animals, plants, species and ecosystems? As college-educated citizens endowed with rhetorical wherewithal, what is our responsibility during a time of ecological crisis?

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Matthew Capdevielle
WR 13100-03 / 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: 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: Environmental Ethics
Prof. Robinson Murphy
WR 13100-05 / TR 11:00-12:15

As the global population approaches eight billion, and livable terrain diminishes in the face of coastal erosion and inland desertification, we are confronting a planet on which a rising population is being greeted by ever less habitable space. The way we understand population growth, climate change and species extinction is (mis-)informed by popular and scholarly arguments, which get transmitted through television, film, internet videos, music, as well as more conventional print media. This diverse array of rhetorical occasions, and the strategies of persuasion they exhibit, will guide our investigation into twenty-first century environmental issues and the ethical questions they raise. How can we best serve the needs of the present without compromising future generations? Do we have obligations to animals, plants, species and ecosystems? As college-educated citizens endowed with rhetorical wherewithal, what is our responsibility during a time of ecological crisis?

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric, Ethics, and Cultural Community
Prof. Elizabeth Capdevielle
WR 13100-06 / 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: Environmental Ethics
Prof. Robinson Murphy
WR 13100-07 / TR 3:30-4:45

As the global population approaches eight billion, and livable terrain diminishes in the face of coastal erosion and inland desertification, we are confronting a planet on which a rising population is being greeted by ever less habitable space. The way we understand population growth, climate change and species extinction is (mis-)informed by popular and scholarly arguments, which get transmitted through television, film, internet videos, music, as well as more conventional print media. This diverse array of rhetorical occasions, and the strategies of persuasion they exhibit, will guide our investigation into twenty-first century environmental issues and the ethical questions they raise. How can we best serve the needs of the present without compromising future generations? Do we have obligations to animals, plants, species and ecosystems? As college-educated citizens endowed with rhetorical wherewithal, what is our responsibility during a time of ecological crisis?

Writing and Rhetoric: Crafting Effective and Ethical Arguments
Prof. Michael Petrin
WR 13100-08 / MW 9:25-10:15

The philosopher Aristotle defined the art of rhetoric as "an ability, in each [particular] case, to see the available means of persuasion.” This course will draw on the insights of Aristotle and other ancient authors in order to teach you how to make more persuasive arguments in your academic writing (and in the rest of your life). You will learn how to craft arguments in which your claims are supported by reasons and evidence, and you will learn how to strengthen your arguments by means of your personal character and your audience’s emotion. You will practice thinking critically by analyzing arguments written by other people, and you will develop academic research skills by undertaking a research project of your choice. Finally, you will be introduced to the ethical dimension of rhetoric, and you will learn to approach argumentation as an activity in which you can--and should--exercise a variety of human virtues.


Writing and Rhetoric: The Call to Write
Prof. Joanna Want
WR 13100-09 / TR 9:30-10:45

The need to write is often placed upon us by external demands, such as in school or work settings, and it is important to learn how to navigate these writing situations successfully. However, on other occasions we might experience an internally felt need to express ourselves through writing—"a call to write"—in response to stirring situations. We will study some notable instances when writers have responded to the call to write, and we will also look for ways to position ourselves to influence and persuade others through our writing. This class is designed for you to experience the rewards of dedicating yourself to the hard work of writing and, moreover, of having the support, feedback, and added motivation of fellow writers alongside you in the writing process. During the semester, you will complete assignments that ask you to compose reflective, analytical, persuasive, research-based, and narrative writing in a variety of genres. By the end of the course, you will have gained an understanding of what you, as a dedicated, thoughtful, and ethical writer, can accomplish in the world when you answer the call to write. (Please note that students in this section will attend an on-campus performance of the play The Mountaintop on Friday, January 19 at 7:30 pm.)

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetorics of the Digital
Prof. Nathaniel Myers
WR 13100-10 / TR 9:30-10:45

Is it possible that, by the time you finish college, a machine will be able to write essays better than you, your classmates, and your professors? Well, not likely for any of us -- and yet, we live in a world where this situation doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Already it is clear that our digital, screen-saturated world exerts a powerful effect on us, from the way we send and receive information to how we understand that information, such that we seem as much a tool of our computers and iPhones as they are for us. We live our lives through an Instagram filter, in the 140-character tweet, and with a 10-second Snapchat video. In this course, we will consider the rhetorics of our digital world and the literacies (visual, digital, information) we require to negotiate that world, literacies we are already, however unwittingly, quite skilled in. Alongside text-based scholarship, we will draw on film, video essays, and other media platforms to formulate our own claims, discussion, and writing around topics like new media, information literacy and "post-truth" culture, and digital-born composition and argumentation. Assignments will include a visual analysis paper, a research paper focusing on the aforementioned topics, and a final assignment that integrates personal narrative with digital-born argument.

Writing and Rhetoric: The Call to Write
Prof. Joanna Want
WR 13100-11 / TR 11:00-12:15

The need to write is often placed upon us by external demands, such as in school or work settings, and it is important to learn how to navigate these writing situations successfully. However, on other occasions we might experience an internally felt need to express ourselves through writing—“a call to write”—in response to stirring situations. We will study some notable instances when writers have responded to the call to write, and we will also look for ways to position ourselves to influence and persuade others through our writing. This class is designed for you to experience the rewards of dedicating yourself to the hard work of writing and, moreover, of having the support, feedback, and added motivation of fellow writers alongside you in the writing process. During the semester, you will complete assignments that ask you to compose reflective, analytical, persuasive, research-based, and narrative writing in a variety of genres. By the end of the course, you will have gained an understanding of what you, as a dedicated, thoughtful, and ethical writer, can accomplish in the world when you answer the call to write. (Please note that students in this section will attend an on-campus performance of the play The Mountaintop on Friday, January 19 at 7:30 pm.)

Writing and Rhetoric: The Call to Write
Prof. Joanna Want
WR 13100-12 / TR 12:30-1:45

The need to write is often placed upon us by external demands, such as in school or work settings, and it is important to learn how to navigate these writing situations successfully. However, on other occasions we might experience an internally felt need to express ourselves through writing—“a call to write”—in response to stirring situations. We will study some notable instances when writers have responded to the call to write, and we will also look for ways to position ourselves to influence and persuade others through our writing. This class is designed for you to experience the rewards of dedicating yourself to the hard work of writing and, moreover, of having the support, feedback, and added motivation of fellow writers alongside you in the writing process. During the semester, you will complete assignments that ask you to compose reflective, analytical, persuasive, research-based, and narrative writing in a variety of genres. By the end of the course, you will have gained an understanding of what you, as a dedicated, thoughtful, and ethical writer, can accomplish in the world when you answer the call to write. (Please note that students in this section will attend an on-campus performance of the play The Mountaintop on Friday, January 19 at 7:30pm.)

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetorics of the Digital
Prof. Nathaniel Myers
WR 13100-13 / TR 3:30-4:45

Is it possible that, by the time you finish college, a machine will be able to write essays better than you, your classmates, and your professors? Well, not likely for any of us -- and yet, we live in a world where this situation doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Already it is clear that our digital, screen-saturated world exerts a powerful effect on us, from the way we send and receive information to how we understand that information, such that we seem as much a tool of our computers and iPhones as they are for us. We live our lives through an Instagram filter, in the 140-character tweet, and with a 10-second Snapchat video. In this course, we will consider the rhetorics of our digital world and the literacies (visual, digital, information) we require to negotiate that world, literacies we are already, however unwittingly, quite skilled in. Alongside text-based scholarship, we will draw on film, video essays, and other media platforms to formulate our own claims, discussion, and writing around topics like new media, information literacy and "post-truth" culture, and digital-born composition and argumentation. Assignments will include a visual analysis paper, a research paper focusing on the aforementioned topics, and a final assignment that integrates personal narrative with digital-born argument.

Writing and Rhetoric: The Ethical Writer
Prof. John Duffy
WR 13100-14 / TR 2:00-3:15

We tend to think of writing as an activity that involves communicating information, or making an argument, or expressing a creative impulse. But writing is equally an activity that involves ethical choices that arise from the relationship of writer and reader. Every time we write for another person, we propose a relationship with other people, our readers. And in proposing such relationships we inevitably address the questions moral philosophers regard as ethical: what kind of person do I want to be? How should I treat others? How should I live my life? For writers, these questions become: what kind of writer do I wish to be? What are my obligations to my readers? What effects will my words have upon others? In this course, we will examine the ethics of rhetoric, or what it means to be, as the old Roman teacher Quintilian expressed it, a good person, well spoken. In the course of our inquiries, we will read widely, write frequently, and enjoy the pleasures of learning in one another's company.

WR 13200: Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric

Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric of Normalcy
Prof. Lorraine Cuddeback
WR 13200-01 / MWF 9:25-10:15

This Writing and Rhetoric course will allow students to further develop the skills necessary for academic writing through engagement with a local community partner, The Logan Center. We will engage this twofold goal through a community-based learning course that works with people who have intellectual disabilities and centers on the rhetoric of "normalcy." Normalcy is our cultural foil to disability; normalcy is both the cultural expectation of what is "normal" and simultaneously the marginalization of everything deemed "abnormal"--like disability. Within this community-based course, therefore, we will look at questions about how normalcy is shaped in cultural rhetoric--texts, images, physical spaces--and the places where that rhetoric is resisted, and "normal" takes a very different shape. As this is a community-based learning course, the service students perform will be a means of bridging their academic work with responsibilities to the larger communities they will encounter, as students and well after.

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: Literacy and Identity
Prof. Dominique Vargas
WR 13200-03 / MWF 11:30-12:20

Literacy can be loosely defined as a process of making sense of and participating in the world. This course will explore critical literacy that demands ethical, rhetorical, and practical knowledge. To hone our own academic literacy, we will cultivate our understanding and uses of argumentation. We will work to discover our own writing processes and develop rhetorical awareness through individual and group pursuits.

In addition to reading and writing, we will mine our experiences as texts to expose moments of literacy that invite questions, debate, consideration of other perspectives, and calls to action. We will combine this experience with argumentation in order to connect and communicate effectively in classroom, community, and civic settings. Through individual and collaborative writing and reflection we will recognize and develop the literacy habits that will enable the reading and writing of our worlds. By studying literacy in this way, we can reflect on ourselves as critical citizens.

As a Community-Based Learning course, this semester will be one of experimentation and engagement. In this course we will build a community of writers who engage in critical discourse both in the classroom and through engagement with a community partner.

Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric of Place
Prof. Stacy Sivinski
WR 13200-04 / MWF 3:30-4:20

Throughout this course, we will explore the complexities of encounter between spaces and the people who inhabit them. Places are not merely physical locations but rather persuasive projects that work to encourage various perceptions of a community’s values, traditions, and ideals. Every small town, city, and region projects a certain set of traits that are meant to reveal a deeper meaning about the people who move amongst those spaces, and understanding how rhetoric plays into the creation of local identity is key to recognizing the complex dynamics that make a location truly distinct. In order to learn about the forms of rhetoric that help construct place, we will be working closely with members of the South Bend community. Using South Bend as a point of focus, our core assignments will center around the different modes of persuasion that have been utilized over the years to convey various visions of the city. Specifically, you will be paired with a lifetime resident of South Bend and complete an oral history project that 1) reveals how the city has changed over time and 2) illuminates different facets of the town’s identity. This assignment will be situated alongside visits from guest speakers who are connected with a range of local organizations. Hopefully, by the end of the course you will not only come to recognize and successfully implement persuasive strategies but also understand how these components continue to shape the community that you have recently joined.

Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Sarah Snider
WR 13200-05 / MWF 12:50-1:40

Jewish American novelist Nathan Englander recently reflected to the New York Times on the beginnings of his writing career, "I was being asked to consider myself a 'type' of American, to see myself as other from inside my own mind. But I didn’t see a Jew when I looked in the mirror; what I saw were gentiles when I looked at everyone else."

Many of us periodically, perhaps subconsciously, label different religious groups as "other," without always taking the time to consider how each community might view itself, both among its own members and in dialogue with other faiths. When we form opinions about members of diverse religions and their practices, do we necessarily do so with an in-depth appreciation of their experiences and traditions, as well as their humanity and personhood?

This course will give students the opportunity to develop an understanding of multiple faith traditions through reading assigned texts as well as thoughtfully reflecting on direct interactions with members of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious communities. Students will build ethical, rhetorical, and practical knowledge through considering multiple viewpoints, analyzing arguments, and practicing skills to shape their own ethical discourses. The experiential component of this course will consist of multiple meetings throughout the community, which will require a limited number of evening and weekend commitments totaling 10 hours over the course of the semester.

WR 13300: Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Analyzing Media Arguments
Prof. Sarah Snider
WR 13300-01 / MWF 11:30-12:20 

How do media speak to us, and how do we talk back? In today’s media culture, we are constantly participating as both receivers and senders of messages in a variety of textual formats. In this course, we will analyze the ways in which different forms of media text put forth their messages, or rhetorical arguments, diving into various forms of communication including essays, speeches, oral storytelling, open letters, documentary theater, television, film, graphic novel, podcasts, visual art, and social media. We will examine both the messages and methodology of these texts in an interrogation of how the form shapes the argument, and how the argument shapes the form. In asking questions such as ‘Who is the audience for this text?’ and ‘How is this text constructed for its audience?’ we will begin to form our own theories about multimedia argumentation and the ethical implications behind the arguments. Through recognizing the ways in which arguments appear in media all around us, we will come to understand that writing is not limited to the page—and that our words matter.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Analyzing Media Arguments
Prof. Sarah Snider
WR 13300-02 / MWF 10:30-11:20 

How do media speak to us, and how do we talk back? In today’s media culture, we are constantly participating as both receivers and senders of messages in a variety of textual formats. In this course, we will analyze the ways in which different forms of media text put forth their messages, or rhetorical arguments, diving into various forms of communication including essays, speeches, oral storytelling, open letters, documentary theater, television, film, graphic novel, podcasts, visual art, and social media. We will examine both the messages and methodology of these texts in an interrogation of how the form shapes the argument, and how the argument shapes the form. In asking questions such as ‘Who is the audience for this text?’ and ‘How is this text constructed for its audience?’ we will begin to form our own theories about multimedia argumentation and the ethical implications behind the arguments. Through recognizing the ways in which arguments appear in media all around us, we will come to understand that writing is not limited to the page—and that our words matter.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Jay Miller
WR 13300-04 / TR 5:05-6:20 

Aristotle defines rhetoric as "the art of observing in any given situation the available means of persuasion." As we discuss the implications of Aristotle's definition of rhetoric over the course of the semester we will give special attention to the ways various forms of media (speech, script, print, digital) shape rhetorical situations and available means. Whether or not "rhetoric" or "media" are concepts you've thought about before, we all use rhetoric and media everyday in the ordinary work of communication. This course exists to give you time and space to reflect on this work and to practice it as an art. Our goals will be to learn to identify our diverse purposes as rhetors and writers, develop the ability to understand and participate in ongoing debates, and share ideas in resourceful and persuasive ways using rhetorical appeals for specific audiences. We will give special attention to media as a crucial preoccupation of the rhetor, with the intention of gaining functional, critical, and rhetorical skills for use in different multimedia contexts.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric(s) of Laughter in the 21st Century
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-05 / 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: The Rhetoric(s) of Laughter in the 21st Century
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-06 / 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: Argument is Everywhere
Prof. Emily Donahoe
WR 13300-07 / MWF 8:20-9:10 

Chances are, if you look around yourself right now, you’ll find something in your surroundings that’s making an argument. We encounter arguments in books, in advertising, on social media, in film, music, and art of many different kinds, in conversations with our classmates and professors—nearly everywhere. In the twenty-first century, there are perhaps more means than ever before of creating and disseminating arguments, both in small, private networks and in the public sphere at large. This class is designed to help you navigate the argumentative strategies of the digital age to become both adept, responsible consumers of arguments and skilled, ethical producers of arguments. We will learn both to read critically and to argue effectively by examining the uses of persuasion in a variety of different media. Our "texts" for the course will include those produced in traditional print media as well as pieces of music, television, film, and more. Informed by our discussions about the ethics of argumentation in the digital age, you will have the opportunity to create your own persuasive arguments in one or more of these media. In our readings and assignments, we will explore issues that are of particular concern for college students today, discovering the arguments that exist all around us, in our everyday lives.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Aristotelian Arguments in a Digital Age
Prof. Patrick Clauss
WR 13300-08 / TR 2:00-3:15 

In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton observes that "a danger of travel is that we may see things at the wrong time, before we have had an opportunity to build up the necessary receptivity, so that new information is as useless and fugitive as necklace beads without a connecting chain.” de Botton’s point, it seems, applies not only to travel in the literal sense, physically going from one location to another, but also travel in a metaphoric sense, the kind of travel a scholar might undertake while moving through a complex research and writing process.

How might one build up such a necessary receptivity, ensuring that new information and new experiences are not "useless and fugitive . . . without a connecting chain"? The study of rhetoric offers answers: Rhetoric—understood here as the science of argumentation (privileging logos) and the art of persuasion (privileging ethos and pathos)—trains one to be a skilled researcher, speaker, and writer. In the liberal arts tradition, the study of rhetoric also trains one in ways of knowing, of being receptive to how seemingly disparate information, old and new, fits together. Thus, in this section of Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric, specifically designed for AnBryce Scholars, we will travel together, literally and metaphorically. As we do, we will cultivate our receptivity to the rhetorical worlds around us. Ultimately, our goal is to become accomplished and cosmopolitan scholars. Consistent with the missions of the University Writing Program and the AnBryce Scholars Program, we will research, speak, and write with integrity, compassion, and wisdom. 

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetorics of Identity
Prof. Patricia Bredar
WR 13300-09 / MWF 2:00-2:50 

You may not realize it, but you already possess highly developed skills for interpreting arguments across a wide array of media. Every time you scroll through your news feed, turn on the television, or check your email, you navigate genre conventions, register argumentative strategies, and process nuanced representations. In this class, we will engage those skills critically and use them to recognize and build effective and ethical arguments.

Our course will be structured around a broad theme: rhetorics of identity. Working from the basic assumption that the way people are represented in public discourse carries important political and ethical consequences, we will explore how the words and images we consume every day shape the way we think about and relate to other people. As we examine a variety of "texts," from advertisements and articles to movies and memes, we will work toward two interrelated objectives: 1) to become more attentive and critical readers and 2) to establish the rhetorical strategies and effective writing practices you'll need to succeed as a student and citizen in the digital age.

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric(s) of Laughter in the 21st Century
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-10 / TR 9:30-10:45 

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: Mediating Cultural Encounters
Prof. Leanne MacDonald
WR 13300-11 / TR 3:30-4:45 

In The Language Issue by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (translated here by Paul Muldoon), the speaker describes writing thus:

     I place my hope on the water
     in this little boat
     of the language, ...
     ...
     only to have it borne hither and thither,
     not knowing where it might end up;
     in the lap, perhaps,
     of some Pharaoh’s daughter.

Ní Dhomhnaill's characterization of the risks of communication may be familiar to all who have struggled in writing to make their ideas understood. Each act of communication is an attempt to bridge a divide between speaker and audience, one that requires careful consideration and execution of rhetorical strategy.

In this class, we will consider the challenges of writing across cultural divides, and the importance of tailoring the method of communication, or "little boat." Alongside readings in by authors such as James Baldwin and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, we will analyze texts presented in other media, such as Denis Villeneuve's Arrival and the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. As we consider how these authors and artists enhance their arguments through the media-specific tools at their disposal, we will practice some of these strategies by creating projects in a variety of media.