Fall 2019 Courses

WR 12000: Growing as a Writer

Critical Reading and Writing in the Disciplines
Prof. Nicole MacLaughlin
WR 12200-01 / Days and Times TBD

Course description coming soon.

WR 12200: Writing and Rhetoric Tutorial

Critical Reading and Writing in the Disciplines
Prof. Nicole MacLaughlin / Prof. Damian Zurro
WR 12200-01, 02, 03, and 04 / Days and Times TBD

Course description coming soon.

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 12350: Setting SMART Goals

Prof. Nicole MacLaughlin / Prof. Damian Zurro
WR 12300-01 and 02 / Days and Times TBD

Course description coming soon.

WR 13100: Writing and Rhetoric

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Talisha Halitwanger Morrison
WR 13100-01 / TR 11:00 to 12:15

 

This course takes a rhetorical approach to analysis, research, and argumentation. In it we will focus on studying events and issues from multiple perspectives, acknowledging that there are more than two sides to a story and considering how a story may change depending on who is telling it and when. Our rhetorical lens leads us to examine the author/speaker's purpose, audience, and context. In this course, we will think about the author’s own biases, his/her/their audiences, and our own. We will consider the viewpoints of various stakeholders who may have something to lose or gain in a given matter. Together, we’ll look at instances in which reality or "truth" is complicated or hard to discern, as well as instances in which the perspective taken fails to see or intentionally distorts it through logical fallacy. This analytical approach calls us to give attention to privileges and prejudices within a given perspective. We'll examine multiple stakeholder perspectives to better understand the complexity of the issues important to our lives and world.  

 

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Jessica Shumake
WR 13100-02 / TR 9:30 to 10:45

 

In this course you will practice inquiry, reflection, invention, and revision. You will learn how to use stylistic conventions for a variety of situations, recognize established and emergent argument forms, offer evidence, and consider alternative perspectives. Throughout the semester you will select an audience, purpose, and context for the questions you ask and the provisional answers you offer. Questions concerning the obligations writers have to their readers and speakers have to their listeners will enable you to distinguish better from worse practices for ethical communication with your intended audience.

By the end of the course, you will be able to field questions such as: What are the uses of rhetoric? What must one know to create meaning and achieve one's purpose in specific contexts? How do I incorporate research and others' interpretations into my writing? What does it mean to become rhetorical? Finally, we will engage with the questions that emerge when analyzing and evaluating different styles of writing and different ways of structuring an argument, which pulls in some or all of the habits of mind that are at the heart of studying what it means to write well. 

 

 

Writing and Rhetoric: Dialogue and Persuasion

Prof. Ian Gerdon

WR 13100-04 / TR 11:00 to 12:15

 

Can people change their minds? Can they find common ground? Why would they bother to try? From Aristotle to George Washington to the study of 20th century totalitarianism, we find a similar theme: when people can’t or won’t talk to each other, violence and tyranny are on the horizon. Without dialogue and the trust that makes it possible, self-governance and a meaningful search for truth may be doomed. So how does dialogue work, how does persuasion work, and what kind of people do we need to be to make them work?

In this class, we will consider why we communicate and what standards and goals guide our efforts to communicate effectively as well as ethically. In the process, we will examine how to read and write as forms of dialogue, how Aristotle’s theory of persuasion can illuminate our public discourse, how persuasion differs from propaganda, and what the barriers to and possibilities of dialogue are today, as well as how we can tell stories that are both true and meaningful. We’ll take our lead from philosophy, literature, art, politics, and religion. In the end, hopefully, we’ll emerge as better students, citizens, and human beings—as well as better writers. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric: The Ethical Writer
Prof. John Duffy
WR 13100-05 / TR 2:00 to 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. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Jessica Shumake
WR 13100-06 / TR 12:30 to 1:45

In this course you will practice inquiry, reflection, invention, and revision. You will learn how to use stylistic conventions for a variety of situations, recognize established and emergent argument forms, offer evidence, and consider alternative perspectives. Throughout the semester you will select an audience, purpose, and context for the questions you ask and the provisional answers you offer. Questions concerning the obligations writers have to their readers and speakers have to their listeners will enable you to distinguish better from worse practices for ethical communication with your intended audience.

By the end of the course, you will be able to field questions such as: What are the uses of rhetoric? What must one know to create meaning and achieve one's purpose in specific contexts? How do I incorporate research and others' interpretations into my writing? What does it mean to become rhetorical? Finally, we will engage with the questions that emerge when analyzing and evaluating different styles of writing and different ways of structuring an argument, which pulls in some or all of the habits of mind that are at the heart of studying what it means to write well. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetorics of the Digital
Prof. Nathaniel Myers
WR 13100-07 / 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 world exerts a powerful effect on us, such that we seem as much tools of our computers and iPhones as they are tools 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 
Prof. Matthew Capdevielle
WR 13100-08 / TR 9:30 to 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: Rhetorics of the Digital

Prof. Nathaniel Myers
WR 13100-09 / TR 11:00 to 12:15

 

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 world exerts a powerful effect on us, such that we seem as much tools of our computers and iPhones as they are tools 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: Rhetorics of the Digital
Nathaniel Myers
WR 13100-10 / TR 2:00 to 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 world exerts a powerful effect on us, such that we seem as much tools of our computers and iPhones as they are tools 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

Prof. Ian Gerdon
WR 13100-11 / TR 9:30 to 10:45

 

Can people change their minds? Can they find common ground? Why would they bother to try? From Aristotle to George Washington to the study of 20th century totalitarianism, we find a similar theme: when people can’t or won’t talk to each other, violence and tyranny are on the horizon. Without dialogue and the trust that makes it possible, self-governance and a meaningful search for truth may be doomed. So how does dialogue work, how does persuasion work, and what kind of people do we need to be to make them work?

In this class, we will consider why we communicate and what standards and goals guide our efforts to communicate effectively as well as ethically. In the process, we will examine how to read and write as forms of dialogue, how Aristotle’s theory of persuasion can illuminate our public discourse, how persuasion differs from propaganda, and what the barriers to and possibilities of dialogue are today, as well as how we can tell stories that are both true and meaningful. We’ll take our lead from philosophy, literature, art, politics, and religion. In the end, hopefully, we’ll emerge as better students, citizens, and human beings—as well as better writers. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric

Prof. Jessica Shumake
WR 13100-12 / TR 11:00 to 12:15

 

In this course you will practice inquiry, reflection, invention, and revision. You will learn how to use stylistic conventions for a variety of situations, recognize established and emergent argument forms, offer evidence, and consider alternative perspectives. Throughout the semester you will select an audience, purpose, and context for the questions you ask and the provisional answers you offer. Questions concerning the obligations writers have to their readers and speakers have to their listeners will enable you to distinguish better from worse practices for ethical communication with your intended audience.

By the end of the course, you will be able to field questions such as: What are the uses of rhetoric? What must one know to create meaning and achieve one's purpose in specific contexts? How do I incorporate research and others' interpretations into my writing? What does it mean to become rhetorical? Finally, we will engage with the questions that emerge when analyzing and evaluating different styles of writing and different ways of structuring an argument, which pulls in some or all of the habits of mind that are at the heart of studying what it means to write well.

 

Writing and Rhetoric: Writing as Action and Contemplation

Prof. Joanna Lin Want
WR 13100-13 / MWF 10:30 to 11:20

 

Writing is a fascinating, sometimes paradoxical human activity because it traverses the public and the private; it often requires periods of solitude, yet is also a deeply social activity. At times, we write to share strongly held opinions and carefully crafted arguments with an audience; at other times, we write solely for ourselves in order to reflect on our experiences and to find out what we really think and feel. In this class, we will take a particular interest in writing as both a means of social action and of contemplation. Using genre, rhetorical situation, and rhetorical virtues as guiding concepts, we will read and compose analytical, persuasive, and reflective texts. As part of the contemplative aspect of the course, students will keep a walking and writing journal and visit the Snite Museum of Art. Students will also contribute to a class blog, visit the Hesburgh Library, and write a researched Op-Ed on an issue of personal and social significance. Class periods will include a mixture of class discussion, in-class writing, small group work, and writing workshop. Students will work closely with one another and the instructor as they compose a portfolio of revised and meaningful writing.  

 

Writing and Rhetoric: Writing as Action and Contemplation

Prof. Joanna Lin Want
WR 13100-14 / MWF 11:30 to 12:20 

 

Writing is a fascinating, sometimes paradoxical human activity because it traverses the public and the private; it often requires periods of solitude, yet is also a deeply social activity. At times, we write to share strongly held opinions and carefully crafted arguments with an audience; at other times, we write solely for ourselves in order to reflect on our experiences and to find out what we really think and feel. In this class, we will take a particular interest in writing as both a means of social action and of contemplation. Using genre, rhetorical situation, and rhetorical virtues as guiding concepts, we will read and compose analytical, persuasive, and reflective texts. As part of the contemplative aspect of the course, students will keep a walking and writing journal and visit the Snite Museum of Art. Students will also contribute to a class blog, visit the Hesburgh Library, and write a researched Op-Ed on an issue of personal and social significance. Class periods will include a mixture of class discussion, in-class writing, small group work, and writing workshop. Students will work closely with one another and the instructor as they compose a portfolio of revised and meaningful writing.  

 

Writing and Rhetoric: Writing as Action and Contemplation

Prof. Joanna Lin Want
WR 13100-15 / MWF 12:50 to 1:40

 

Writing is a fascinating, sometimes paradoxical human activity because it traverses the public and the private; it often requires periods of solitude, yet is also a deeply social activity. At times, we write to share strongly held opinions and carefully crafted arguments with an audience; at other times, we write solely for ourselves in order to reflect on our experiences and to find out what we really think and feel. In this class, we will take a particular interest in writing as both a means of social action and of contemplation. Using genre, rhetorical situation, and rhetorical virtues as guiding concepts, we will read and compose analytical, persuasive, and reflective texts. As part of the contemplative aspect of the course, students will keep a walking and writing journal and visit the Snite Museum of Art. Students will also contribute to a class blog, visit the Hesburgh Library, and write a researched Op-Ed on an issue of personal and social significance. Class periods will include a mixture of class discussion, in-class writing, small group work, and writing workshop. Students will work closely with one another and the instructor as they compose a portfolio of revised and meaningful writing. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric: The Personal, Popular, and Political

Prof. Abby Burns
WR 13100-16 / MWF 8:20 to 9:10

 

In 2014, a dress broke the internet. Across social media, people became absurdly invested in a debate over whether this dress was white and gold or blue and black. While the image and subsequent conflict gradually faded from our public discourse, it first became a locus through which people began to question and understand what has since been called the “Post-Truth” era, where individuals’ subjective realities have allegedly diverged so radically that we can no longer even agree on “objective” facts. In this class, we will begin to investigate the various intersections of experience, identity, popular culture, and politics to unpack, understand, and perhaps expand our own worldviews. Through this investigation, students will build upon their critical thinking, writing, and research skills with the hope of proving the cynics wrong as we actively engage in informed and ethical public discourse.  

 

Writing and Rhetoric: The Personal, Popular, and Political

Prof. Abby Burns
WR 13100-17 / MWF 9:25 to 10:15

 

In 2014, a dress broke the internet. Across social media, people became absurdly invested in a debate over whether this dress was white and gold or blue and black. While the image and subsequent conflict gradually faded from our public discourse, it first became a locus through which people began to question and understand what has since been called the “Post-Truth” era, where individuals’ subjective realities have allegedly diverged so radically that we can no longer even agree on “objective” facts. In this class, we will begin to investigate the various intersections of experience, identity, popular culture, and politics to unpack, understand, and perhaps expand our own worldviews. Through this investigation, students will build upon their critical thinking, writing, and research skills with the hope of proving the cynics wrong as we actively engage in informed and ethical public discourse. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric: The Personal, Popular, and Political

Prof. Abby Burns
WR 13100-18 / MWF 10:30 to 11:20

 

In 2014, a dress broke the internet. Across social media, people became absurdly invested in a debate over whether this dress was white and gold or blue and black. While the image and subsequent conflict gradually faded from our public discourse, it first became a locus through which people began to question and understand what has since been called the “Post-Truth” era, where individuals’ subjective realities have allegedly diverged so radically that we can no longer even agree on “objective” facts. In this class, we will begin to investigate the various intersections of experience, identity, popular culture, and politics to unpack, understand, and perhaps expand our own worldviews. Through this investigation, students will build upon their critical thinking, writing, and research skills with the hope of proving the cynics wrong as we actively engage in informed and ethical public discourse. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric

Prof. Eric Lewis
WR 13100-19 / MWF 10:30 to 11:20

 

Writing is often perceived as a private activity, but this course emphasizes its communal aspects in order to account for writing’s usefulness and to effectively pursue good writing. Writing and community are integral to each other. Not only are speaking and writing means of swaying an audience to one’s point of view and thus uniting a community, often to address communally shared problems, but also, communities shape conventions of speaking and writing and thus determine what counts as “good” examples of each. In this course, we will together explore how community inflects writing in order to prepare students to recognize and enter the discursive communities of their future majors and lives outside of Notre Dame. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric: Environmental Rhetoric

Prof. Jake McGinnis
WR 13100-20 / MWF 8:20 to 9:10

 

In recent years, environmental debates in the United States have often been starkly polarized and entirely uncompromising—an endless battle of “us” versus “them.” Is ethical persuasion still possible across social, political, and cultural divides? What does virtuous rhetoric look like today, and how does it work? In this course, we’ll study written, oral, and visual arguments in contemporary and historical environmental debates to reassess what argumentation is and how it might help us as students across the disciplines and citizens of the world. We’ll read essays, watch short films, and explore photography as a representation of the “real.” Your work as a student will include a research paper on a topic related to the course, as well as three shorter essays that build on class discussions. At the end, you’ll get to decide for yourself—is argumentation, in some form, more relevant than contemporary discourse suggests, or should we radically rethink the ways in which we communicate in college and beyond? 

 

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric in Daily Discourse

Prof. Jennifer Thorup
WR 13100-21 / MWF 9:25 to 10:15

 

You are a writer, and you encounter writing every single day. From the post-it note on the fridge informing your roommate that you accidentally ate her plums, the music lyrics stuck in your head driving to work, the memo you sent your co-worker regarding your upcoming project, to the Facebook comment you just made on that hilarious sheep-fainting video—you are writing and engaging in rhetorical situations daily. The goal of this Writing and Rhetoric course is to provide you the rhetorical tools you need to feel confident about writing both inside the classroom and out in the "real world." Our focus is teaching you to use rhetoric ethically and responsibly, to critically read texts, to write more coherent and enjoyable prose, and be a better human while doing it. While our assignments will be primarily written essays, the rhetorical arguments we’ll engage with will include things you encounter daily (music, visual images, newspaper headlines, conversations, love letters, etc.). The truth is, we become better writers by writing and being mindful in the process. You are a writer—so let’s get writing.

 

Writing and Rhetoric: The Rhetoric of “All the Things!”

Prof. Kristen Carlson
WR 13100-22 / TR  12:30 to 1:45

 

What do bicycles, smartphones, minerals, and grocery aisles have to do with rhetoric? To answer this question, this class will approach objects as rhetorical “texts” that act as powerful, persuasive agents in our political, cultural, ecological, and global discourse. For example, how do a bicycle’s aesthetics influence gender constructs? How does the design of grocery aisles facilitate consumer behavior? When we challenge the assumption that objects are simply inert tools, we will uncover the secret life of the things that pervade our lives.

Throughout the semester, we will encounter the rhetorical power of things like technology, scientific tools, fashion items, cultural artifacts, built environments, and visual art. In the words of the popular meme, we will think about the rhetoric of “all the things!” Thinking through “things” will allow us to carefully consider multiple perspectives and ethically engage in the critical conversations that dominate our world. In the process, we will build essential tools for constructing persuasive and compelling arguments in a variety of rhetorical situations and digital media.

 

Writing and Rhetoric: A Classical Approach

Prof. DongHwan (Alex) Chun
WR 13100-23 / TR 5:05 to 6:20

 

For the ancient Athenians, the art of rhetoric was deeply intertwined with their identity as free citizens. Considering that modern democracy originated from this ancient polis, it is more than fitting for a modern citizen living in a democratic society to be well acquainted with the discipline. In this course, students will be invited to read some of the major classical writings on rhetoric and to examine its role in one of the earliest democratic civilizations. These exercises will assist students in defining for themselves what it means to be a citizen in a 21st-century democracy and how the study of rhetoric could contribute to the active performance of civic responsibilities. This will require, above all, students to master rhetorical virtues and ethical rhetoric. As rhetoric is an art of language, it is to be introduced and approached mainly through the means of reading and, more importantly, writing. Students will be encouraged to read and think both rigorously and critically. With a wide variety of materials to consider, students will gain confidence through productive imitation and then eventually find their own voices. They will be given ample opportunities to express their findings through diverse writing exercises and intellectually stimulating discussions. 

 

Writing and Rhetoric

Prof. Anila Shree
WR 13100-24 / MWF 12:50 to 1:40

 

In the current moment, when it is easy to offend, how does one correctly wield humor as a tool of critique? The purpose of the course will be to evaluate humor’s varied possibilities and limitations as a rhetorical tool, its relevance to interpersonal communication, political consciousness, and writer/reader relations. Humor is usually understood as a useful supplement to argumentation for comic relief. But what happens when humor becomes the primary form of rhetorical argumentation? If the purpose of rhetoric is to persuade, how does one tread the fine line that divides humor as a tool of analysis from humor used to render something trivial? What are the ethical consequences of laughing at something? The course will not only look at short prose pieces, current op-eds, but also cartoon strips (for instance Calvin and Hobbes), stand-up comedy, and memes. Students will learn how to gauge rhetorical situations, use humor for rhetorical analysis/argumentation while also developing the skills to understand the role of humor in the works of others and across varied media. Assignments will include a combination of short writing pieces, an 8-10 page research paper connected with the topic, and an option to substitute a smaller piece with a self-designed cartoon strip or a creative humorous piece.

 

Writing and Rhetoric

Prof. Claudia Carroll
WR 13100-25 / TR 3:30 to 4:45

 

In the 21st century, our day-to-day lives are saturated with rhetorical tasks: convincing a university advisor that you should take a certain class, telling a story in a way that makes your friends laugh, interviewing for a job. All of these experiences require us to present ourselves and our position in certain ways, in order to achieve certain effects on our audiences, which will in turn, hopefully, lead to desires or ambitions being fulfilled. By working through a variety of examples of rhetoric in practice, including political speeches, trial defenses, and YouTube videos, we will consider how we can persuade people of something, but also the ethical responsibilities of the power of persuasion. Assignments to this end will include short weekly writing tasks and a final research paper. This class is primarily geared toward training you to become effective writers in a university context; however the rhetorical skills you will come to understand and deploy over the course of the semester will allow you to better understand how you already communicate, and make that communication more effective.

 

Writing and Rhetoric

Prof. Anton Povzner
WR 13100-26 / MWF 9:25 to 10:15

 

Writing is all too often treated as a simple transmission of information or filling in a template; an argument is seen as a confrontation between set positions. Pursuing a more nuanced view, we will adopt a rhetorical vocabulary to approach writing as a deliberate activity in a social context. Arguments are launched from concrete positions, addressing particular audiences in pursuit of certain goals, which will rarely be limited to proving the other person wrong. We will use this understanding to both write and read a variety of texts. In reading, we will be particularly concerned with writers’ means of persuasion both pragmatically and ethically, thinking about virtues such as knowledge, judgment, and intellectual courage—and about our own position as readers. Writing will naturally follow on our analysis of others’ texts, addressed as a process of discovery and growth to develop skills to be used in other writing situations at Notre Dame and beyond.

 

WR 13200: Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric


Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric: Nature and the Community
Prof. Ed Kelly
WR 13200-01 / TR 11:00 to 12:15

 

I ask students to build community both within and without the classroom, that is, to be attentive to and responsible for one another and 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 build rhetorically strong arguments. Outside class, students can choose to serve at either Imani Unidad, a peer-to-peer counseling center for formerly incarcerated men and women, or the Dismas House, a venue committed to helping the formerly incarcerated 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 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 
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-01 / MWF 10:30 to 11:20

 

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 13300-02 / TR 12:30 to 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 
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-03 / MWF 11:30 to 12:20

 

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 13300-04 / TR 2:00 to 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: Rhetoric and Identity 
Prof. Shela Raman
WR 13300-05 / MWF 11:30 to 12:20

 

The identities we craft for ourselves play a crucial role in how we understand ourselves and our place in the world—who we are, where we come from, and who we want to be. Whenever we write or express ourselves through various media, we produce an identity that both informs and is informed by the world around us. In this course, we will investigate the ways in which we create, communicate, and interpret our identities through rhetorical practices, and explore how the words and images we are confronted with every day shape the way we think about and relate to other people. Our primary focus will be how to navigate the rhetorical strategies of the digital age to both consume and produce arguments responsibly. Upon completing this course, students will understand academic and popular arguments as ethical activities, develop a rhetorical vocabulary for critiquing and composing multimedia arguments, and understand the collaborative and social aspects of the writing process. Along with traditional text-based papers, assignments incorporate a variety of modalities and media, including audio, video, blogs, photography, and infographics. 

 

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric
Prof. Erin McLaughlin
WR 13300-06 / MWF 12:50 to 1:40

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: Digital Rhetoric and Ethics
Prof. Joshua Wright
WR 13300-07 / MWF 2:00 to 2:50

"Character is what you are in the dark," or so the old adage goes. It often seems that the glow of our screens has a similarly revealing effect. We live in an information-saturated age, one where the media we consume is more often than not filtered to us through our screens. In a moment when much of our discourse with one another occurs digitally through new media such as Tweets, YouTube videos, and Instagram posts, the question of how to effectively and ethically communicate our ideas to others has seldom been in more flux. In this course, students will learn how to construct effective and ethical rhetorical arguments, learning how to do so through the lens of the digital media environment we all live in today. Students will engage with a wide-variety of media in the process of learning various rhetorical techniques with the aim of ensuring a multi-modal literacy and abilities to recognize and analyze the digital rhetorics that surround us. Assignments will include a mix of traditional essays and multi-modal projects such as creating our own podcasts. In our discussions and assignments, we will consider what it means to communicate in a rhetorically and ethically virtuous manner in a digital environment that so often brings out the worst in us. 

 

Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric: Signal to Noise 
Prof. Oliver Ortega
WR 13300-08 / MWF 10:30 to 11:20

 

Humans have the unique trait of creating and believing stories about how the world works. Dollar bills, for example, have no value outside our collective imagination, yet everyone believes in the value of money. Mass media in its various forms is perhaps the strongest conduit of such stories, informing how we see ourselves and the world around us. In this course we will look at how mass media, especially news reporting, informs how we buy into or reject certain narratives, such as the value of money. We will try to define and understand terms such as fake news, spin, propaganda, false equivalency, objectivity and what comedian Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness.” We will explore different rhetorical styles and appeals present in news, TV shows, movies, memes and other media. Expect daily readings and weekly forum responses, as well as a few short written assignments and a final research paper that will ask you to argue a particular idea at length. We will also dabble in audio and photography. Ultimately, the goal is to become critical consumers of information as well as ethical—even virtuous—producers of media. Such skills acquire even more importance at a time when the value of a free and independent media is constantly under question.