Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

RHE 309K • Rhe Of Conspiracy Theories

43870 • Heermans, Andrew
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 9
show description

What exactly are conspiracy theories, and why are they so popular? At this point, it is easier to name an example, be it the “moon landing hoax”, the JFK assassination, 9/11 as an “inside job”, or “Q-anon”, than it is to define the essential qualities that all conspiracy theories share. Studies suggest that nearly half the American population believes at least one conspiracy theory, yet the accusation of being a “conspiracy theorist” can put one on the fringe of normalcy, and is often shorthand for lack of credibility, corrupted reasoning and/or paranoia. The question of conspiracy theories presents two paradoxical facts: that humans do conspire, and that people believe things patently false through rhetorics of conspiracy.


This course takes a closer look at a number of conspiracy theories and “conspiratorial thinking” more broadly to have students think critically about the conspiratorial rhetoric they encounter and/or participate in. The course focuses broadly on two questions: what makes conspiracy theories persuasive to those who believe them, and how is giving the title of conspiracy theory or theorist itself a rhetorical act? Approaching conspiracy theories from the standpoint of rhetorical theory allows students to develop the skills needed to write persuasively across intellectual boundaries and engage in ethical argumentation at a historical moment when conspiratorial thinking has particularly high visibility and rhetorical efficacy in ongoing American socio-political conversations.


Assignments and Grading

  • Annotated Bibliography (15%)
  • Figures of Conspiracy Theories Dictionary (10%)
  • Rhetorical Analysis (single source) (15%)
  • Revision (15%)
  • Final Argument (10%)
  • Revision (15%)
  • In-Class / Short Writing Activities, & Participation (20%)



  • Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing, Losh and Alexander, 2nd edition.
  • Everything’s an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, 7th edition

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Branding

43860 • Foltz, Hannah
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 10
show description

This class introduces you to the verbal and visual design strategies behind beloved brands, and in so doing, increases your awareness of and faculty with rhetorical strategies as they are applied in marketing and workplace settings. By analyzing successful (and unsuccessful) brands, you may come to understand brand as a composition: a carefully-crafted cultural narrative built to shape the purchasing preferences of consumers and businesses. However, while analysis is informative and inspiring, the chief focus of this course is producing and presenting your own rhetorical brand strategies. Over the course of the semester, you and your group will speculatively reposition an existing company, building a portfolio of research-driven strategy, design, and messaging deliverables that illustrate your ability to define your brand’s core messages and channel them through different media and for different audiences. In addition to creating and communicating your brand’s positioning, your team will also present the rhetorical and strategic rationale behind your choices, and in so doing, demonstrate your ability to leverage market research, creative thinking, and branding best practices to craft a uniquely relevant and compelling corporate story. 


Assignments and Grading

Project 1: Rebranding proposal (individual)                                                     20% 

Project 2: Initial recommendations PowerPoint presentation (group)                15%

Project 3: Brand platform poster (group)                                                           15%

Project 4: Brand manifesto (individual)                                                            15%

Project 5: Audience Messaging (individual)                                                      25%  

Biweekly progress reports emails (individual)                                                   10% 



  • Compose, Design, Advocate (3rd edition); Anne F. Wysocki and Dennis A. Lynch, Pearson, 2018
  • Workplace Writing: Beyond the Text, Stephen Bremner, Routledge, 2017
  • Building Strong Brands, David Aaker, Free Press, 1995

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Data Justice

43885 • Hopkins, Hannah
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM FAC 7
show description

Data is rhetorical: it is a tool used to reveal information, to argue for particular truths, and to make meaning out of complex social and political relations. One tool for approaching our entanglements with data is data justice, bringing social justice into conversation with data practices to think about data’s impacts. In response, we turn to rhetoric to help us better plug into what data justice means for the world around us. This summer, our class will work together to produce podcast episodes that examine a data justice controversy of your choice. 


Class goals will be divided across three broad categories: rhetorical attunement to data, research, and composition for advocacy. As we dive into understanding the rhetoricity of data, we’ll build analytical and compositional skills that will allow us to advocate for more transparent, equitable data practices. With a podcasting team of 2-3 classmates, you’ll examine a current social question or issue tied to data justice. Along the way, you’ll develop research and composition skills that will help bring arguments to life. We’ll discuss academic writing, journalism, and art, asking big questions about power in our datafied society, and we’ll work together to consider what data justice looks like from diverse perspectives. Audio skills are not a prerequisite for this class. If you’re interested in technology, passionate about justice, or eager to sharpen your writing skills, you already have much to contribute.


Assignments and Grading

Major Assignments (65% of final grade)

  • Final Podcast (30% of final grade): Podcasting teams will record and edit a 15–20-minute podcast episode that discusses their chosen data justice controversy.
  • Rhetorical Analysis Paper (20% of final grade): Individually, students will analyze a set of texts related to data justice. Students will have the opportunity to revise their papers with instructor feedback.
  • Episode Plan (15% of final grade): Podcasting teams will create a plan for their podcast that reflects the research already done in the Group Annotated Bibliography and Rhetorical Analysis Paper.

Minor Assignments (35% of final grade)

  • Listening Journals (20% of final grade): Four times total, students will write a 200-word listening journal entry examining the rhetorical features of a podcast related to data justice.
  • Sound Collage (5% of final grade): Students will use GarageBand (Mac), Audacity (PC), or another audio editing application to create a personal audio soundscape.
  • Group Annotated Bibliography (10% of final grade): Podcasting teams will develop an MLA-style annotated bibliography tied to their chosen data controversy.



Textbooks for purchase (from the University Co-Op or elsewhere):

  • Becoming Rhetorical, Jodie Nicotra, Cengage Learning, 2018.
  • Out on the Wire, Jessica Abel. Crown, 2015.

Free required resources:

  • UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center Website
  • All other readings available in Canvas

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Inclusion-Wb

43895 • Rutledge, Thais
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
show description

To be included means to be part of a society in every aspect, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality. Yet, our world, and the events within it, often fail to create a sense of inclusion thus causing individuals to feel as though they do not belong. Riots, protests, and many other acts of violence against “different” individuals, though measures to show the inequality within our world, create social divisions that signal a war between “us and them.”


This course will work through how social divisions are presented rhetorically and argued in narratives that show how identity is always intersectional (i.e., multi-faceted), based on a complex network of social and personal representations. Excerpts from novels, biographies, videos, comic books, movies, and even photos will be examined in terms of the ethics of how they represent identities, in order to understand how the rhetorical positions of the authors, directors, photographers who create these texts are presenting identities marked by gender, race/ethnicity, class, and sexuality. 


Assignments and Grading

  • Short Writing Assignments (4) & Participation (in-class assignment that may require informal documentation of completion), including Peer Review: (20%)
  • Major Assignment 1: Annotated Bibliography (25%)
  • Major Assignment 2: Rhetorical Analysis (30%)
  • Major Assignment 3: Multimedia project (25%)



  • Nicotra, Jodie, Becoming Rhetorical. Cengage, 2018. ISBN-10: 978-1305956773 (Required Purchase: online or print)   

Other materials will be provided on Canvas by the instructor

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Israel/Palestine

43855 • Colclough, Lior
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 104
show description

On May 14th, 1948, the section of British-occupied land reserved for Jews was declared a self governing nation-state: Israel. Israelis call this day “Yom Ha'atzmaut” or “Independence Day.” Palestinians call it “Nak-ba” - “Day of Disaster.” Since that day, this region has been the site of numerous geopolitical conflicts that produce many questions. What is the religious significance of Jerusalem? Why was moving the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem such a big deal? When does criticism of Israel slide into antisemitism? How important is Israel/Palestine as an issue to Muslim and Jewish voters in the United States? What is a “two-state” solution and is it possible to achieve it? Who is “native” or “indigionous” to the region? How might rethinking the “nation-state” present a more democratic solution?


Rather than advocate a side regarding the legitimacy of either nation-state’s claim to the region, this course examines the kinds of arguments around Israel/Palestine (I/P) that have been advanced and received both within and outside the Levant. Using the concept of a “nation” as a lens, we will unpack representations of Israel/Palestine in various forms of media. Although the issues around I/P are global, this class is limited to exploring relationships between Israel, Palestine, and the United States.


Assignments and Grading

Participation (CWF, Canvas posts, in-class Zoom discussions):10%

Short Writing Assignments and Discussion/Response: 25%

Peer Review:5%

Definition Argument Essay 15%

Evaluation Argument Essay 15%

Essay 3: Proposal Project 15%

Annotated Bibliography 10%

Student Led Discussion: 5%




  • Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument. Eight edition, Bedford/St. Martin's, 2018.

Additional Assigned Books:

  • Bunton, Martin. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine. Ed. Adwan, Sami, Dan Bar-On, and Eyal Naveh.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Mythology

43835 • Hurt, Jo
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 9
show description

Storytelling is a critical part of the way that we make sense of ourselves and our world. In the time of the ancient Greeks, mythology (conveyed through poetry, theater, art, performance, and everyday habits) was the primary vehicle of storytelling, and it served to not only entertain its audiences, but to shape the world in which they lived in fantastic and unexpected ways. Ancient Greek myth was more than the relatively static and stable set of stories we think of today—more than a pantheon of conquering heroes, fearsome monsters, and meddlesome gods. Myths were often messy, contradictory amalgamations by different poets and artists that depended on each other even as they conflicted with each other.


In this course, we’ll encounter myth as a form of storytelling which engages in calculated response to its audiences, manipulation of cultural and stylistic tropes, attention to history and context, and generating meaning through both affect and persuasion. At the same, we’ll also explore writing and compositional practices which likewise engage in audience awareness, style, research, and multimedia argumentation. Rhetorically savvy composition—that is, making things that move people—requires us to develop a set of tools that we can use in a variety of personal, academic, professional, and civic contexts to generate content that affects specific audiences in calculated ways. In the case of this class, that toolset will include practices for listening, research, argumentation, and invention in order to effectively encounter myriad audiences and multiple mediums, from essay writing to audio compositions. And mythology—both ancient Greek and the narratives which matter to us today—will serve as our anchor and guide.


Assignments and Grading

RHE 309K will be graded using a system which may be new to you: Contract Grading. If you follow the contract (complete assignments, turn your work in on time, engage in drafting and revising projects, etc.) you are guaranteed a B in the class, regardless of how polished your writing may be at this time. It is possible, of course, to earn a higher or lower grade. To earn an A, you’ll have opportunities during each of the four major projects to expand its scope: incorporating additional sources, contribute additional feedback to peers, etc. Each completion of an expansion will raise your grade by a third of a letter. While you will have a buffer of “forgiveness credits” to protect your contract B-grade from up to five points missed here or there, each missed point in excess of those five will lower your grade by a third of a letter.


  • Minor Assignments (listening journals, reading responses, project proposal, genre analyses, annotated citations, concept map, interview, podcast scripting): 1pt each
  • Peer Review (for each project): 2pts each
  • Projects (including: soundscape, profile article, contribution paper, podcast): 3pts each



The textbooks we will be working from in this class include The Word on College Reading and Writing, Oregon Writes: Open Writing Text, Writing Spaces, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Writing Center Resources. These open-source texts, as well as any other readings, videos, or podcasts for the class will be available for free through Canvas.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Resistance

43850 • Webster, Lucy
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 204
show description

Americans love acts of resistance… most of the time. The American tendency to selectively celebrate acts of resistance predates the founding of the United States in 1776. This selectivity begs us to ask: how do acts of resistance persuade us (in current fiction, in the news) and when are these acts condemned? In this course, we will launch an inquiry into rhetorical approaches to resistance in the United States from the 19th century to the present moment. To situate ourselves in rhetorics of resistance, we will examine 19th century abolitionist texts, including reactions to the acts of resistance performed by Nat Turner, John Brown, and those performed aboard La Amistad. Subsequently, we will turn to the modern day to study contemporary acts of resistance represented in novels, films, television shows, social media, advertisements, and representations of 21st century resistance movements, (e.g., Black Lives Matter, Keystone Pipeline Protests, Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 protest etc.). By examining both the past and the present, we will interrogate how historical responses to resistance compare with the way we celebrate acts of resistance in the 21st century; how and in what circumstances (and through which rhetorical methods) perceptions of acts of resistance change over time; and how violent, historical insurrections fare against fictionalized, romanticized accounts. Together, we will ask: How are acts of resistance remembered and enshrined in our cultural consciousness through rhetoric? Finally, how might the study of rhetoric help us understand how/when resistance is lauded, accepted, and celebrated and how/when it is condemned?  

Assignments and Grading 

Minor Assignments: (e.g., short writing assignments, revisions, and peer reviews) 30% 

Major Assignment #1: Paper Proposal with Literature Review 20% 

Major Assignment #2: Rhetorical Analysis Paper 20% 

Major Assignment #3: Final Paper 30% 

The final paper will be six pages (12 pt. font, double spaced). You must choose a topic related to rhetorical representations of resistance. However, you are not required to use the 19th century materials that I introduce in class. A non-exhaustive list of potential primary materials includes Young Adult/New Adult novels, responses to current political events, and films (anything from retellings of historical insurrections, science fiction, fantasy, or whatever interests you that is also representing resistance).


Glenn, Cheryl. The New Harbrace Guide: Genres for Composing, 4th edition. Cengage, 2021. 

Additional readings will be provided by the instructor via Canvas.  

Students may also be asked to stream or rent an episode and a movie. 




RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Romance

43830 • Giordano, Vincent
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 103
show description

What’s the first thing that pops to mind when we hear the word “romance”?  A knight rescuing a lady?  Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?  Taylor Swift?  “Romance” has been used to describe works in English literature for as long as there has been English literature.  However, what we’ve meant by romance hasn’t stayed constant: it’s moved from French or Latin, to chivalric, to individualistic, to airplane novels you hide once back at home.  In this class, we’ll treat romance itself as a rhetorical act in all of its iterations over the centuries.  Together, we will try and see how romance is constructed over time, why its performance shifts throughout the centuries, and why it’s so appealing to us that we’ll even put up with rewatching Friends.  We’ll examine romance not just as a genre or a presentation, but how it informs whatever we read and watch – how is romance a rhetorical act?  What informs its performance?  How does romance work through romantic texts?  How is romance constructed?   We shall read, listen to, and watch “romance” in all of its forms: from medieval poetry to the Romantic novel to modern movies to contemporary music, exploring what about romance draws us in, even as our idea of “romance” changes.


Assignments and Grading

  • Project 1: Annotated Bibliography (20%)
  • Project 2: Rhetorical analysis of one aspect of romance (25%)
  • Project 3: Multimodal project on one work of choice (30%)
  • Short Writing Assignments and Participation (25%)



  • Becoming Rhetorical, Jodie Nicotra, Cengage, 2019
  • MLA Handbook, Modern Language Association of America, 2016
  • A Lover’s Discourse, Roland Barthes
  • Twelfth Knight, William Shakespeare
  • Selected readings from authors such as Oscar Wilde, Lord Tennyson, provided online on  Canvas

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Sitcoms

43880 • Roy, Debarati
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GAR 1.126
show description

“Violet learned then what she had forgotten until this moment: that laughter is serious. More complicated, more serious than tears” – Toni Morrison


“I work in comedy because I’ve not really done anything else... it’s a survival technique for me” - Henry Normal


With the end of the Second World War, radio comedies shifted to a new medium. Comedy went audio-visual; the world now had sitcoms. Over the years, sitcoms have been branded as escapist, the guilty-pleasure medium we come to in states of exhaustion. They provide instant but temporary relief. The golden age of classic sitcoms quickly becomes defined by physical gags, character stereotypes, stock situations, and rote theatrical moves. Here, it seems, the audience does not need to engage intellectually with the rhetoric of funny, or questions of how, why, and where of the funny. What happens when we cast revisionary looks at the genre? From the ‘nothing’ comedy of Seinfeld to the absurdist heart of The Office,to the ever-shifting Fleabag, what every-day, social rhetoric do sitcoms employ and how do these evolve? Are there ways in which the genre reiterates or critiques set stereotypes of racial, gendered peoples, of socio-economic positions, religious groups, or able-bodied normativity? Can the genre undo these stereotypes towards political ends?


In this class, students will analyze various aspects of the rhetoric of production, programming and cultural politics of sitcoms. We will think through the rhetorical moves made by sitcoms – gags, irony, theatre, visual stereotypes, the absurd, the mundane, the representational, and the tragi-comic – in order to complicate the politics of this seemingly simple genre. We will also think of things like setting, location, dialect, dress, music, food etc. as aspects that go into creating the material worlds/languages of sitcoms. Students will think through questions about the genre and its rhetoric critically. We will ultimately ask – what arguments can we make for sitcoms generating the rhetoric of ‘serious’ laughter? We will look at some classic sitcoms and some that are more contemporary, evolving and morphing the genre into new iterations. We will also think about the rhetoric through which comedy become a ‘survival technique’. Why and how do we laugh at social situations? How and when is this laughter in contradiction with the set rules of the genre? What are the politics of this contradiction?


Assignments and Grading

Participation: 10%; Minor Assignments: 20%; Research on Sitcom Controversy: 15%; Rhetorical Analysis: 20%; Proposing Argument for Sitcom Episode: 20%; Final Creative Project: 15%



  1. Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World. Boston: Cengage, 2019. Print.
  2. UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center Resources,
  3. The rest of the readings will be made available by the instructor through Canvas, or can be found at the UT Library or on various streaming services.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Smartness

43845 • Echternach, Julia
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM PAR 302
show description

How does it feel to be ranked based on how “smart” you are? What do we gain and what do we lose when we define ability and intelligence in specific, limited ways? In this course, we’ll examine and take apart dominant narratives of “smartness” in order to understand the complex ways that they affect us – and affect our society as a whole. To start off, we will examine familiar stereotypes of what it means to be smart and common strategies for measuring and ranking intellectual abilities. We will consider how these stereotypes and measurements shape and are shaped by existing race, gender, and class inequalities and how they influence our identities and societal institutions. Then we will explore a range of counter-narratives of “smartness” from Indigenous, Black, Latinx, feminist, and disability theorists, including narratives about code-switching as giftedness, land as our first teacher, neurodivergence as strength, parenting as intellectual labor, and more. Towards the end of the semester, we will consider what new forms of “smartness” might be necessary to navigate the increasingly complex crises of our present time. This course will draw from perspectives in the humanities and social sciences, but it will be relevant to students in any field who are interested in diversity, equity, and education.


This course entails substantial reading and writing; however, I will work with you to arrange the class experience in a way that draws best from your own “smartness” and strengths. The course assignments will include weekly readings and discussion board posts, short presentations of course readings, background research into a topic of your choosing, and several short essays. You will learn from your own experiences and from your peers just as much as you learn from the assigned readings and the instructor. Please contact the instructor if you have any questions about the course.


Assignments and Grading

This course uses a “contract grading” system. You will decide how many assignments you want to complete in order to receive your desired grade. During our class sessions, we will work collaboratively to develop a set of criteria to decide whether an assignment is “Complete.” If you submit an assignment that does not meet these criteria and receive an Incomplete grade, you will be allowed a period of time to re-write the assignment for a Complete grade. The purpose of the contract grading system is to support you in improving your writing holistically in a low-stakes environment.



Weekly Discussion Posts

Short Papers

(2-3 pages each)

Presentation of Readings

Office Hour Visit


12 of 14

5 of 6




11 of 14

4 of 6




10 of 14

3 of 6










  • Jodie Nicotra, Becoming Rhetorical (2018)

Course Reader (Available on Canvas or at Jenn’s Copies

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Female Villain

43810 • Eazor, Haley
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM PAR 206
show description

I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines...soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains — good, potent female villains. Not ill-tempered women who scheme about landing good men and better shoes...I’m talking violent, wicked women. Scary women. Don’t tell me you don’t know some.” ― Gillian Flynn


What constitutes a “villainous” woman? How does one become designated as such? From iconic Disney villains such as Cruella de Vil to more ambiguous anti-heroes such as Fleabag, how do we understand a woman’s rage? This course will explore various fictional portrayals of “evil” women and the movements, spaces, and moments that give rise to them. We will examine the rhetoric surrounding the villain by considering the ethos of the female villain, the exigence(s) that enacted their villainy, and the audience reactions and ripples they leave in their wake. In this course, we will be thinking critically about how the role of the female villain has evolved over time to match contemporary ideologies, and how certain gendered tropes (the “crazy,” the “nagging shrew”) and binaries (young/old, innocent/promiscuous, good/evil) reflect and respond to current events and ethical concerns. We will begin by defining the “classic” female villain, mapping the rhetorical moves of the character through visual and literary texts as well as in popular culture. We will then work together to contextualize them: how do historical and social contexts complicate the criteria for what makes a woman villainous? What are these women responding to, or critiquing, and how? What do they forgo, invent or fight, and why? How does gender influence our understanding of both their perceived evil and agency? In class, we will explore critical questions about how gender, race, class, and society create the conditions for tropes of female villainy, ultimately moving towards alternative ways of understanding, defining, and conceiving of “scary women.”


Assignments and Grading

Weekly Blog Posts (15%)

Presentation (15%)

Annotated Bibliography (15%)

Rhetorical Analysis (20%)

Rhetorical Analysis Revision (15%)

Final Creative Project and Reflection (20%)



Glenn, Cheryl. The New Harbrace Guide: Genres for Composing, 4th edition. Cengage, 2021.

All other materials will be provided on Canvas by the instructor. In addition, students will be required to screen a handful of films and television episodes as part of the course materials.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Gospels

43805 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 103
show description

This course will treat the gospels as rhetorical texts, rooted in time in place and shaped by the communities they were written for. Students are expected to apply rigorous historical method and careful literary analysis to gain a nuanced understanding of how the leader of a Jewish renewal movement became the object of devotion in earliest Christianity. We’ll explore the strategies each gospel writer uses to achieve purpose for his audience, considering the information the writer selects for presentation; the ordering and apportioning of that information; and the language used. By studying the gospels in this way, we’ll be prompted to consider how these texts — both canonical and non-canonical — emerged from the communities following Jesus. We’ll also consider the form of the gospel itself — what it is, what it is not — as we explore the conventions that governed the first-century Mediterranean world (both social and literary).

In addition to examining the gospels, we’ll consider more recent — and vigorous — arguments about the historical Jesus, as offered by organizations like the Jesus Seminar, and as presented in documentaries like PBS’s From Jesus to Christ and ABC’s The Search for Jesus, in attempting to gain a fuller understanding of the gospels. By exploring both the original arguments and the responses to those arguments, we’ll observe the ongoing conversation that exists regarding the quest for Jesus and the role the gospel writers played in crafting his story.


Assignments and Grading

  • Rhetorical Analysis of Mark and Matthew (20%)
  • Analysis of “Q” Passage (20%)
  • Research Paper on the First Century Mediterranean World (20%)
  • Refutation of Historical Jesus Argument (20%)
  • Midterm exam (10%)
  • Final exam (10%)


Required Texts and Course Readings

There are four principal texts:

  • Gospel Parallels (5th edition), Burton H. Throckmorton Jr., Thomas Nelson.
  • The Gospels and Jesus (2nd edition), Graham Stanton, Oxford University Press.
  • The Historical Jesus — the LIfe of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, John Dominic Crosson, Harper One.
  • Misquoting Jesus, Bart D. Ehrman, HarperOne.

In addition, a course packet includes excerpts from six sources: John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew—Rethinking the Historical Jesus; E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus; Marcus J. Borg and N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus—Two Visions; Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them); Bernard Brandon Scott, Hear Then the Parable—A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus; and Dale C. Allison, Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan and Stephan J. Patterson, The Apocalyptic Jesus—A Debate.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Job Search

43900 • Gossi, Drake
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM PAR 104
show description

Getting a job these days is tough. First, you must decide on what jobs to apply to, and where. Then comes the process of creating various application materials,followed by adapting them to each individual job site’s unique specifications. As if all that wasn’t difficult enough, you must do your best to imagine not only what questions the hiring manager will ask, but also how to respond to them. Should you be modest? Funny? Honest? What if they ask you whether you have experience in something that you don’t have experience in? Worse still, even if the interview goes well, yourfuture boss will inevitably Google you, and who knows what a “deep search” of your name will turn up.

As the cliché goes, getting a job is a full-time job in itself. But the process shouldn’t have to be stressful. In fact, this course aims to reduce job-seeking anxiety by offering you three opportunities, namely,

  • To conceptualize the job search (what's involved on their end and the employer's end? what's the
  • rhetorical moves and their rationale?)
  • To understand the genres involved and how they relate (what do I have to read or write?)
  • To form a supportive community around looking for jobs


Assignments and Grading

  • Identify and understand relationships among the genres involved: job ad, resume, LinkedIn/Indeed,
  • Glassdoor, letter of application, letter of recommendation,job interview, etc. (15%)
  • Talk to a Career Coach (10%)
  • Identify a candidate job ad or cluster of them; learnhow to read these and identify themes (15%)
  • Craft resume and letter of application (15%)
  • Role-play a job interview (15%)
  • Reading responses (10%)
  • Final paper (20%)



Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World, by Jodie Nicotra, 1st Edition

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Viral Media

43820 • Breece, Matthew
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 6
show description

When we think of something that has gone viral, we might think of the latest TikTok dance challenge, a funny meme, or a political hashtag. But there's actually much more to viral media than what we see in our social media feeds. Viral videos, memes, and hashtags circulate within and across social media platforms, enabling particular kinds of interactions and connections between users. These media create new genres as well as initiate, respond to, and extend significant events. In short, viral media shape our communication practices, our relations with others, and our understanding of our world.


This course will focus on three types of viral media: videos, memes, and hashtags. Students will investigate the following questions: What are the histories and precursors of these media? How do specific social media platforms enable and constrain different kinds of sharing and virality? And how do viral media genres initiate, respond to, and extend public events, social movements, and other cultural phenomena?


Throughout this course, students will engage critically with a variety of texts, research credible sources, and write and revise thoughtful and well-organized college-level papers. Additionally, students will become more proficient in the use of digital tools for textual analysis and production, using social media and web platforms to create multimodal compositions.


Note: No prior knowledge of digital media technologies is required for success in this course.


Assignments and Grading

Project 1: History of a Viral Medium Paper (20%)

Project 2: Comparative Platform Analysis Paper (20%)

Project 3: Genre/Event Analysis Webtext (20%)

Drafts & Peer Reviews (15%)

Short Writing Assignments, Research, & Discussion Boards (25%)



Nicotra, Jodie.  Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World.  Boston: Cengage Learning, Inc., 2019.

Additional course readings will be posted on Canvas.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Weird Florida

43825 • Rushin, Thomas
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 105
show description

Sometimes known as the Australia of the United States, Florida has a reputation for being weird. To the outside world its diverse and deadly wildlife, theme parks and a multimillion-dollar tourist industry, lax tax laws, and the emergence of the modern-day folk hero/criminal Florida-Man all act as symptoms of a place that can only exist in the imagination. However, Florida is a real place with real people living their day to day lives amid the mythologies surrounding their home. The Rhetoric of Weird Florida will treat the Sunshine State and any related figures as texts in order examine how they contribute to the rhetorical construction of Florida’s “weird” reputation. The figures we shall examine in this course include landmarks, politicians, fictional characters, animals, news stories, and other elements of pop culture. Through our rhetorical analysis of Florida and its reputation to the outside world, students will gain an opportunity to critically engage with both spaces and the mythologies surrounding them that they may transfer to other venues in their lives.


Assignments and Grading

  • Participation/short assignment (assessed through discussion board posts and weekly student questions) 10%
  • Homework and reading responses 10%
  • Current events 10%
  • Project 1 (Literature review) 20%
  • Project 2 (Rhetorical analysis) 20%
  • Project 3 (Multimodal project and Reflection argument) 30%



  • Becoming Rhetorical, Jodie Nicotra, Cengage, 2019

Other major and minor readings on Canvas

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Wild Things

43815 • Sahinler, Ipek
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 9
show description

Wild: grow or develop without restraint or discipline. —Oxford English dictionary


What do we mean when we call something “wild?” Is it an expression of admiration, acceptance, or a means of othering, marginalization? If so, how? What kinds of things, phenomena, people, communities, feelings, and iterations fall under “wild?” In this course, we will treat “wildness” (the state of being wild) as a rhetorical act and look at how it is used, misused, produced and reproduced in our lives through written, verbal and visual rhetorical circumstances. Put differently, our goal will be to understand “where the wild things are” situated in our lives via different realms such as literature, art, music, film, popular culture and sports. Accordingly, we will watch a fierce roller derby match, read poetry by queer, black and Hispanic writers, turn to the famous Wizard of Oz story and the protagonist Dorothy’s “wild” adventures, and listen to “wild” songs by Metallica, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Eartha Kitt. While doing so, we will always use “wild things” as a launching point for bridging our in-class conversations with global debates such as human rights, non-equal wage distribution, racial perceptions of crime, illegalization of abortion, climate change, differing social media mediums and growing surveillance mechanisms.


As a course on writing and rhetoric, this class encourages students to think critically about how “wild things” are constructed, and to participate in conversations about “wildness” that take place via different cultural mediums. To this end, the course is split into three units, consisting of five weeks each, and aimed towards completing a major writing project.


Assignments and Grading

Project 1: Mapping Wildness (15%)

Project 2: Rhetorical Analysis of a “Wild” Text (20%)

Project 3: Creating a “Wild Thing” (25%)

Weekly Blog Posts (see: Wild Things Blog) (10%)

Canvas discussion posts (10%)

Peer Reviews (10%)

Participation (10%)


Note: There is no final exam for this class and participation will be assessed through your contribution to our common intellectual environment, mainly by your comments, Canvas discussion posts, blog posts and the peer-reviews you will give to your classmates.



Required Texts:

  • Everything’s an Argument by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab,, Purdue University. 
  • All other weekly materials (songs, poems, short stories etc.) will be provided on Canvas by the instructor.

Optional Texts:

  • Halberstam, Jack. Wild Things. Durham: Duke UP, 2020. Perverse Modernities: A Ser. Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe. (accessible through UT library)

RHE 309S • Crit Read And Persuasive Writ

43904 • Goodstein, Liza
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 7
show description

This year, when a global pandemic has left millions of people unwell, the focus on personal wellness has never been higher. From GOOP to #selflove, we are surrounded by messages that tell us how we can better take care of ourselves—physically, mentally, and spiritually. But what does it mean to be “well”? How do conceptions of wellness intersect with race, class, gender, and ability? Does wellness constitute a resistance to capitalist work culture? A continuation of American individualist tradition? Both? How can we find value in wellness while still engaging it critically? In this course, we will develop critical reading and writing skills as we seek to answer these and other questions. We will analyze current discourse around wellness, both from inside and outside of the multibillion-dollar wellness industry. Using communication in various media, from memes to longform essays, we will consider our collective fascination with wellness and, through critical and persuasive writing, imagine new ways of being well.

This course is divided into four units. In the first, students will rhetorically analyze pieces of communication about wellness. In the second, students will research an issue related to wellness and assemble a collection of texts that allows them to understand its rhetorical context. In the third, students will produce a piece of longform cultural criticism that makes an argument about wellness, using their contextual research from the previous unit. Finally, in the fourth unit, students will work in groups to create shortform digital arguments about wellness that are sharable on social media.


Required Textbooks

Lunsford, Andrea A. and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument, 8th ed.


Major Assignments and Grading

Project 1 - Rhetorical Analysis (20%)

Project 2 - Context Paper (20%)

Project 3 - Longform Argument (30%)

Project 4 - Digital Argument (Group Project) (10%)

Short Writing Assignments + Participation (20%)

RHE 309S • Crit Read/Persuasive Writ-Nsds

43905 • Buckley, Tom
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM PAR 103
show description

The aim in this course is to develop a better understanding and mastery of rhetoric-the art of persuasion-an art that's essential not only for your college work, but also for your participation as a citizen in a democracy.  You already know this art instinctively: every day, all day, you're immersed in rhetoric.  But our goal in this course is to become more consciously and effectively rhetorical.


To accomplish this goal, we'll use a number of approaches.  We'll complete a number of assignments addressed to specific audiences for specific purposes; we'll engage ourselves in additional assignments involving analysis and evaluation; we'll read rhetorically, with a critical awareness of the techniques and strategies adopted by writers; and we'll involve ourselves in discussions about what we read.


The course-and its assignments-will challenge you to think differently, to question 

age-old assumptions, and to engage in argument as part of a larger community.  This course isn't for the faint of heart.  If you're not prepared to be challenged in your thinking, or if you're not comfortable participating in conversations with others, you best not sign up.  But if you're a hard worker, you like to share your thoughts, and you're open to a slightly different approach to learning, then this is the place for you.

RHE 310 • Intermed Expository Writing

43908 • Scott, Maclain
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 6
show description

In our society, there’s no shortage of people claiming to be original and independent thinkers, and we often assume good writing is produced through acts of creative genius. Such views, however, neglect the social dynamics through which ideas and writing emerge. Writing scholar Joseph Harris says that “whatever else they do, intellectuals almost always write in response to the work of others.” While we may be uneasy with the term “intellectual,” Harris speaks to the fact that meaningful writing often emerges when a writer engages with and expands upon compelling texts written by other people. This class asks you to approach writing as a way to think through and build from—whether by applying, complicating, or extending—the insights and concepts of other writers. You will practice bringing texts written by other people into conversation with your own experiences and to make use of these texts and ideas for your own purposes. You will also engage with and learn from one another through class discussions, informal feedback, and structured peer reviews. 


Toward this end, course readings will feature writers who expose the social, political, and personal dimensions of language. In turn, you will theorize and write about language, including how language both shapes and is shaped by our cultural beliefs, our relationships, and even our realities. To do this work, you will write weekly reading responses and three main projects (one 4-page essay; one webtext roughly equivalent to 4-6 pages; one multimedia composition roughly equivalent to 5-7 pages). These projects will require you to participate in all aspects of the writing process, including reading, discussion, drafting, revising, peer review, and editing. We will also learn about the dimension of writing associated with style, including word choice, syntax, and flow as well as narration and arrangement, and you will make choices concerning your own writing style(s) depending on various rhetorical considerations, such as purpose, readability, and genre.


Tentative Grade Breakdown

Short essay on “natural facts” about language - 20%

Webtext on language and community - 20%

Multimedia composition on language and reality - 20%

Weekly reading responses - 30%

Participation and in-class activities - 10%


Required Course Readings

Joseph Harris, Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts (e-version available at UT Libraries)


Chapters/essays made available on Canvas will likely include: Chris Holcomb and M. Jimmie Killingsworth’s Performing Prose: The Study and Practice of Style in Composition (excerpt);

Stanley Fish’s “What Should Colleges Teach?”; Vershawn Ashanti Young’s “Should Writer’s Use They Own English?”; James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”; James Porter’s “Intertextuality and the Discourse Community”; Gloria Anzaldúa’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”; bell hooks’s “Language: Teaching New Worlds/New Words”; George Lakoff’s “Why It Matters How We Frame the Environment”; Rebecca Solnit’s Foreword to Call Them by Their True Names

RHE 312 • Writing In Digtl Environments

43909 • Hooker, Tristin
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 104
show description

Increasingly, we live in a world where science and expertise seem “up for debate” in public life. The communities you join, the language you use there, and the branding you recognize or develop have a significant impact on your on-and-offline life. In this class, we will look at the Health & Wellness industry and its online culture as a way to think about how we judge the trustworthiness of sources we engage with and how we convey trustworthiness and belonging in digital spaces and communities, ourselves.


What does it mean for Health and Wellness to become commodities you can seek—or participate in—in a digital, disembodied space? How do you decide that the information, products, or community you find in that space is beneficial or trustworthy? Even further, if you want to be part of this culture or industry, how do you connect with it and effectively or ethically? How can health—or your health—become a brand?


The goal of this class is not just to analyze other people’s rhetoric: it’s to become familiar with the ways digital texts, platforms, marketing, and data are produced and circulated to create and maintain an industry.  The course is organized into three units, each asking students to examine a different element of rhetorical analysis for this industry, and to develop particular hands-on skills for writing in a digital environment relevant to the unit’s theme.




Project 1: (20%) : Digital Wellness Primer (webtext)

Project 2: (20%) : Digital Disclosure Analysis (video essay)

Project 3: (20%) : Digital Branding Performance (multi-page website design)

Course Dictionary (10%)

Short Assignments and Reading Responses  (20%)

Participation: (10%):


Required Texts:


RHE 315 • Intro To Visual Rhetoric-Wb

43910 • Frank, Sarah • Internet; Asynchronous
show description

In today’s multimedia world, effective arguments often rely on images to persuade audiences. Everyday we encounter visual rhetoric that tries to persuade us to think about this problem, purchase that product, travel to this destination, and/or accept that truth. In this course, we will examine how pictures persuade by analyzing advertisements, fashion photography, political campaign posters, public service announcements, graphic novels, and war photography. Students in the course will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of images; analyze combinations of text, imagery, and other graphics, both in print and in multimedia formats; and locate their own examples of visual rhetoric to present and interpret. By studying visual rhetoric, students will enter into an exciting area within the discipline of Rhetoric and they will hone their skills as writers, researchers, and rhetors.

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

43920 • Graham, Scott
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 104
show description

Examines major terms, issues, and approaches in the discipline of rhetoric and writing. Provides practice in analysis and application.


This course will:

  • explore key terms and principles in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • apply these principles and terms in rhetorical analysis and composition;
  • understand the curriculum and the discipline of rhetoric and writing.


Students may:

  • define key terms in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • explain theoretically and/or apply analytically key principles in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • analyze artifacts by applying key principles and terms to specific circumstances and objects;
  • compose persuasive texts or create persuasive artifacts by applying their knowledge of persuasion and argumentation to a specific circumstance, medium, audience, and exigency;
  • creatively and imaginatively explore concepts, terms, figures, and/or practices in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • understand the discipline of rhetoric and writing, having an informed appreciation of its scholarly and practical potential.

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric

43915 • Izaguirre, Jose
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 7
show description

Examines major terms, issues, and approaches in the discipline of rhetoric and writing. Provides practice in analysis and application.


This course will:

  • explore key terms and principles in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • apply these principles and terms in rhetorical analysis and composition;
  • understand the curriculum and the discipline of rhetoric and writing.


Students may:

  • define key terms in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • explain theoretically and/or apply analytically key principles in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • analyze artifacts by applying key principles and terms to specific circumstances and objects;
  • compose persuasive texts or create persuasive artifacts by applying their knowledge of persuasion and argumentation to a specific circumstance, medium, audience, and exigency;
  • creatively and imaginatively explore concepts, terms, figures, and/or practices in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • understand the discipline of rhetoric and writing, having an informed appreciation of its scholarly and practical potential.

RHE 321 • Principles Of Rhetoric-Wb

43924 • Rhodes, Jacqueline
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
show description

Examines major terms, issues, and approaches in the discipline of rhetoric and writing. Provides practice in analysis and application.


This course will:

  • explore key terms and principles in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • apply these principles and terms in rhetorical analysis and composition;
  • understand the curriculum and the discipline of rhetoric and writing.


Students may:

  • define key terms in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • explain theoretically and/or apply analytically key principles in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • analyze artifacts by applying key principles and terms to specific circumstances and objects;
  • compose persuasive texts or create persuasive artifacts by applying their knowledge of persuasion and argumentation to a specific circumstance, medium, audience, and exigency;
  • creatively and imaginatively explore concepts, terms, figures, and/or practices in the discipline of rhetoric and writing;
  • understand the discipline of rhetoric and writing, having an informed appreciation of its scholarly and practical potential.

RHE 328 • Magazine Writing/Publishing

43930 • Buckley, Tom
Meets W 4:00PM-7:00PM PAR 103
show description

This course is designed to give students an understanding of the magazine field from the perspective of both writers and editors. The course offers a broad core of practical knowledge while also exploring issues related to the field. In the first part of the course, students will learn how to generate story ideas; research appropriate magazine markets to pursue; conduct interviews; sell their ideas (and themselves) in query letters; develop the best format for presenting their information; and, finally, organize the materials, write, and revise the article itself, and send it off for publication.


In the second half of the course, students will publish an issue of a magazine, acting as writers, editors, and designers responsible for its content – and beholden to a publisher. They'll identify a niche audience, formulate an editorial vision, and write, revise, edit, fact-check, and generally take part in all aspects of the publication. In short, they'll perform all the editorial functions of a magazine staff. They'll work individually and in teams, devising departments, assigning stories, gathering art, selling ads. They'll write headlines and captions, crop pictures, fit copy, and design layouts. And they'll engage in discussions about issues of advertising, media ethics, and publisher control.


No previous journalistic experience is necessary.


Course Requirements

Three articles during the first half of the course (profile, issue of conflict, feature); various tasks associated with publishing a magazine in the second half of the course. During the second half, students will also continue to revise the three articles from the first half of the course.


Grading Policy

Three articles, with revisions: 25% each

Shorter exercises: 15%

Participation in second half of the course: 10%


Required Texts

Writer's Market 2010, Robert Lee Brewer (Editor)

Writing for Magazines: A Beginner's Guide, Cheryl Sloan Wray

RHE 328 • Writing For Nonprofits

43935 • Sackey, Donnie
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM FAC 9
show description

This course equips students with the intellectual, analytical, and persuasive skills necessary for writing in non-profit organizations. We’ll dedicate much time toward analyzing, understanding, and building communication strategies in nonprofit contexts by researching and examining the rhetorical practices made by different organizations across a variety of texts (e.g. from mission statements to newsletters to grants). First, we’ll assess our knowledge regarding how these genres work, for whom and why. Second, we’ll consider methods for learning about the capacities and needs of an organization. Throughout the semester, we’ll have guests from local Austin-area nonprofits, who can help us better understand how writing happens in their organization. This feedback will be helpful as we assemble the former two skills in order to produce the genres associated with nonprofits. This will entail writing proposals, telling stories, working across different media, and developing the assessment measures that are necessary for gauging the success of our communication work. By the end of the semester, you should have a greater awareness of how writing happens in these settings and even leave with a greater level of confidence in pursuing a career in non-profit work.

Note: Although we will work with a group of community partners, students are encouraged to take advantage of and build-upon existing relationships with non-profits. Feel free to contact Dr. Sackey before the beginning of the course to talk over ideas.

Required Materials

  • Barbato, Joseph and Danielle S. Furlich. Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to
  • Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits. New York: Fireside, 2000. (ISBN
  • 978-0-6-8485740-4)
  • Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York:
  • Random House, 2007. (ISBN 978-1-4-0006428-1)
  • Pallotta, Dan. Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up For Itself and Really Change the World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012. (ISBN 978-1118117521)


Assignments and Grading

  • Genre Assessment Paper – 15%
  • Capacity-Needs Assessment – 20%
  • Proposals – 10%
  • Portfolio– 40%         
  • Participation – 15%

RHE 330C • Access Designed

43945 • Boyle, Casey
Meets M 2:00PM-5:00PM FAC 10
show description

This course will examine, explore, and exercise techniques for designing accessibility in digital writing and with physical computing devices. To accomplish these tasks, students will examine texts that foreground communication media as mediating bodies and technologies, which will include topics such as accessibility, universal design, disability studies, and media theory. We will explore these meditations by locating accessibility in how online communication circulates with and against bodies (digital documents and online sites) as well as how digital devices (i.e. arduino-based sensor projects) can assist how bodies circulate in space. In addition to course readings, case studies, and class discussions, the class will exercise accessible concepts by working together to design, develop, and deploy accessibility devices with accompanying documentation (e.g. user guides and project websites) that rhetorically respond to a site of contested access. 


Note: While no prior technological experience is necessary, a willingness to engage new technologies and a commitment to practicing those technologies is.


Required Course Texts and Materials


A Web For Everyone, Sarah Horton & Whitney Quesenbery

Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability, Aimi Hamraie

Design meets Disability, Graham Pullin

Elegoo EL-KIT-003 UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial for Arduino & Elegoo Upgraded 37 in 1 Sensor Modules Kit (Amazon)



Participation - 10%

Since this course will involve many workshops and group projects, regular attendance and active participation will be required and factored into the final grade.


Reading Responses - 10%

6 written responses to required readings posted to our course site (300-500 words posted in Canvas). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion. In the first week, I will provide a more detailed assignment sheet for how to organize the responses.


Accessibility Audit - 15%

Students will examine an online site to determine its accessibility and will report on that examination.


Captioning Assignment - 15%

This assignment will give students an opportunity to practice techniques for captioning images and video.


Accessibility Device and Documentation - 50%

In this semester long project, student will work in groups to design, develop, and deploy an accessibility device (using Arduino-based components) that responds to a particular situation of access. This project will include a proposal, progress reports, the device, project site, user documentation, and a final presentation.

RHE 330C • Podcasts & Paradigms

43940 • Hsu, Vox
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 104
show description

This class examines storytelling’s influence on cultural and political struggles, focusing on the genre of podcasts. By listening to a range of podcasts, we will explore how different interview, research, and narrative techniques can affect public perception and policies. Students will study rhetorical criticism and narrative craft while developing hands-on experience in producing their own podcasts. Questions driving our activities throughout the semester include:

  • How does storytelling impact cultural expectations, institutional structures, and distributions of precarity and privilege?
  • How have the histories that preceded us shaped our story ecologies—that is, whose stories are readily accessible, and whose are rarely heard?
  • How do we seek out and amplify stories that we find meaningful?
  • To whom are we accountable in our storytelling, and how do we take responsibility for the effects of our words?


Assignments and Grading      

Labor in this course will follow this approximate breakdown, but if students feel that these expectations impede their ability to learn, I encourage them to speak with me:

  • Reading responses – brief engagements with assigned readings/listenings (15%)
  • Participation – regular attendance and active engagement with class discussions (15%)
  • Production exercises – smaller, mini-podcast experiments to hone your production skills (30%)
  • Podcast – (40%)



Required Texts and Course Readings

Jessica Abel’s Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio and a wide array of podcasts including ThroughlineCode SwitchThe 1619 ProjectMaintenance PhaseBodies, and Rabbit Hole.

RHE 330C • Rhetorical Metrics

43949 • Graham, Scott
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 104 • Hybrid/Blended
show description

Did you know that Outkast and Wu-Tang Clan use a larger vocabulary in their lyrics than Shakespeare did in his plays? It's true. How do we know this? Because someone actually measured the number of unique words used by different hip hop artists and compared those figures to Shakespearean plays. Hip hop vocabulary is, of course, not the only rhetoric we can measure. Recent studies of Facebook disinformation campaigns and their effects on polarizing the US electorate have found that the actual content overwhelmingly involved feel-good, positive messaging. Most people assumed it was negative, because it was polarizing. But when you actually measure the emotional content of the posts, it turns out that's not true. Do you know that who used the most sophisticated language of any of the candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign? Apparently, it was Ted Cruz. Is that what you would have guessed?  

Much of our popular understanding of rhetoric, language, and persuasion is based on instinct and intuition. Rhetorical training offers one very good way of honing that intuition to make it better and more sophisticated. Nevertheless, even the best instincts and intuitions can lead us astray, and sometimes you need to check the numbers behind your ideas about rhetoric in the world. Accordingly, this edition of RHE 330C will provide students with hands-on experience measuring language according to different theories and approaches. This means figuring out what to measure, how to measure it, and then actually measuring it. But, how do you measure the entire collected works of the Wu-Tang Clan and compare it to Shakespeare? Ain't nobody got time for that. You're going to need some help. You're going to need something that can read a whole lot faster than you can.

So, in this course, students will teach computers to read. In so doing, students will explore how to use, create, and analyze computational technologies that assess 1) the complexity and difficulty of persuasive texts, 2) the emotional content of bodies of discourse, and 3) the content itself of persuasive language.   

No prior experience is required to complete this course.

Assignments and Grading

  • Take-Home Exercises (20%)
  • Two Practicum Exams (20%)
  • Rhetorical metrics project
    • Custom metric proposal (10%)
    • Metrics tool development (30%)
    • Project report (20%)

Required Texts and Readings

  • Text Mining with R: A Tidy Approach by Julia Silge and David Robinson

Additional readings provided on canvas

RHE 330D • Jewish/Greek Soc Just Roots

43950 • Charney, Davida
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM FAC 9
show description

What are the founding documents that undergird activism for social justice? A partial list might include the U.S. Constitution, the Bible, and texts from ancient Athens like Aristotle's Rhetoric or Plato's dialogues. Each item has claims to moral authority and provides different kinds of materials that can guide activist rhetoric, such as moral and legal principles, exemplary stories and personages, effective behaviors and strategies. But among scholars, politicians, and activists today, these sources would each provoke heated controversy. 


For some, religious sources should be excluded as unscientific and as carrying along too much exclusionary sectarian baggage. These might trace the liberties and rights of the U.S. Constitution along a path of Western intellectual history that includes Greek texts.  Others would like to trace the Western democratic heritage to a "Judeo-Christian" source in which the Hebrew Bible is relevant only as a precursor to the New Testament.  Finally, some who base the Jewish quest for social justice in the Hebrew Bible have rejected Greek philosophy and rhetoric as antithetical to Jewish intellectual and religious traditions. 

The full controversy is far too big for one course to cover. This course has three smaller goals.  First we will trace back the Jewish commitment to social justice through the history of argument in the Hebrew Bible and the Talmudic tradition.  Second, we will some of the ways that movements for social justice connect themselves to alternative founding documents. Finally, we will consider the possibilities for coalition among groups seeking social justice, in particular where that impetus coasts along and where it encounters friction due to differences among the motivating sources.


In the Hebrew Bible, God time and again calls the Israelites "an obstinate and stiff-necked people."  And over the centuries, Jews say back, "No shit, God.  You'd better get on your game!"


Assignments and Grading      

40%     Comparative Foundation Analysis

40%     Fostering Coalition Proposal

20%     Reading Responses on Discussion Boards, Quizzes, and Peer Reviews


Required Texts and Course Readings

John Lukacs, A Student's Guide to the Study of History, 2000

James Herrick, The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction, 2017

Jill Jacobs, There Shall be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition

RHE 330D • Rhe Of Latinx Social Mvmt

43955 • Izaguirre, Jose
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 7
show description

This course provides a rhetorical historical survey of Latinx social movement(s) in the Americas from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Although scholarship has recognized forms of resistance, subversion, protest, and re-existence in Latin America since colonization arrived in the Americas in the fifteenth century, this historical survey will use the conceptual lens of “social movement(s)” to ground our study of the aesthetic and strategic contours of the political (re)imaginings of Latinx persons during the modernity/coloniality era. By analyzing a combination of secondary and primary sources, we will trace and explore the similarities and differences between Latin American social movement rhetorics over time, their poetic (inter)connectedness, and the ways in which (de)coloniality (un)marks their political forms.


Although our focus will be on “social movement(s)” and on their rhetorical (re)configurations over time, we will also put our focus on the institutional(ized) forms of power creating and subtending the conditions of social movement rhetorical actions. That is, throughout the course we will also be attending to the ways in which rhetorics from “below” rub up against rhetorics from “above.” In so doing, we will investigate how Latin American rhetorics create and are in tension with intersecting forces of oppression (i.e., race, sexuality, class, (dis)ability) and how their interanimation have influenced one another throughout history.


Assignments and Grading

  • Class Participation (10%)
  • Social Movement Blog Post (10%)
  • Reading Reflections (20%)
  • Project Proposal (10%)
  • Annotated Bibliography (10%)
  • Revision Reflections (5%)
  • Final Paper (35%)


Texts and Films

  • Acuña, Rodolfo A. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 8th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2015.
  • Antebi, Susan, and Beth E. Jörgensen. Libre Acceso: Latin American Literature and Film through Disability Studies. SUNY Press, 2015.
  • Bedolla, Lisa Garcia. Latino Politics. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
  • Ceresa, Robert M. Cuban American Political Culture and Civic Organizing: Tocqueville in Miami. Springer, 2017.
  • Chavez, Karma R. Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities. University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • Gómez, Alan Eladio. The Revolutionary Imaginations of Greater Mexico: Chicana/o Radicalism, Solidarity Politics, and Latin American Social Movements. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016.
  • Harvest of Empire The Untold Story of Latinos in America, 2020.
  • Inclán, María de la Luz. The Zapatista Movement and Mexico’s Democratic Transition: Mobilization, Success, and Survival. Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • Langer, Erick Detlef, and Elena Muñoz. Contemporary Indigenous Movements in Latin America. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
  • Latner, Teishan A. Cuban Revolution in America: Havana and the Making of a United States Left, 1968–1992. UNC Press Books, 2018.
  • Pérez, Emma. The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.
  • Rodriguez, Phillip, David Ventura, Alison Sotomayor, Claudio Rocha, and L. L. C. City Projects. The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo. Los Angeles, California: City Projects, LLC, 2018.
  • Rousseau, Stéphanie, and Anahi Morales Hudon. Indigenous Women’s Movements in Latin America: Gender and Ethnicity in Peru, Mexico, and Bolivia. Springer, 2016.
  • Wanzer-Serrano, Darrell. The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015.

RHE 330D • Transgender Rhetorics

43960 • Hsu, Vox
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 104
show description

This course will examine rhetorics that (re)shape normative and transgressive conceptions of gender, focusing especially on how they affect the lives of transgender people. With a deliberately intersectional perspective, we will consider how gender interlaces with discourses of race, Indigeneity, dis/ability, class, nationality, and other vectors of identity. Students will learn about the histories through which gender and gender norms have been constructed in popular and political conversations, as well as how trans activists have agitated for more expansive conceptions and practices of gender. Though our focus will be primarily on North American histories of gender, we will also explore how those values are transmitted through global circulations of power. Examining a wide array of settings, we will consider how gender pervades everyday life—through healthcare, legal, and educational settings; through news and popular media; and through interpersonal relationships.


The central questions that will drive our discussions include:

  • When and where is gender made apparent in everyday life, and whom does that affect and how?
  • What are the explicit and implicit rhetorics that affect the lives and well-being of transgender people?
  • What rhetorical strategies have trans and gender-variant people used to build solidarity, to protect one another, and to challenge social and state structures that reinforce cisgender privilege?
  • How is gender always interacting with histories and expectations around race/ethnicity, Indigeneity, class, citizenship, dis/ability, and sexuality?


Assignments and Grading      

Labor in this course will follow this approximate breakdown, but if students feel that these expectations impede their ability to learn, I encourage them to speak with me:

  • Reading responses – brief engagements with assigned readings (15%)
  • Application & Inquiry response – a longer reading response that requires students to apply trans theory to a text of their choosing (15%)
  • Participation – regular attendance and active engagement with class discussions (20%)
  • Gender audit – a close study of how and when gender is made apparent in a particular organization or setting (20%)
  • Final Project – a final critical or artistic project that engages with the core questions of the class (traditionally an essay, but the genre is open to creative options) (30%)


Required Texts and Course Readings

Readings will include excerpts from Susan Stryker’s Transgender History, Heath Fogg Davis’s Beyond Trans, Dean Spade’s Normal Life, Jian Neo Chen’s Trans Exploits, Anne Fausto-Sterling’s Sexing the Body, and Hil Malatino’s Trans Care. Articles include Qwo-Li Driskill’s “Doubleweaving Two-Spirit Critiques” and Patterson and Spencer’s “Toward Trans Rhetorical Agency.”

RHE 330E • Divn Persasn Bibl Time/Plce

43980 • Charney, Davida
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM FAC 9
GCWr (also listed as J S 363, MES 342)
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Strategies for persuading audiences were distilled into the art of rhetoric in ancient Athens, where critical thinking and civic oratory became key parts of democratic governance.  This course employs the concepts of rhetorical theory to examine the distinctive persuasive strategies used around the same time in the cultures of the ancient Near East and in the Hebrew Bible in particular.


Like other ancient Near Eastern texts, the Hebrew Bible contains many examples of human speakers trying to persuade God or trying to persuade other people on God's behalf.  What seems distinctive about the Hebrew Bible is the willingness of Israelites to argue with and challenge God. The assumption that God is open to argument raises fascinating questions: how can one pull off rhetorical tactics with a divine being who is all-powerful and all-knowing? Why should God engage in arguments with humans? How did Israelites discern God's response?


The course is structured around three types of discourses: face-to-face interaction, prayer, and prophecy.  Students will analyze the rhetorical strategies of Biblical passages of each type, consider how these discourses differed across cultures in the ancient Near East, and relate them to versions of these discourses in the U.S. today.



JS 363 Topics in Arts and Humanities, new topic: Divine Persuasion in Biblical Times and Places

MES 342 Topics in the Middle East: Arts and Humanities, new topic: Divine Persuasion in Biblical Times and Places



15% Participation (posting on discussion boards and peer reviews)

25% Quizzes

15% Rhetorical Analysis Project: 2-3 page rhetorical analysis of each type of text (5% each)

25% Cultural Comparison Paper: 6-8 page comparative analysis across ancient discourses/cultures

25% Rhetorical Implications Paper: 6-8 page paper developing an argument about implicatons of these early texts to religious rhetoric today.


Global Cultures Flag:

This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase

your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a

substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and

histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.


Required Texts:

George Kennedy, Comparative Rhetoric: An Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction, Oxford University Press, 1998.

John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018.

Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, Michael Fishbane, The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring The Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation College Edition, 2003

RHE 330E • Nonargumntatv Rhet In Zen

43970 • Piekarski, Krzysztof
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 308
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"Don’t go searching for the Truth. Just let go of your opinion.” ~ Hsin Shin Ming

American rhetoric is strongly grounded in argument and persuasion, and infused with judgments of good and bad, right and wrong. This is true not only for public discourse in the media, academic discourse in schools, and professional writing and speaking, it is also true in everyday conversation. We are constantly trying to convince someone of our judgments, or that something or someone is good or bad, right or wrong—a restaurant, a movie, a car, a teacher. Everything is evaluated and every conversation is full of assertions of value. But what if there were a different, equally “real” way to talk about the world and each other that didn’t create antagonistic relationships? What if we believed that each person is capable of waking up to the reality around her, and responding appropriately, without being converted to some position or belief? What kind of language would we use, and how would we use it?

Zen training begins by kicking the props out of our customary ways of understanding and talking. It subverts value distinctions, challenges our habitual ways of expressing ourselves, and denies the superiority of rationalist, linear logic. It does not do this merely to "deconstruct" language, or to tear down all meaning. It has a radical project of waking us up out of the trance we create for ourselves and others through our habitual uses of language. This class will explore how contradiction, negation, story, surprise, gesture, and silence are used in Zen training as resources for awakening to reality, rather than as assertions or arguments about it. The cryptic pronouncements of Zen masters seem impenetrable. They appear to defy our western rhetorical traditions that depend on logic and formal reasoning as the key to building knowledge. Zen teachers complicate the issue by insisting that language is only "the finger pointing at the moon, not the moon itself." If you have ever tried to write about a meaningful experience, you will recognize the problematic relationship between language and reality. This course engages students in exploring the surprising uses of language and image to create meaning in Zen tradition and practice. 

Students do not need any prior experience or knowledge of Zen rhetoric or Zen practices. The first part of the class will provide background on Zen concepts including ethical precepts and koans, then consider the emergence of the American Zen rhetorical tradition. This class is not an introduction to Zen practice, but rather an exploration of an alternative rhetoric, a different method of using language to construct meaning and shape relationships that help foster care and respect rather than antagonism and aggression.

Grading Policy: Grades in this course are determined on the basis of the Learning Record, which accompanies a portfolio of work presented at the midterm and at the end of the course. These portfolios present a selection of student work, both formal and informal, completed during the semester, ongoing observations about student learning, and analysis of student work and interpretations with respect to the student's development across five dimensions of learning: confidence and independence, knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, use of prior and emerging experience, and reflectiveness. This development centers around the major strands of work in the course: rhetoric and composition, research, technology, and collaboration. The criteria for grades are posted at the Learning Record web site. Please also notice the RHE policy on absences, which can affect your grade. Three unexcused absences will lower your final grade, four unexcused absences results in automatic failure of the course.


Joko Beck, Everyday Zen; Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger, Zen Radicals, Rebels, and Reformers; Norman Fischer and Susan moon, What is Zen?; Mu Soeng, Trust in Mind; Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind; John Tarrant, Bring be the Rhinoceros; Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality; Dale Wright, Philosophical Meditation on Zen Buddhism

RHE 330E • Rhetoric And Narrative-Wb

43975 • Diab, Rasha
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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“the world is a set of stories which must be chosen among to live the good life in a process of continual recreation.

In short, good reasons are the stuff of stories”—Fisher

Are we storytelling animals? In this course, we will examine rhetorical narratives. This will help us, for example, examine stories we live by, stories we tell about ourselves, and stories that are told about us and others. What is common between these narratives is that they provide an “interpretive lens” that shapes our relationship with and perception of ourselves, people, life, experiences, and possibilities.

Because of their seeming simplicity, rhetorical narratives call on us to be vigilant and mindful rhetors who are aware of the multidimensional activities involved; narratives engage our intellects, emotions, ideologies, and ethics. Our explorations of rhetorical narratives will address questions like:

  • Do we know rhetorical narratives when we see them?
  • What makes a narrative rhetorical?  What are the rhetorical features and functions of narrative?
  • How do narratives appeal to us? What are the consequences of rhetorical narratives?
  • What are our ethical and rhetorical responsibilities as readers and writers of narrative?

As we read about and respond to these questions, we will explore the rhetorical dimensions of a variety of narratives from different times and different regions in the world. These narratives are used in different genres like news reports, biographical writing, testimonials, and political speeches. To analyze these narratives, we will use different rhetorical concepts like representation, presence, identification, terministic screens, and pentadic ratios.

Assignments and Grading

Students’ performance will be assessed based on an achievement rubric detailed at the beginning of the semester.

Major assignments will include:

  • Two researched, peer reviewed, and substantially revised papers (60%)

  • Short writing assignments (15%)
  • Participation (class participation, oral report/leading class discussion, individual or group presentation) (15%)
  • Attendance (policy detailed at the beginning of the semester) 

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • The Course reader will include:
  • Selections from Krista Ratcliffe’s Rhetorical Listening, James Phelan’s Narrative as Rhetoric, Carol Lipson and Roberta Binkley’s Ancient Non-Greek Rhetoric, Kenneth Burke’s Rhetoric of Motives, Pereleman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s New Rhetoric, Andrews and Bamberg’s Considering Counter-Narratives, Fisher’s Human Communication as Narration, Page and Bronwen’s New Narratives: Stories and Storytelling in the Digital Age. 


Articles/Chapters like Fisher’s “Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm”, Burgess’ “The Rhetoric of Moral Conflict”, Kirkwood’s “Narrative and the Rhetoric of Possibility”, Lucaites and Condit’s “Re-constructing Narrative Theory”, McClure’s “Resurrecting the Narrative Paradigm: Identification and the Case of Young Earth Creationism”, Lewis’s “Telling America’s Story: Narrative Form and the Reagan Presidency”, and Corder’s “Rhetoric as Love”.