RHETORIC CORE SYLLABI

 

RHET 101: Introductory Rhetoric

Course content
The first of a three-course sequence, Rhetoric 101 introduces rhetorical principles and their use in persuasive academic writing. Required papers will emphasize argument and focus on strategies such as literacy narratives, comparison and contrast, and cause and effect. In addition to journaling/blogging, students can expect at least four writing assignments. Required course: student must achieve a grade of “C” or above to meet this requirement. PRQ (Pre-requisites): None. Required unless entering with an Advanced Placement score of 4-5 or departmental approval of transfer credit. Scheduled: Fall/Spring, yearly. Meets: Rh 

Student goals

  • Develop Rhetorical Knowledge
  • Develop Critical Thinking, Reading, and Composing Abilities
  • Cultivate Process Approaches to Composition
  • Develop Knowledge of Conventions
  • Develop Skills in Argumentation

To pass RHET101, students must complete all required assignments as stated on the course syllabus. Students will be expected to participate in workshopping and conferencing activities.

RHET 102: Intermediate Rhetoric

Course content
The second course of the rhetoric sequence, RHET 102 Intermediate Rhetoric, reinforces the rhetorical principles of argument introduced in RHET 101 Introductory Rhetoric. The focus of RHET 102 is on research-based writing, offered in three units: rhetorical analysis, research literacy, and applied rhetoric. Assignments include rhetorical analyses, descriptive and evaluative research review, and a substantive research project. Required course: student must achieve a grade of “C” or above to meet this requirement. PRQ (Pre-requisites): Grade of “C” or above in RHET 101 or departmental approval of transfer credit. Scheduled: Fall/Spring, yearly Meets: Rh 

Student goals

  • Develop Rhetorical Knowledge
  • Develop Critical Thinking, Reading, and Composing Abilities
  • Cultivate Process Approaches to Composition
  • Develop Knowledge of Conventions
  • Develop Skills in Argumentation

To pass RHET 102, students must complete all required assignments as stated on the course syllabus. Students will be expected to participate in workshopping and conferencing activities.

RHET 351: Applied Rhetoric

Course content
RHET 351 Applied Rhetoric is the third course of the rhetoric sequence. Students demonstrate their skills in rhetoric by applying rhetorical principles of argument to a focused topic, which varies by section. RHET 351 builds on RHET 102 by assigning rhetorical analyses, research reviews, and a research project; however, these assignments are completed in the context of the section’s focus and with an emphasis on both oral and written arguments. Required course. PRQ: Grade of “C” or above in RHET 102 or equivalent and 45 hours of college course work. Transfer credit will not be accepted to meet the RHET 351 requirement. Scheduled: fall and spring, yearly. Meets: Rh.

Section description
The course and section descriptions are posted/published in the course schedule. A sampling of offerings follows:

“Rhetorics of the Body”: In this course we will take up the “body” as a site for rhetorical analysis, investigating such topics as the cyborg body, the sexed and/or gendered body, the disabled body, body modification, and medicalized bodies. Students will be asked to examine the ways in which rhetorical theory enables us to understand and respond to the variant meanings ascribed to bodies, to unveil the potentially discriminatory or unjust means through which bodies are labeled, and to increase awareness of the power (or lack of power) that bodies have in a given context. Course readings will explore the nexus of embodiment theory and rhetorical practice, reading benchmark works alongside contemporary texts and cultural artifacts. Over the course of the semester, students will be required to create a portfolio of work that employs rhetorical principles in examining the body. Specific assignments will include rhetorical analyses, research review, and the development of a large-scale, student-directed research project focused on an issue related to the rhetorical body.

“Environmental Rhetoric”: This course offers students an opportunity to study rhetoric on a variety of topics related to the environment, including conservation, animal rights, environmental justice, and the local foods movement. Readings for the class will range broadly from creative non-fiction and advertisements to film and poetry. With a grounding in these texts, students will then move on to develop their own research projects related to environmental rhetoric. This section of Rhet 351 should be a good match for students in the sciences and those concerned with the challenging environmental issues that we are faced with today. This course includes a CBL component. 

“Rhetoric of Professional Communication”: This course addresses the high-stakes world of professional communication by giving students practice in many professional genres, both written (in emails, memos, reports, and resumes) and spoken (in presentations). Our work in these genres will be shaped by an emphasis on design (including the effective use of colors, fonts, and other visual elements), both in print and online. We’ll approach these genres through the lens of rhetoric, the classical art of communicating effectively through attention to purpose, audience, context, and genre. Students will compose rhetorical analyses, redesign flyers, research effective professional communication strategies, and work with a group to create documents for a local nonprofit organization. 

“Dystopia: The Rhetoric of Dark Futures”: The twentieth-century has produced many dreadful visions of the future. These visions, whether dystopian or apocalyptic, create a powerful discourse of dehumanization brought about by loss of privacy, restricted civil rights, uncontrolled technology, human bio-engineering, and in some cases, nuclear or environmental annihilation. This course examines the genre of dystopia with a view to understanding its rhetoric, common traits, ideological modes, and historical specificity, including the new culture of “alternative facts”. Although the term “dystopia” predates 1900, dystopia became a recognizable literary and cultural genre during the twentieth century and has not lost its hold on our imagination in the twenty-first, as evidenced by recent films, novels, and animation. This rhetorical discourse consists of cautionary tales, social and political criticism, and thought experiments about scary futures that tell us more about the conditions in which they are made than about any anticipated future. While hopefully not prophetic, the rhetoric of dystopia deserves our attention as a primary register of current social fears and anxieties. 

“Gender and Rhetoric” This course offers students an opportunity to study Rhetoric on a variety of topics related to gender, including gendered media, gender in the workplace, gendered communication, and gender in the socialization process. The course will also examine the role of Rhetoric in the development of women’s and men’s movements in the United States. Readings for the class will range broadly from speeches and advertisements to essays and film. With a grounding in these texts, students will then move on to develop their own research projects related to Gender and Rhetoric. This course includes a CBL component.

“The Rhetoric of Sports” Consider: Michael Jordan’s tongue; Monica Seles’s grunt; John Madden’s bus; Tiger Woods’s apology. The evolution of sports rhetoric over the past two decades, with 24 hour cable and Internet coverage, permeates a good deal of the current cultural lexicon. Whether or not one considers him/herself a sports fan, the aforementioned names invoke some mix of verbal and visual cues. This class, within the context of classic rhetorical theory, and along with an anthology of Sports writing from the past century, will examine the visual and verbal arguments present throughout the 20th century as Sports solidified its hold on American culture. Students will read, analyze, the write on the arguments inherent in selected examples of sports writing and iconic sports images throughout the 20th century; in so doing, the class will consider the language of the sports themselves, including terminology, slang, and phrases employed both on and off the field; we will also consider the larger implications of the evolution of sports to broader issues of American identity as it pertains to issues of morality, gender, race, and class.

“Rhetoric of Change” Leaders strive to think locally and globally about the world, and they take action to change it. “Change” is one of the most popular campaign pitches for politicians. In this course, we will approach the rhetorical persuasiveness of such calls to action. Eric Fromm distinguishes the rebel from the revolutionary precisely to the degree to which the rebel has an agenda that can be understood as a cogent rhetorical argument. Calls for change can come in many forms, including films, essays, slogans, Op-Ed pieces, and protest art. While working with primary sources from the Library of Congress and also various secondary sources, we will apply classical rhetorical theory to study various calls to action. Students will collaborate on a presentation wherein they use primary sources from the Library of Congress to investigate targeted texts about civil rights. The final project includes an extended research essay that analyzes rhetorical arguments used in achieving a particular societal change in recent history. If they prefer, students may demonstrate their abilities to effectively wield rhetorical strategies in other ways. They may put forth an argument for how a particular change occurred, or they may produce an extended, researched argument that calls for societal transformation.

Student goals

  • Use the components of arguments (including claims, evidence, and proofs) in multiple rhetorical situations and genres
  • Analyze the effectiveness of arguments in their contexts
  • Apply sound rhetorical principles to build arguments in multiple genres and modalities
  • Demonstrate information literacy skills

To pass RHET 351, students must complete all required assignments as stated on the course syllabus. Students will be expected to participate in workshopping and conferencing activities.

DEPARTMENT INFORMATION

English
Scarborough Hall
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4098

William Gahan, Ph.D.
WGahan@rockford.edu