RHETORIC CORE SYLLABI
RHET 101: Introductory Rhetoric
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. Students will complete in-class writing assignments, and journaling/blogging assignments, and at least four papers. 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
- Use sound rhetorical principles when constructing and presenting arguments in multiple genres
- Identify basic components of arguments
- Critically analyze the effectiveness of arguments in their contexts
- Experience writing as a recursive process (pre-writing, drafting, and revising)
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
The second course of the rhetoric sequence, RHET 102Intermediate 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
- Learn sound rhetorical principles to build arguments in multiple genres and modalities.
- Analyze and synthesize sources while noting points of convergence and divergence.
- Articulate an argument that responds to sources in both oral and written forms.
- Evaluate the authority, reliability and validity of digital and print sources.
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
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.
The course and section descriptions are posted/published in the course schedule. A sampling of offerings follows:
“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.
“Arguing about Art” Art, whether we are speaking of music, film, theater, dance, visual art, or literature, is essential to us as human beings. Because it is, we continue to discuss its nature as well as its purpose and function. In this class, we will explore a variety of aesthetic issues. We may question, for example, the relevance of art, what is meant by “public art,” what is an “authentic performance,” the role of fakes and forgeries, art and morality, photography and representation, who determines what is considered to be “artistic.” Students will be invited to learn more about these issues in order to enable them to construct arguments of their own that place them in the center of these ongoing debates.
“Rhetoric of/in Digital Spaces” In unprecedented numbers, people are writing in various online spaces. And often, this writing is composed of more than just words, as digital texts are integrated with images, audio, and video. Ever-changing digital tools make it easier than ever for everyday people to compose these rhetorically sophisticated compositions for sharing online. Of course, these new composing habits have also led to plenty of criticisms from those troubled by issues of authority, quality, economics, and intellectual property, which sometimes become muddied in the world of online communication. In this class, students will explore both the rhetoric about digital spaces and the rhetorical moves that are possible within digital spaces. That is, we’ll confront the arguments of those who praise and critique various aspects of online, digital communication culture even as we practice making the moves we see modeled online. We’ll be guided by the fundamental questions of classical rhetoric as we compose rhetorical analyses and arguments of our own: how does our understanding of audience, purpose, and community change when anyone in the world with a networked computer can access our work? Students will blog regularly, read a variety of print and digital texts, and compose a researched, multimodal text to be shared online.
“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.
- 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.
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
William Gahan, Ph.D.