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2000-Level Courses

Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications


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A selection from the following courses will be offered each term. Please check WebAdvisor or the Student Handbook for course availability.

RHET-2131 (3) Professional Style and Editing (Lecture)

This course teaches students to revise their prose, not for new ideas but for better phrasing of the ones they already have. Students will learn how to write in several prose styles and to edit each other's work professionally in terms of stylistic (rather than only grammatical) criteria. The course will include a number of short style exercises as well as longer essays, and a great deal of practice in editing. It will be a great help for anyone intending to write polished term papers or theses, not to mention business memos.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2134 (3) The Rhetorical Tradition (Lecture)

This course traces a rhetorical narrative from classical to contemporary times, focusing on key rhetorical moments and shifts. It examines the ancient tradition as gleaned through the texts of such thinkers as Aristotle, Cicero, and the Sophists. Its historical survey includes rhetorical thought and practice from medieval times, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It concludes with more recent rhetorical thinkers whose insights address the events and exigencies of contemporary life. This course provides historical grounding for understanding the study of rhetoric, a tradition that is always evolving.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2135 (3) Rhetorical Criticism (Lecture)

This course is recommended for students whose interests extend beyond the kinds of literature traditionally studied in English courses. The emphasis will be on non-literary texts and on language used to persuade -- on media talk and advertising copy; on political speeches, campaigns, and editorials; on popular and professional essays. For the rhetorical critic, such uses of language are considered worthy of close analysis not because they have lasting aesthetic value, but because they reveal cultural values and social trends. Students in this course will examine a variety of nonfiction in order to develop the perspective of rhetorical criticism, which views language acts as responses to historical circumstances, addressed to particular audiences and motivated by particular goals. Contemporary, written texts will comprise the bulk of the reading in the course, but speeches and pre-modern texts may also be considered. In addition, students will be encouraged to suggest other readings (including magazine and newspaper articles) that are suitable for rhetorical analysis.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2137 (3) Contemporary Communication Theories (Lecture)

Communication theories explain the way human beings interact verbally, at levels ranging from the interpersonal to the organizational. In this course, students are introduced to some of the major contemporary theories and practices pertaining to individual and group communication. These theories include (but are not limited to) social construction, symbolic interactionism, cultural criticism, dramatism, hermeneutics, standpoint theory, ethics, relational theories, and gender-based approaches. Readings are drawn from contemporary North American and European theorists. A variety of written and oral assignments invite students to apply their understanding of these theories to practical, even everyday communicative situations.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2141 (3) Representations of Indigeneity (Lecture)

This course investigates the representation of Indigenous peoples in contemporary and historical forms of public communication such as text books, scholarship, government documents, internet, television, news media and public awareness campaigns, and how these representations contribute to perpetuating, challenging, or dispelling racist stereotypes and colonization practices. There is an emphasis on writing by emerging and established Indigenous writers and scholars on themed topics such as business and economics, history, politics, art, social movements, environment, and education. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the Writing requirement [prerequisite(s)]; Completion of 24 credit hours [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2142 (3) Rhetoric of Animality (Lecture)

This course examines what has come to be known in the humanities as "the question of the animal". It considers how moral discourse in the West has failed to grapple with the physical and metaphysical presence of non-human animals. Students examine how the moral status of animals has been theorized in Western thought. Students interrogate the different tropes used to uphold the human-animal distinction, including the idea that speech, communication, and reason confer a special status upon humanity. Students engage a wide range of writings addressing "the question of the animal". Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course.Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the Writing requirement [prerequisite(s)]; Completion of 24 credit hours [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2143 (3) Rhetoric of Medicine (Lecture)

Medicine is one of the oldest and most respected professions. Given its centrality in our lives, it is crucial that medicine be taken seriously by the humanities. What, then, does rhetoric have to say about medicine? How can we use rhetoric to investigate the history, practice, and culture of medicine? What insights can rhetoric offer about medical discourse? This course explores the role of language, performance, ethics, and power in medicine. The aim is to cultivate a crucial humanistic perspective on medicine and to understand its place in the modern social imaginary. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the Writing requirement [prerequisite(s)]; Completion of 24 credit hours [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2145 (3) Theories and Practices of Oral Communication (Lecture)

The goals of this course are threefold: to improve students' presentation skills in both design and delivery, to develop their critical analysis of presentations, and to extend their scholarly understanding of rhetoric and oratory. This course covers such topics as presentation structure, paralinguistic communication, the use of technology, charisma, gender and delivery, and rhetorical strategies of identification. Course work is evenly distributed between praxis-centred performance and scholarly reading and analysis, with assignments including both spoken presentations and theory-based research work.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2246 (3) Revolutions in Communication (Lecture)

This course provides students with an historical overview of communication, focusing particularly on those periods in which human relations were dramatically influenced by a shift from one communicative medium to another. After briefly considering the early use of pictorial symbols, the emergence of language, and the development of writing, the course examines some of the profound social changes effected in the western world by the fifteenth century invention of the printing press. Finally, we focus on the revolutionary impact of twentieth century communicative technologies: radio, telephone and then the computer and the Internet, the effects of which are so wide-ranging that we have only begun to assess them.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2250 (3) Communications and Popular Culture (Lecture)

This course examines the relationship between the rise of new media and discourses used to write about popular culture. The course looks at changing rhetorics of taste, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, as new media made art and culture more accessible to the public. Students examine how new processes of mediated distribution of art changed the discursive strategies for writing about popular culture. Course topics include the rise of photography and the technological reproducibility of images; mass media and the culture industry; technology and globalization; and augmented reality and video games.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2350 (3) Writing in Digital Spaces (Lecture)

This course is designed as an introduction to reading and writing digital texts. Just as electronic devices have become the tools of choice for composition, so networks have become a medium of choice for publication. Students learn the effects of the following contexts on writing: real-time, synchronous communication; anytime asynchronous communication; and emerging online genres (such as social media and blogs). Emphasis is on reader awareness in evaluating the credibility of material in the online environment, developing and evaluating an online ethos, and webpage production that balances audience awareness, online conventions, and visual design.Note: You cannot receive credit for this course if you have credit for it under its former title, Reading and Writing Online.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2500 (3) Tutoring Writing (Lecture)

This course introduces students who want to work as tutors to the current theories of tutoring writing, to the protocols and procedures of our Tutoring Centre, and to the specific demands of our students. These demands include writing in the disciplines and tutoring English-as-an-Additional-Language writers. The course requires delivery of public workshops on writing, as well as contributions to writing centre communities nationally and internationally. As students begin tutoring, they reflect together on their experiences, increasing their resources and tutoring strategies.

Restrictions: Students may not hold credit for this course and EDUC-3301 | EDUC-3303 | EDUC-3305 | RHET-2505 | RHET-2520.

Requisite Courses: Grade of B or better in any section of Academic Writing or in any upper-level course in Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications or permission of instructor [prerequisite(s)].

RHET-2530 (3) Rhetorical Grammar (Lecture)

This course sharpens students' ability to edit efficiently at the sentence and paragraph levels. Through close analysis of examples, students first acquire a vocabulary for discussing grammar, syntax, and error that refines their understanding of English sentence structures. With these tools, students can identify structural flaws more precisely and thoroughly and better distinguish between errors and stylistic choices. The relationship between sentences - cohesion, unity, and emphasis - is then considered, and students are briefly introduced to fundamentals of style. Hands-on and skills-centred, this course includes many editing exercises.

Requisite Courses: Any section of Academic Writing or exemption from the writing requirement and completion of 24 credit hours. Students taking a Major in Rhetoric and Communications must complete Academic Writing before taking this course [prerequisite(s)].

Updated: Semptember 2020