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2000-Level Courses

Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications


2000-Level Courses (PDF)

FALL TERM, 2018

Professional Style and Editing
RHET-2131, Section 001
Fall Term, TuTh 11:30 AM TO 12:30 PM
Instructor: Sheila Page

In this course, we will explore the possibilities available to us as writers and editors to use language effectively in a variety of situations. Through assignments that include short essays as well as editing and writing exercises, students will learn about the flexibility of writing as well as the principles of good communication, such as correctness, clarity, and coherence.

Part of the course is devoted to helping students develop a facility with different written voices: colloquial, formal, and mid-range. We will analyse the characteristics that mark each voice as its own, and we will assess the ways in which shared characteristics are moderated to achieve different effects.

Another part of the course is designed to sharpen students’ editorial techniques and strategies. We will look at the concerns of sentence-level editing, such as clarity and balance, as well as the goals of editing longer passages, such as coherence and structure. Throughout, students will practise the key elements of the editorial stance: respecting the author’s ideas and voice and working to sharpen the former while honouring the latter.

All parts of the course will be informed by discussion about the ways in which the rhetorical situation shapes our language choices. We will consider the writer’s relationship to subject, audience, and purpose and how it is revealed through the text; we will also look at how to shift the importance of different elements of the rhetorical situation as a way to achieve effective prose in a variety of situations, ranging from the familiar to the ceremonial and the academic to the organisational.

Rhetorical Criticism
RHET–2135, Section 001
Fall Term, TuTh 8:30 AM TO 9:45 AM
Instructor: Andrew McGillivray

This course is concerned with the study of persuasion in speech, in other forms of communication, and in representation. To gain a sound knowledge of the practice of rhetorical criticism we will explore the rhetorical tradition and several contemporary critical methods. Artifacts we will read, listen to, and/or view in our critical practice include speeches, written texts, advertisements, works of art, films, websites, statues, monuments, and other types of cultural object. We will study these objects in light of their surroundings, and thus each artifact is placed in a specific context. Study of these artifacts will reveal just as much about audiences as the objects themselves. Our class meetings present us with opportunities for discussion in an open, thoughtful, and critical environment. An especially important element of this course is our commitment to concentrated and critical discourse.

Contemporary Communication Theories
RHET-2137, Section 001
Fall Term, MW 2:30 PM TO 3:45 PM
Instructor: Matthew Flisfeder

This course introduces students to some of the central theories in contemporary communication studies. It covers a broad range of topics, including: media and ideology; media and public discourse; democracy and the public sphere; the critical political economy of communication; cultural representation and images of inequality in the media; media convergence and contemporary media experiences; and, new media culture and identity

Rhetoric of Animality
RHET-2142, Section 001
Fall Term, MW 4:00 PM TO 5:15 PM
Instructor: Jason Hannan

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.

Writing in Digital Spaces
RHET-2350, Section 001
Fall Term, TuTh 2:30 PM TO 3:45 PM
Instructor: Helen Lepp Friesen

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

Rhetorical Grammar
RHET-2530, Section 001
Fall Term, TuTh 4:00 PM TO 5:15 PM
Instructor: Janice Freeman

This course sharpens students’ ability to write and 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 and paragraph structures. With these tools, students can identify structural flaws in prose 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 peer- centred, this course includes many writing and editing exercises, some completed within class, others assigned as homework. Previous students have said that it supports and complements their understanding of other Rhetoric and language courses and should be considered a prerequisite to such courses as Professional Style and Editing and Rhetorical Criticism.

TEXTS AND MATERIALS

~Five different colours of highlighter pens

~Access to Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects (8th Edition), Martha J. Kolln, Loretta Gray
~on reserve in the library or you can purchase the text at the bookstore; ensure if you buy a used copy that it is the eighth edition

FALL/WINTER TERMS, 2018 TO 2019

Tutoring Writing
RHET-2500, Section 001
Fall/Winter, Tu 1:00 AM TO 2:15 PM
Instructor: Helen Lepp Friesen

This course is designed to provide the theoretical and practical knowledge you will need to work as a writing tutor in the Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications. Readings in composition theory and in the principles of peer tutoring will introduce you to such topics as the composing process, methods of writing assessment, rhetorical expectations in academic writing, and the ethical responsibilities of tutors in a peer tutoring relationship. Students enrolled in this course will be expected to be a part of UW’s growing community of tutors by taking part in online community-building, will “shadow” existing tutors to learn about best practices in peer conferences, will commit ten hours of time to peer tutoring in the fall term, and will be expected to hold at least one workshop project for the university community that is in the interests of the Tutoring Centre.

WINTER TERM, 2019

Professional Style and Editing
RHET-2131, Section 002
Winter Term, TuTh 2:30 PM TO 3:45 PM
Instructor: Robert Byrnes

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.

The Rhetorical Tradition
RHET–2134, Section 001
Winter Term, TuTh 2:30 PM TO 3:45 PM
Instructor: Tracy Whalen

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.

Rhetorical Criticism
RHET–2135, Section 002
Winter Term, MW 1:30 PM TO 2:45 PM
Instructor: Tracy Whalen

This course covers a broad range of approaches to the critical study of public discourse. These include close reading, Aristotelian criticism, ideological criticism, dramaturgical criticism, feminist criticism, Marxist criticism, and posthumanist criticism. The course will review several prominent debates in the field of rhetorical criticism, including the role of the critic, the tension between modernist and postmodernist criticism, and the more recent tension between humanist and posthumanist criticism. Immersion in these debates and extensive practice with these different types of criticism will train the student of rhetoric to read public discourse through a critical eye, to identify patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed, and to conduct critique with the aim of making the world a better place.

Contemporary Communication Theories
RHET-2137, Section 002
Winter Term, MW 4:00 PM TO 5:15 PM
Instructor: Jason Hannan

This course introduces students to some of the central theories in contemporary communication studies. It covers a broad range of topics, including: media and ideology; media and public discourse; democracy and the public sphere; the critical political economy of communication; cultural representation and images of inequality in the media; media convergence and contemporary media experiences; and, new media culture and identity.

Representations of Indigeneity
RHET-2141, Section 001/485
Winter Term, TuTh 2:30 PM TO 3:45 PM
Instructor: Helen Lepp Friesen

In this course we will look at the representation of Indigenous peoples and how society either contributes to perpetuating, challenging, or dispelling racial stereotypes and colonization practices. We will examine writing by emerging and established Indigenous writers and scholars, on themed topics such as business and economics, art, social movements, media, wellness, and education. The purpose of this course is to look at interconnections of critical, creative, and theoretical narratives, perspectives, and knowledge of Indigeneity as represented by contemporary society. Some of the strategies that we will use to accomplish the goals are in-class discussions on assigned readings, seminar presentations, a Photovoice exercise, video clips, guest speakers, community building, and an exploration and invitation of creative mediums for researching, sharing and presenting knowledge

Communications & Pop Culture
RHET-2250, Section 002
Winter Term, TuTh 10:00 AM TO 11:15 AM
Instructor: Matthew Flisfeder

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.  The course also examines 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.

2000-Level Courses (PDF)