4000-Level Courses

Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications

(PDF) (Word)

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

FALL (2021) TERM

Modern Rhetorical Theory
RHET-4138, Section 001, Fall
Schedule: TuTh 16:00-17:15
Instruction Method: In-person
Instructor: Jason Hannan
(contact for permission to register)

This course provides an overview of modern rhetorical theory. It covers several major figures and schools of thought from the twentieth century to the present. Contemporary themes addressed include power, politics, democracy, science, religion, art, media, and popular culture. Students learn how to apply the theories learned in class to everyday life. The aim of the course is to help students become more critically aware of the complexities of our social and symbolic universe.

Critical Theories of Discourse and Ideology
RHET-4151, Section 001, Fall
Schedule: TuTh 11:30-12:45
Instruction Method: In-person
Instructor: Matthew Flisfeder
(contact for permission to register)

Critical theories of discourse and ideology enable us to identify the ways that culturally prominent systems of value-laden language produce the forms and limits of probable (and even possible) thoughts and values. This course engages students in an intensive study of theories of discourse and ideology, and the rhetorical strategies used for writing about and critiquing ideological texts in the media. Using examples from contemporary media, it focuses on theories of rhetoric, discourse, and ideology that may be used for critiquing ideological texts and the ways that modern mass media use rhetoric, language, and images to reproduce forms of power.

Specifically, this course, looks comparatively at the historical development of theories of ideology and ideological criticism, and discourse theory and criticism. Students will learn about the debates within these theories as they engage with concepts developed by each, learning strategies for using them to produce criticisms of contemporary forms of power in ideology, discourse, and rhetoric.


Rhetoric of Nonfiction
RHET-4150, Section 001, Winter
Schedule: TuTh 13:00-14:15
Instruction Method: In-person
Instructor: Jaqueline McLeod Rogers
(contact for permission to register)

This course examines nonfiction as a creative, constructive art that draws on a wide range of literary and rhetorical resources to entertain, inform, and persuade readers. Nonfiction encompasses a variety of genres--travel and adventure literature, memoir and biography, nature writing, the personal essay, the polemical essay, and New Journalism. The focus in any given year depends on the instructor's interests and selection of readings. Whatever the focus, the course considers each text as both rhetorical and literary, taking into account the context of its writing and intended audience, its author's purposes, its central ideas, its structure, and its style. The course involves intensive close reading and examination of assigned texts using literary and rhetorical approaches. The class consists of short lecture presentations and a great deal of class discussion.

Digital Rhetorics
RHET-4152, Section 001, Winter
Schedule: MW 14:30-15:45
Instruction Method: In-person
Instructor: Robert Neubauer
(contact for permission to register)

This course introduces students to the basic themes, issues, and intellectual debates in the study of digital rhetoric. It provides a critical perspective on what it means to live in a digitally mediated world. To this end, the course seeks to answer the following questions: How should we define media? What separates digital media from old media? What is the relationship of digital media to culture and society? What role does digital communication and rhetoric play in a modern democracy, and how does the evolving shape of digital media impact our culture, politics, and social identities? Topics will include changing modes of cultural production with the rise of digital media; utopian understandings of the early internet; the changing shape of journalism; concerns about ‘fake news’ and disinformation on democracy; the societal impact of social media; concerns about the impact of digital surveillance and corporate consolidation of the internet on digital rhetoric; the use of digital communications in social movements; and contemporary debates about freedom of speech, political polarisation, and digital ‘echo chambers’.

Rhetorics of Identity
RHET-4420, Section 001, Winter
Schedule: TuTh 16:00-17:15
Instruction Method: In-person
Instructor: Eunhee Buettner
(contact for permission to register)

This course undertakes an intensive study into the symbolic mediation of identity. It examines how symbolic systems reflect, produce, and challenge such concepts as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, ability, age, nationality, and humanness. Drawing connections between discourses and privilege, the course also explores power and identity politics, examining the reciprocal relationship between symbols and ideology. Its topics may include the performance and circulation of digitally mediated identities, constitutive rhetoric, rhetoric of the body, civic identity, and the post-human.

Updated: July 13, 2021