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RHET 2000 Courses

Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications


Fall (2017) Term


2000-Level Courses (PDF)

Professional Style & Editing
RHET-2131
Section 001, Fall Term
TuTh 8:30-9:45 am
Instructor: Andrew McGillivray

Description

Communication is an important part of any profession, and a central aim is to be understood accurately across a variety of formats. In this professional style and editing course, students will practice crafting their communication skills in several professional scenarios, including letter writing, presentation/meeting skills, opinion piece writing, and formal report writing. The final assignment for the course is a two-part writing and editing task on an assigned topic.

Ideas are important to all written projects, and in this course we engage with many interesting ideas, both in speech and writing. By sharpening our communication skills, our critical thinking skills in turn become more focused. Some assignments in this course encourage students to develop their own style, and other assignments encourage students to adopt a specific style. Thus flexibility in the use of language is practiced in this class, and students will find the assignments to be challenging and rewarding at the same time.


Rhetorical Criticism
RHET-2135
Section 001, Fall Term
TuTh 4:00-5:15 pm
Instructor: Jason Hannan

Description

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.


Representation of Indigeneity
RHET-2141
Section 001, Fall Term
TuTh 10:00-11:15 pm
Helen Lepp Friesen

Description

In this course we will look at the representation of Indigenous peoples in the media and society and how the media either contributes to perpetuating, challenging, or dispelling racial stereotypes and colonization practices. We will examine writing and work by emerging and established Indigenous writers, scholars, entrepreneurs, and business owners on themed topics such as business and economics, art, ceremonies, social movements, media programs, wellness, environment, and education. The purpose of this course is to learn and to look at interconnections of Indigeneity as represented by the media and contemporary society and the experience of real life narratives and perspectives. 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.


Rhetoric of Animality
RHET-2142
Section 001, Fall Term
Mon/Wed 4:00-5:15 pm
Jason Hannan

Description

How should we think about animals? Are they things or persons? Do they possess consciousness? Can they experience love, joy, pain, and suffering? Do animals deserve rights? If so, which ones? This course is devoted to “the animal question”: the different ways in which Western ethics, culture, and secular society have grappled with the physical and metaphysical presence of non-human animals. We will begin by looking at how the moral status of animals has been theorized in Western religion and philosophy. We will interrogate the different tropes used to justify human superiority and domination over nature, including the belief that the powers of speech and reason confer a special status upon humanity. Lastly, we will consider how Western ideas of justice answer or fail to answer moral claims for animals. Together, we will engage a diverse range of texts—essays, short stories, movies, and documentaries—exploring “the animal question.”


Revolutions in Communication
RHET-2246
Section 050, Fall Term
Thurs 6:00-9:00 pm
Robert Byrnes

Description

We’re living in the midst of an epoch-making media revolution today, as screens and images displace the printed text from whence came the culture of the book.  Will book culture disintegrate, or become dangerously enfeebled?  Will an image-based culture advance the civilizational project or drastically curtail it?  Will entertainment overwhelm education?  Will learning and individuality and democracy thrive in the new electronic culture, or will they suffer catastrophic regressions?  We’ll try to answer these questions after we’ve surveyed the major media of human history:  oral performance, alphabetic writing, manuscript literacy, print literacy and the explosion of general literacy in the 19th century (at least in the West), and the steady erosion of high literacy that we’ve seen, some argue, with the advent of photography, cinema, television, the personal computer and the internet—all largely visual media. 

Required Texts

The Bacchae, Euripides
Proust and the Squid, Maryanne Wolf
Life: The Movie, Neal Gabler
The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter Thompson
“Two Cultures—Television versus Print,” Camille Paglia and Neil Postman (on Electronic Reserve)


Rhetorical Grammar
RHET-2530
Section 001, Fall Term
Mon 6:00-9:00 pm
Janice Freeman

Description

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 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

-Access to Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects (7th Edition), Martha J. Kolln, Loretta Gray
(on reserve in the library or e-text via Coursesmart.com)

- Five different colours of highlighter pens


Both Term


Tutoring Writing
RHET-2500
Section 001, Fall/Winter Terms
Tues 1:00-2:15 pm
Jennifer Clary-Lemon

Description

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, and it meets once weekly throughout Fall and Winter terms. 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 (2018) Term


Rhetorical Criticism
RHET-2135
Section 002, Winter Term
TuTh 11:30-12:45 pm
Tracy Whalen

Description

Rhetoric, according to rhetorician Wayne C. Booth in Modern dogma and the rhetoric of assent, has almost always had a bad press, and more often than not it still carries a sense of trickery or bombastic disguise for a weak case (11). This course aims not only to restore rhetoric’s maligned reputation, but also to define it in the first place. (At the very least, students should know how to pronounce it.) Students study different rhetorical methods and how they can be applied to such texts as political speeches, PR releases, popular metaphors, images, and media narratives.  Students learn how symbols encourage, obstruct, and refine agreement, and therefore structure our knowledge, attitudes, and action.


Contemporary Communication Theories
RHET-2137
Section 002, Winter Term
MW 2:30-3:45 pm
Matthew Flisfeder

Description

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.

The aim of this course is to provide students with a critical and philosophical understanding of media and communication. The primary emphasis of this course is the relationship between technologies and media of communication, and contemporary theories of power and persuasion. We will explore questions such as: how does the media inform us and help to shape our lives, sense of self, and our experiences/understandings of the world around us (both locally and globally)? What are the forces at play in the production and consumption of information and media content? Who is in control? What role does the media play in democratic society? How do media and communication technologies relate to the representation of dominant and subaltern groups in society (i.e., in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and class)? Through course readings, in-class screenings, and class discussions, students will build on their abilities to develop critical engagements with contemporary communication and media.


Rhetoric of Medicine
RHET-2143
Section 050, Winter Term
Thurs 6:00-9:00 pm
Jason Hannan

Description

Medicine is one of the oldest and most respected professions. It plays an integral part in one form or another in virtually every society on the planet today. Given its centrality in our lives and given the enormous expenditures that go to support it, it is only fitting that medicine should be taken seriously by the humanities. What, then, does a discipline like rhetoric have to say about medicine? How can we use rhetoric to investigate the history, practice, and culture of the medical profession? What insights can rhetoric offer when combined with other fields, such as philosophy, sociology, and anthropology about discourses of health? In this course, we will explore the rhetoric of medicine, examining the role of language, performance, ethics, identity, and power. The aim is to cultivate a critical perspective on a profession that exercises so much power and authority over our daily lives, and to understand the place of medicine in the modern social imaginary.


Communication & Popular Culture
RHET-2250
Section 001, Winter Term
MWF 11:30-12:45 pm
Matthew Flisfeder

Description

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)