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History of Rhetoric II Summer Syllabus (2013)

History of Rhetoric II Summer Syllabus (2013)

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Published by Nathaniel Rivers
Syllabus for summer History of Rhetoric II course.
Syllabus for summer History of Rhetoric II course.

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Published by: Nathaniel Rivers on Jul 01, 2013
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Nathaniel Rivers I English 403/504 I 1
History of Rhetoric II:1701 until the present
English 403/504
Summer Session 2 2013Nathaniel A. Rivers
“Rhetoric, in the most general sense, is the energy inherent inemotion and thought, transmitted through a system of signs,including language, to others to influence their decisions or actions.” 
-George Kennedy,
 A Rhetoric of Motives 
Course Introduction
, simply defined, is the use of symbols toproduce an effect (e.g., a verbal command to “Stop,” ared traffic light, or a Journey song imploring us “Don’t’Stop Believing”). Right off the bat, though, it’s pretty helpful to think of 
rather than rhetoric. As any cursory history of rhetoric reveals, rhetorics evolve inresponse to both time and place. The rhetoric of AncientGreece differed from that of Republican Rome just asRepublican Roman rhetoric differed from the rhetoric of Imperial Roman. And this is just the rhetoric of a few locales. Rhetoric continued and continues to evolve overtime and in other places. Indeed, we could go as far as tosay that each time and place has its own uniquerhetoric(s). The period from the dawn of theEnlightenment up to the present, which is the focus of this course, has been no different. Taking the plurality and evolution of rhetorics as agiven, then, this course focuses particular attention onhow technology’s own evolution has played a part in theevolution of rhetoric. How have communicationtechnologies such as the printing press, the telegraph,the telephone, and the internet all shaped symbolicaction? How have transportation technologies like airtravel and the automobile and technologies of the body such as medicine and cosmetic surgery all done thesame? While we start in 1701 (exactly), our investigationof rhetoric will attend to how Kenneth Burke, the great20
century thinker, saw rhetoric: as the work of identification. This work is important, Burke argues,because people are inherently divided. For any group (aclass, a community, a congregation, a corporation) tocohere, rhetoric must be at work. Combining thisunderstanding of rhetoric and the above epigram, whichargues for rhetoric as a kind of energy, with the course’sfocus on technology, we will explore how varioustechnological developments have shaped both theidentification and division of peoples for the last 300+ years. We will also take a closer look at both Kennedy’sand Burke’s definitions of rhetoric; they are certainly notthe only ones nor without their critics. Additionally, we will see how the brief definition of rhetoric with which we begin the semester might not be definitive. In what ways might rhetoric exceed the traditional boundaries of symbolic action within which it is often contained? Andhow has this excess, this evolutionary mutation, beenshaped by the technologies in, on, and around us?Perhaps unsurprisingly, this history of rhetoriccourse will proceed in a chronological fashion. That said,the present often appears in the past, and the past stays with us as we move toward the present. There is a fairamount of time travel in this course. For each period of time, we will take a look at the technologies, inparticular the communication technologies, in andaround which rhetoric takes place:
: the paper machine, the steam engine, andthe distillery 
: the telegraph, the railroad, and industrialfermentation
: the telephone, the airplane, and steroids
: the smartphone, a manned mission tomars, and nanotechnology 
Course Texts
The Rhetorical Tradition
. Eds. Patricia Bizzelland Bruce Herzberg.
Communication in History: Technology, Culture,Society 
, 6/E. Eds. David Crowley and PaulHeyer.
Course Assignments
 There is a range of projects and assignments throughoutthe semester, which each attempt to create a uniqueengagement with rhetorics and their technologies. Webegin the semester with the Rhetoric Q&A essay, whichhas students draft a working definition of rhetoric by asking some specific question of it (e.g., How do
Nathaniel Rivers I English 403/504 I 2
technologies such as letter writing and text messagingshape interpersonal rhetoric? How has diplomaticrhetoric responded to the telegraph and to Wikileaks?). A follow-up assignment of sorts, the Rhetorical Object Analysis, has students investigate and describe the active,rhetorical role played by a particular technology in thehistory of rhetoric.In addition to course projects, students complete a variety of in-class exercises and participate in onlinediscussions, which will take place via Twitter (#rhet2). We might also very well use Twitter to foster backchatduring presentations and the occasional film screening. To help guide online discussion, each student will beresponsible for leading a week’s discussion. Thisdiscussion can take any number of forms (posingquestions, sharing links) but it should address andintegrate
of the assigned readings for that week.
Assignment Points
Rhetoric Q&A Essay 30Rhetorical Object Analysis 30Participation and Attendance 40
Total 100
Course Grading Scale
Final grades are calculated according to the following:
93-100 points
73-76 points
90-92 points
70-72 points
87-89 points
67-69 points
83-86 points
63-66 points
80-82 points
60-62 points
77-79 points
59 points and below 
Here is the general course rubric:
relative to the levelnecessary to meet course requirements.
significantly above 
the level necessary to meet course requirements.
the basic courserequirements in every respect.
 Achievement worthy of credit even though it doesnot fully meet the basic course requirements every respect.
Performance failing to meet the basic courserequirements.
Arts & Sciences Grading Scale
Course Goals
Writing in Context
 Analyze cultures, social contexts, and audiences todetermine how they shape the various purposes andforms of writing, such as persuasion, organizationalcommunication, and public discourse, with an emphasison:
Project Management
understanding, developing, and deploying various strategies for planning, researching,drafting, revising, and editing documents bothindividually and collaboratively 
selecting and using appropriate styles andtechnologies that effectively and ethically address contexts and audiences
through voice, evidence,documentation and accountability 
Document Design
Make rhetorical design decisions about documents (andother compositions), including:
understanding and adapting to genreconventions and audience expectations
understanding and implementing designprinciples of format and layout
interpreting and arguing with design
drafting, researching, testing, and revising visualdesigns and information architecture
Learn and apply strategies for successful teamwork andcollaboration, such as:
 working online with colleagues
responding constructively to peers' work 
soliciting and using peer feedback effectively 
Understand and use various research methods andsources to produce quality documents, including:
analyzing historical and contemporary contexts
locating, evaluating, and using print and onlineinformation selectively for particular audiencesand purposes
triangulating sources of evidence
Use and evaluate rhetorical technologies such asemailing, instant messaging, image editing, audioediting, video editing, presentation design and delivery,HTML editing, Web browsing, content management,and desktop publishing technologies.
Nathaniel Rivers I English 403/504 I 3
Core Course Policies
Technology Expectations
ability to interact with the course website andother websites
access to word processing, visual design,podcasting, and web design software
a suitable email account checked regularly forcourse-related business
a Flash drive or other means to backupcoursework Routine work with technology is a component of thiscourse. Students need not be technological experts tosucceed in this course, but digital technology interactionis integral and
computer problems are not valid excuses for incomplete work. Practice the core principle of digital data work: redundant backup. Digital technology will fail; be  prepared for that eventuality 
Personal Technology Devices
Students may use laptops, cell phones, and other digitaldevices during class, provided that they do not disruptother students’ learning.
This is not a trick
. This course issituated in an increasingly connected multimediaenvironment. Each student is responsible for his or herown engagement with class meetings, and thus his or herresultant success or failure.
Availability of Online Material
Because of the nature of the course, some materialposted to the course website may be publicly accessiblethrough the Web. (A student’s grades and personalinformation will not be shared publicly.) Additionally,any material posted to the course website may be usedanonymously for teaching or published researchpurposes. For these reasons, students are encouraged toselect usernames that are different from their real names.
Collaborative Work 
Because one of the most salient features of digitaltechnology is its social aspect, teamwork and groupprojects are required elements of the course. Studentteammates are responsible for updating each other andthe instructor about project development and progress. Additionally, student teams are responsible fornegotiating all aspects of their work, including planning,drafting, revising, file managing, scheduling, and leadingtutorials and presentations. When a group project isassigned, students will complete activities that fostersuccessful collaboration. After the conclusion of groupprojects, individuals complete forms to assess thecontributions of group members and the globalperformance of the team.
 As a summer seminar driven by student discussion,attendance and participation in all facets of the course
is essential 
. Given the vital importance of studentparticipation, I expect every student to attend every class.If an absence is unavoidable, students are asked todiscuss it with me beforehand so that alternativearrangements can be made.
SLU Statement of Academic Integrity
 The University is a community of learning, whoseeffectiveness requires an environment of mutual trustand integrity, such as would be expected at a Jesuit,Catholic institution. As members of this community,students, faculty, and staff members share theresponsibility to maintain this environment. Academicdishonesty violates it. Although not all forms of academic dishonesty can be listed here, it can be said ingeneral that soliciting, receiving, or providing any unauthorized assistance in the completion of any work submitted toward academic credit is dishonest. It notonly violates the mutual trust necessary between faculty and students but also undermines the validity of theUniversity’s evaluation of students and takes unfairadvantage of fellow students. Further, it is theresponsibility of any student who observes suchdishonest conduct to call it to the attention of a faculty member or administrator.
Student Conduct
 This course’s code of student conduct is informed by Saint Louis University’s own code of student conduct,best encapsulated by the following statement:“All members of the University community areexpected to contribute to the development andsustainability of community through word andaction. Our community is characterized by respectfor the dignity of others, honesty, and the pursuit of truth.”Insults, slurs, or attacks of any kind are not allowed inthis class (this includes f2f meetings and on the coursesite). Any student who engages in this type of behaviorin the classroom will be permanently removed from theclass. This code of conduct is equally important tomaintain during group meetings outside of class. Inorder to have an effective teaching and learningenvironment we must practice both respect andtolerance, without question. The remainder of theuniversity’s code of student conduct can be found athttp://www.slu.edu/x24293.xml.

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