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Image: Jacob Cohl, Spider-man Course Description ITALIC 95W: Artifice & Reality: The Rhetoric of the

Image: Jacob Cohl, Spider-man

Course Description
Course Description
ITALIC 95W: Artifice & Reality: The Rhetoric of the Arts Autumn Quarter 2014 - Why
ITALIC 95W: Artifice & Reality: The
Rhetoric of the Arts
Autumn Quarter 2014 - Why Art?
Tuesday/Thursday 3:15 - 5:05
Room: 160-B36 (Burbank Library)
Instructor: Hillary Miller, Ph.D.
Office: Burbank B126
Office hours: Wed. 10am-1pm.
Course site:

“Barbaric.” This is how theatre director and theorist Bertolt Brecht described an audience deriving pleasure from the pain of a weeping actor. For Brecht, “pleasure in sympathizing” was an empty act if it did not hold the possibility of transforming the conditions of the world. Debates about art’s “work” have persisted through time, and Brecht’s take on the tension between art and reality are but one interpretation of the possibilities of art to transform its audience. This quarter ITALIC focuses on the ways different works of art work on us – historically, physically, and culturally. In 95W, we will also attempt to understand the multiple doings of art. Do we encounter art as an appearance of a greater reality, or engage with it as a work of the imagination? What do we ask of our art work, and what does it ask of us? (And why?) Do we derive pleasure from emotional excess, or catharsis through pity and knowledge?

With the blurring of “reality and artifice” as our lens, a series of readings will help us define and address these questions, including Daniel Mendelsohn’s essay on Julie Taymor’s Spider-man, Zadie Smith’s distinction between joy and pleasure, Elinor Fuchs’ instructions on how to read a play, and David Savran’s argument for a historiography of popular culture. Using the tools of rhetoric, we will explore the assumptions and confront the challenges of communicating our embodied encounters with works of art. How do we describe what art does to us? How can we transfer the emotional, lived experience of making or viewing art to readers? How do we convey our responses as audience members? In 95W, we will think deeply about the arts, not as a gift from the muse, but within specific contexts of creation and reception. In other words, we will analyze the choices of artists and make choices as writers. In doing so, we’ll develop rhetorical strategies and habits of mind to achieve results in analytical and persuasive writing. Our collective goal is to craft compelling arguments that do fuller justice to complex emotions and ideas.

that do fuller justice to complex emotions and ideas. What to Expect in Your PWR Course

What to Expect in Your PWR Course The PWR requirement directly supports student development in reading, writing, revising, researching, and presenting at the university level. PWR courses rely on both student-centered instructional methods and classroom activities and full participation from all students in building the classroom community. All features of PWR courses listed below contribute to students’ growth in the effective practice of rhetorical communication. In this PWR course, you can expect the following:

At least one 30-minute individual conference for each major writing project assigned in the course.

Formal written feedback on at least one draft of every major writing project, supplemented by any informal written notes that result from conferences.

Carefully-planned classroom activities focused on you and your peers’ own writing and the writing process in the context of the major course assignments.

Instructor feedback on your work (both written and oral) in a timely fashion, generally within 7 days of submission of the draft or revision.

Detailed writing, research, and presentation assignments in alignment with the descriptions and recommended lengths provided on the PWR website.

Information about the writing and speaking support available through the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking.

Clear written procedures for submission of assignments (whether paper copies or electronic submissions).

A detailed calendar for the quarter’s PWR work, including key dates such as draft due dates, conference dates, and library/OCT workshops.

Course Texts
Course Texts

Selected readings distributed via Coursework and hard copy may include:


Acocella, Joan. “The Hunger Artist/ Susan Sontag.” In Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints.” New York: Vintage Books, 2007.


Barthes, Roland. “Rhetoric of the Image.” Image, Music, Text. Ed. And trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. 32-51.


Batuman, Elif. “Stage Mothers.” New Yorker, December 24, 2012, 72-85.


Bitzer, Lloyd F. “The Rhetorical Situation.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 1.1 (1968): 1-14.


Booth, Wayne C. “The Rhetoric of Rhetoric: The Quest for Effective Communication.” Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 3-22.


Fuchs, Elinor. “EF’s Visit to a Small Planet: Some Questions to Ask a Play.” Theater 34.2 (Summer 2004): 4-9.


Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. “‘Her Point Is’: The Art of Summarizing.” They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010, 30-40.


Losh, Liz and Jonathan Alexander. “Writing Identities” and “Argument Beyond Pro and Con.” Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing. Bedford/St. Martin’s



Mendelsohn, Daniel. “Why She Fell (Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man).” Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture. New York: New York Review of Books, 2012.


Savran, David. “Toward a Historiography of the Popular.” Theatre Survey (November 2004): 211-217.


Smith, Zadie. “That Crafty Feeling.” The Believer (June 2008): 5-12.


Smith, Zadie. “Joy.” The New York Review of Books (January 10, 2013).


Sword, Helen. “Structural Designs.” In, Stylish Academic Writing. Cambridge:

Harvard University Press, 2012.


Tharp, Twyla. “Rituals of Preparation.” In The Creative Habit, 12-34. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.

Strongly recommended writing resources, on reserve at Green Library:


They Say, I Say, Birkenstein and Graff


The Craft of Research, Booth and Colomb


A Writer’s Reference, Hacker and Sommers


Everything's an Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz


The Everyday Writer, Lunsford


The Creative Habit, Tharp


Stylish Academic Writing by Sword. (Available as an ebook via Stanford’s library.)

Required Materials

A dedicated class notebook.

Hard copies of readings (not electronic copies on laptops, iPads, etc.)

o You are not required to buy any course readers or textbooks for this class; printing the readings will cost you less than purchasing a required text. If you anticipate extenuating circumstances that prevent printing copies of the readings or drafts, please discuss this with me as soon as possible.

Hard copies of your work-in-progress as needed for class workshops.

Access to Microsoft Word for assignments.

workshops. • Access to Microsoft Word for assignments. Major Assignment Sequence - full descriptions of each

Major Assignment Sequence - full descriptions of each assignment will follow.

PWR1 has a standard assignment sequence: a rhetorical analysis, a contextual analysis, and a research-based argument. Each of these assignments will be explained in handouts and discussed in class. Because this course focuses on process as well as product, you will produce multiple versions of these assignments in addition to preparatory exercises and self- assessments. Three conferences with me are mandatory.

Rhetorical Analysis (1200-1500 words or 4-5 pages):

In this assignment, you will analyze the way in which a text utilizes deliberate rhetorical strategies to create an argument about the role of the arts in our lives. Successful essays will present a cohesive argument focused around the most important rhetorical techniques being used by/ in the text, demonstrating developed rhetorical analysis skills and deploying persuasive writing techniques in your own writing. Your final version should be prefaced by a reflective letter (600-900 words or 2-3 pages).

Texts in Conversation (1800-2400 words or 6-8 pages):

Here, you begin to conduct research, analyzing arguments that illuminate your selected topic from different perspectives. This two-part assignment will give you the opportunity to explore the major controversies surrounding your research question/problem.

Research-Based Argument (3600-4500 words or 12-15 pages):

This assignment asks you to deliver your research argument in the form of an academic research paper, utilizing at least 12 sources, with a balance between primary and secondary research. Your final version should be prefaced by a reflective letter (600-900 words or 2-3 pages). All assignments will be submitted to shared folders in Stanford Box. Full instructions will be provided with each assignment.


In this writing-heavy course, we look at the process of making meaning through a range of communicative acts. In your assignments, the emphasis is not placed on a first or a final draft,

but on the fullness of the process: from conceiving and developing an idea to completing successive drafts towards a final revision. Certain aspects of this work—such as your willingness to employ “genuine listening,” your thoughtfulness in response to feedback, and your best efforts to avoid misunderstanding—are difficult to quantify in a grade. However, there will be multiple opportunities to display competency in the course objectives through in-class activities, conferences, and discussions. The grading breaks down as follows:

Conferences: 5% Community Contributions: 15% Rhetorical Analysis: 20% Texts in Conversation: 25% Research-Based Argument: 35%

Evaluation Procedures and Criteria
Evaluation Procedures and Criteria

I will be referencing the official PWR Evaluation Criteria when assessing your writing, and will provide more detailed evaluation rubrics as we progress through the quarter. Our goal will be to write with awareness of the rhetorical situation (purpose, audience, persona) in which your writing will function, and to develop the compositional elements (content, organization, style, and form) in response to the demands and boundaries set by the particular writing task.

Please note that I will also take into account presentation of material; you should always adhere to the style guidelines provided in the assignment sheets and maintain organized online folders for your many drafts. Additionally, I urge you to use this course as an opportunity to explore various “best practices” that will last your academic career. Investigate different options for backing up your essays, such as strategic hard copies, StanfordBox, GoogleDrive, or a personal hard drive.

Expectations for Students in PWR Courses
Expectations for Students in PWR Courses

All Stanford students have the responsibility to commit themselves to their academic work in ways that will increase their learning. In PWR courses, following the guidelines below will give you the best chance of growing as a writer, researcher, reviser, and presenter:

Attend every class session.

Come prepared to every class session, having completed all reading and writing assignments.

Meet all due dates for written work, including drafts and revisions. (Late draft submission will result in a grade deduction of 1/3 for every 24 hours it is late.)

Show up on time for all conferences with questions about how to improve your work.

Participate in classroom activities including peer review, discussions, and other reading and writing activities.

Approach the work of the course with the habits of mind critical for success at the university level: intellectual curiosity, openness to new ideas, critical engagement, and creativity.

Conduct yourself in accordance with the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard.

Communicate with me about any issues related to the course.

Code and Fundamental Standard . • Communicate with me about any issues related to the course.

Attendance Policy

Your consistent attendance is crucial to your success. If you must miss a class for religious holidays or valid University-related activities, you must let me know as far in advance as possible of the absence and obtain information about the work you must do to keep up in class. If advanced notice is not possible (sudden illness, family emergency, etc.), you should get in touch with me as soon as you are able, and arrange to make up the work missed.

Two unexcused class absences will jeopardize your enrollment in the course. Three late arrivals = one absence. If you arrive late, talk to me after class. If you are extremely late to class or leave class early, you’ll be counted absent.

Composing in multiple environments There may be times when I enforce certain composing practices for our in-class writing assignments. Composing in multiple environments refers to the ability to create writing using varied technologies, whether pen and paper, word processor, video recorder, or webpage. Our emphasis will be on the intentional use of composition tools.

I only allow laptops and tablets in class for class-related work when there is online research or other

computer-aided work to be completed. The use of laptops to complete non-course related “work” during class time is becoming a cliché of the classroom in the digital age. Focusing on the material at hand is not only a sign of respect to your classroom community, but it is, more importantly, a practice. More to the point, since this is a discussion-based class, there will rarely be a need for you to be

immersed in your screen without connecting with those around you. Random internet surfing, emailing, completing work for another class, and instant messaging during class is a serious breach of classroom etiquette, and your in-class activity grade will suffer if you engage in these practices.

Resources and Support
Resources and Support

I am regularly in attendance at all ITALIC lectures, lunches, and other events, so there is

(fortunately!) ample time to speak informally about any questions. You should also feel free to see me during my office hours. At any time, you may also schedule additional appointments to speak about any issues that might arise. When contacting me in advance to set up an appointment, please include a brief description of what you would like to discuss during the meeting, and a few options for available times—this will help me schedule our meeting efficiently.

You may also send me questions over email, but I find that it is rarely a good idea to converse about more complex queries via email. I try to be speedy in responding to emails, and will do so in twenty-four hours or less; I ask the same courtesy from you. If you are emailing with an unusually time-sensitive request, please indicate that in your subject heading.

In addition to the feedback I (and your peers) will provide on your drafts, I hope that you will take advantage of the writing consultants in the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking for additional discussion over your essays. The Center works with all Stanford students to help them develop rich and varied abilities in every aspect of written and oral communication. In free one-to-one sessions, trained tutors help students get started on assignments; understand academic conventions in their fields; address and overcome writer’s block and speech anxiety; learn strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading; and refine their delivery. Whether students are working on a written or oral assignment for an IntroSem, Thinking Matters, or PWR course, a writing project or presentation in the major, a digital media project such as a website or PowerPoint, an Honors thesis, a creative project, or a fellowship or job application, the Hume Center can help them develop effective strategies to improve their written, spoken, and multimedia arguments. Appointment-based and drop-in tutors are available in Hume, located in Building 250. Hours for Fall 2014 are Sunday 1:00- 10:00 pm; Monday - Wednesday 10:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.; Thursday 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.; and

Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Writing tutors are also available in late night residential dining locations Sunday through Thursday. To see hours and locations or to schedule an appointment with a tutor, visit the Hume Center website at

Provost’s Statement concerning Students with Disabilities Students who have a disability which may necessitate an academic accommodation or the use of auxiliary aids and services in a class must initiate the request with the Office of Accessible Education’s Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend appropriate accommodations, and prepare a verification letter dated in the current academic term in which the request is being made. Please contact the DRC as soon as possible; timely notice is needed to arrange for appropriate accommodations (phone 723-1066; TDD



Weekly Course Schedule
Weekly Course Schedule

WEEK 1: Introduction to Rhetorical Concepts

- Audience, Purpose, Message

Tuesday, September 23: Foundational questions

What is rhetoric? What is PWR?

Is “academic” writing an art? What is “research,” anyway? In-class: Freewrite #1: “Artifice.” Concept: Burke’s Pentad. Setting of personal writing challenges and goals.


how is it connected to ITALIC?

Thursday, September 25: Universe, Context, Revision In-class playwriting exercise: Urgency & Rhetorical Situation Reading due: Bitzer, “The Rhetorical Situation” Homework due: How would you identify Bitzer’s message, audience, and purpose?

WEEK 2: Writing as Process

– Writing with Difficulty

Tuesday, September 30: Reading Rhetorically: What are our texts? In class exercise: Lightning Round Rhetorical Analyses Discussion of the Rhetorical Analysis assignment. Reading due: Lunsford, “Chapter 6: Rhetorical Analysis” + Barthes, “Rhetoric of the Image.Homework due: When reading the Barthes, create a list of vocabulary or ideas that confused you, as well as any sentences that added clarity in your reading. Then, choose one image we have looked at in ITALIC this far, and connect one concept from Barthes to your analysis of that image.

Thursday, October 2: Universe, Context, Craft In class: Zero drafting. Reading due: Booth, “How Many Rhetorics?” Homework due: Why is Booth’s term, “Listening-Rhetoric” significant to a person writing in (and about) the arts?

Due Sunday October 5, midnight. — Draft of Rhetorical Analysis, version 1.

**Conferences on Rhetorical Analysis (sign up on GoogleDrive) – October 7-10**

WEEK 3: Writing as Embodied Beliefs

– Research as Experience

Tues, October 7: Research Artifacts I. Visit to Special Collections: Punk Poster Collection. Reading due: Twyla Tharp, “Rituals of Preparation” + article from the Stanford Report:

Due next class: Decide on a tentative research topic.

Thurs, October 9: Research Artifacts II. Tentative research topic share; discussion of second assignment, Texts in Conversation (TiC): popular and academic discourses. In-class: Reflection letter drafting at the Music or Art Library. Reading due: Zadie Smith, “Joy,” and “That Crafty Feeling.” Homework due: After reading Smith’s two essays, consider your own “stages” of writing the Rhetorical Analysis thus far, and attempt to catalogue these stages. Is this similar to other artistic processes in which you engage? If not, how does it differ?

Due Sunday October 12, midnight: Rhetorical Analysis, version 2.

WEEK 4: Seeking Sources: Authority and Credibility

Tuesday, October 14: Peer review Whole-class workshop of volunteer’s draft + small-class workshops. Focus: complicating your analysis and incorporating evidence successfully. Reading due: Sample TiC + volunteer’s RA draft. Homework due: Bring three suggestions for the volunteer’s next revision. Bring a hard copy of your RA draft to class.

Thursday, October 16: Using Evidence Pursuing tentative topics. Reading due: Mendelsohn, “Why She Fell” + Savran, Historiography of the Popular

**Due Friday October 17, midnight – Final draft of Rhetorical Analysis

WEEK 5: Engaging Sources – Borrowing and Arguing

Tuesday, October 21: The Research Terrain LIBRARY WORKSHOP Meet in the SSRC, Green Library. Reading due: Graff/Birkenstein. “‘Her Point Is’: The Art of Summarizing” + Lunsford, Ch. 18:

Evaluating Sources + 19: Using Sources. Homework due: Two questions prepared for Katie and Ray regarding your research.

Thursday, October 23: Disciplinary insiders and outsiders What is a scholarly “conversation”? How do we enter it? CLASS GUEST: Scott Bukatman. Reading due: Bukatman, TBA. Homework due: Five process-oriented questions for Scott.

**Due in class: Draft of TiC bibliography and summary of at least one source.

**Conferences on Text in Conversation (Oct. 28-30) - sign up on Googledrive**

WEEK 6: Writing as Identity

Tuesday, October 28: Connecting with Readers Through Sources In class: Joseph Bizup, BEAM. Reading due: Batuman, “Stage Mothers.” Homework due: Consider any aspect of Batuman’s essay that intrigued you. Then begin “scratching”: find one source that will further your questioning in some way.

**Assignment due in class: Draft 2 of TiC.

Thursday, October 30: Crafting Arguments Crafting arguments based on multiple sources; TiC “dialogue” exercise. Reading due: Fuchs, “EF’s Visit to a Small Planet.” Homework due: After you have read Emily Mann’s Execution of Justice, read Fuchs’ essay and answer as many of her suggested questions (p. 6-8) as you can.

**Due: Monday November 3 at midnight: Final version, Texts in Conversation.

WEEK 7: Argument and Counter Argument

Tuesday, November 4: Evaluating Claims Discussion of Assignment: Research-Based Argument. In-class: TiC image presentations and/or peer review. Reading Due: Acocella, “The Hunger Artist,” Losh/Alexander, “Argument Beyond Pro and Con.”

Thursday, November 6: Building and Structuring Arguments The Music of Form. Developing a Zero Draft/RBA Outline Reading Due: Sword, “Structural Designs.” Homework due: Consider Sword’s message and audience. What might you change moving forward, in order to incorporate her advice into your RBA process? Consider how your RBA research might be best organized in space and time, how it is structured or organized or shaped, held together, bound, or made to cohere?

WEEK 8: The Architecture of Persuasion

Tuesday, November 11: From Question to Significance In class exercise: Gaipa + Eight Strategies for Engaging Sources; Bean, “Asking Determinate Research Questions.” Reading Due: Research-Based Argument sample and + Alexander/Losh, “Writing Identities.” Homework due: Choose one Boothe Award essay. Can you locate instances in which the author adopted or tried on a writing identity? How would you describe it?

Thursday, November 13: Writing with Authority In class: 1) Developing a Zero Draft/RBA Outline

2) Thesis generate-athon & WIKISTORM!!! Homework due: Identify 1-3 Wikipedia articles related to your RBA topic; read “Wikipedia: Editing,”

**Due Friday November 14: RBA, Version 1.

**Conferences on the Research-Based Argument (Nov. 18-20 - sign up on Googledrive)**

WEEK 9: Refining Revision

Tuesday, November 18: Writing about Art In class: 1) Developing an RBA Outline and/or Storyboarding 2) Thesis generate-athon & WIKISTORM!!! (Part II) Homework due: Revised version of Wikipedia entry. Find two web publishing outlets where you would rather publish on your topic than Wikipedia. Why? Be prepared to tell us about your chosen site. Identify its audience, conventions, reach.

Thursday, November 20: Vernacular Eloquence – Speaking and Writing Revisiting purpose, audience, message. In-class exercise: RBA Sweet Hall Elevator Pitch; Guest: Oral Communications Tutor.

**Due Friday Nov. 21, midnight: RBA, Version 2.

WEEK 10: Course Outro: Living With Your Text

Tues, December 2: Writing as Revision Peer review carousel & personal course goal assessment. Free write: RBA Reflection letter. Due: RBA, Version 2.5.

Thursday, December 4: Writing as Product Peer review carousel & personal course goal assessment. Free write: RBA Reflection letter.

**Dec 2 or Dec. 4: ITALIC RBA Share – LUNCH, BURBANK** [TBD]

***Friday, Dec. 5, midnight: Final Version of your Research-Based Argument***