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English 2276: The Arts of Persuasion

Rhetoric(s) in Digital Culture #osudigrhet

Class meeting
Tuesday & Thursday
3:55 p.m. 5:15 p.m.
Campbell Hall 335

Kaitlin Clinnin

Office hours
Monday 11 a.m. 12 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday
12 p.m. 1 p.m.
Denney Hall 324
*other times by appointment

Course Description
In this course, we will explore a rather large question: What is rhetoric in contemporary
culture? One answer is that rhetoric is not a singular, definable thing, but rhetorics are an
ever-evolving multiple sets of practices, studies, and arts associated with communication.
Throughout the course, we will consider rhetoric as a noun (what is/are rhetoric[s]), rhetoric
as a verb (what are methods of rhetoric), and rhetoric as application (how can we apply
rhetoric). Our exploration of rhetoric(s) will begin with classical rhetoric and some
foundational concepts. We will broaden the classical understanding of rhetoric by
incorporating cultural rhetorics to include alternative perspectives on rhetoric(s). As we
consider contemporary culture, we will focus on digital culture more specifically. We will
apply rhetorical theory to digital culture events and artifacts such as the Ferguson protests,
#BlackLivesMatter, memes and viral videos, and social media among many other aspects of
digital culture to examine how rhetoric(s) function now and in the future.

GEC Requirement: Cultures and Ideas

This course fulfills the GEC requirement for Cultures and Ideas. Students evaluate
significant cultural phenomena and ideas in order to develop capacities for aesthetic and
historical response and judgment; and interpretation and evaluation.

GEC Expected Learning Outcomes:

1. Students analyze and interpret major forms of human thought, culture, and
2. Students evaluate how ideas influence the character of human beliefs, the perception
of reality, and the norms which guide human behavior

Course Goals and Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Define and critique rhetoric and other rhetorical concepts such as the rhetorical
appeals, rhetorical situation, canons, text, media, etc. for academic and public audiences
Analyze rhetorical strategies in a given text using rhetorical methods
Apply and connect rhetorical theories and principles to contemporary case studies
Construct a multimodal vision of the future of rhetoric by summarizing, synthesizing,
comparing, contrasting, and critiquing existing theories and applications of rhetoric

You are responsible for the following materials:
The Essential Guide to Rhetoric by William M. Keith and Christian O. Lundberg:
This affordable, short textbook is available at the OSU bookstore as well as SBX. We
will be using it extensively in the first few weeks of the semester, so you will need to
have a copy very soon as the first reading assignment from it is in the second week
of the course.
Readings on Carmen: In addition to the textbook, readings will be posted as PDFs
or links on Carmen. The readings will provide theoretical background and models that
will help you analyze and critique rhetorical productions.
Twitter handle: We will be using Twitter throughout the course as a case study as
well as a space to respond to course readings. You will need to sign up for a free
Twitter account for this class. If you already have a Twitter account, you are free to
use it; however, you may want to consider creating a class-specific account if you
tend to post non-classroom appropriate items.

Grade Breakdown and Assignments

The class is broken down into 2 main units: Classical Understandings of Rhetoric and
Cultural Rhetoric(s). In each unit, we will read and discuss primary theoretical texts as well
as apply these theories to contemporary case studies.
Note: most of the work you will do for this class involves reading academic, theoretical
articles that vary in length from 15-30 pages. I do not expect you to necessarily understand
every aspect of the text on your own. What I do expect is that you will prepare the material
for class by reading prior to class, marking interesting passages or ideas, and writing down
questions you have about the material in terms of clarifying, critiquing, or expanding the
Your grade in this course will be determined by your performance on the following
Analyzing Twitter with Aristotle (20%): You will compose a 500-750 word
alphabetic text in which you will analyze a Twitter hashtag or feed from a NeoAristotelian criticism perspective.
Tweeting a Reading, or, Tweet-alongs (20%): Periodically you will Tweet about
an article we are reading in class. As you read the article, Tweet your thoughts,
questions, or connections regarding the reading to the rest of the class using the class
hashtag #osudigrhet. If you do not use this hashtag for ALL of your Tweets, you will

not get credit. You must Tweet at least 4 original Tweets and at least 1 response to
another class member (total of 5 Tweets per Tweet-along).
Defining Threshold Concepts in Rhetoric (20%): You will compose a Wiki entry for
the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Wiki for their section on Key Threshold
Concepts in Digital Rhetoric. You may choose one of the current key concepts that is
empty, or you may propose your own. The article should be at least 500 words long
and include a summary, analysis, and resources for future reading. The article must
include hyperlinked citations, and it should make use of the multimodal opportunities
of a webtext.
Responding to a Rhetorical Situation (20%): You will propose and create a
multimodal production that responds to a rhetorical situation of your choice. You will
employ what youve learned about rhetoric in order to address a specific audience for
a purpose; for example, you may decide to produce a video campaign to encourage
undergraduates at OSU to donate blood. This production may be a video, a web site,
a Prezi, or any other format that combines multiple modes (audio, visual, alphabetic,
etc). The production will be accompanied by an artist statement in which you explain
your rhetorical, methodological, design, and technological choices.
Facilitating an Artifact (10%): For a selected class period, you will be responsible for
bringing in an artifact that relates to the topic for that class period. You will be
responsible for 15 minutes of class on the day you present; during this time, you
should explain the artifact context to the rest of the class, make connections between
the artifact and the content for that day, and be prepared with at least 3 discussion
questions in order to facilitate class discussion on your artifact and the class topic. If
more than one person is presenting on a given day, I encourage you to work together.
Participating and Attending (10%): This class only meets twice a week, and each
class day covers a significant amount of theoretical material and in-class application.
Participation means showing up to class on-time, engaging in the material for the
entire class meeting, contributing to small group work, and treating everyone with
civility and respect during class discussions and activities in class and online.

Course Policies
Attendance is important to your development as a rhetorician and subsequent success in
the class. An unexcused absence after 2 will result in the lowering of your final grade by 1/3
of a grade (for example, B+ to B). Excused absence, including documented illness, family
tragedy, religious observance, or travel for inter-collegiate athletics, will not affect your
grade. It is your responsibility to contact me as soon as possible if you miss class for an
excused absence. Seven or more unexcused absences will automatically result in a
failure for the course.
Tardiness is disruptive to the classroom environment and presents you from fully
participating in class discussions and activities. You will be considered tardy if you do not
arrive within 10 minutes of class starting. Consistent tardiness will negatively impact your
participation and attendance grade.

Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of the words or ideas of another person. It is a serious
academic offense that can result in referral to the Committee on Academic Misconduct and
failure for the course. Faculty Rule 3335-5-487 states, It is the responsibility of the
Committee on Academic Misconduct to investigate or establish procedures for the
investigation of all reported cases of student academic misconduct. The term academic
misconduct includes all forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed;
illustrated by, but not limited to, cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection
with examinations. Instructors shall report all instances of alleged academic misconduct to
the committee. In addition, it is a violation of the student code of conduct to submit without
the permission of the instructor work for one course that has also been submitted in
fulfillment of the requirements of another course. For additional information, see the Code of
Student Conduct.
Written Work will be turned in digitally to the Carmen dropbox. All alphabetic documents
should be in .doc or .docx format. All assignments should conform to the word length as
stated on the assignment sheet or face a penalty. All work will be responded to by the
instructor using Microsoft Word comments and tracking feature.
Student Work should be turned in at the time indicated on the syllabus and assignment
sheets as indicated by the instructor. An assignment is considered late if it is submitted after
the specified due date and will lose one full letter grade at that point (ex: from a B+ to a
C+); every subsequent 24 hours from the original due date will result in further loss of one
full letter grade. If you know ahead of time that a particular deadline will be difficult for you,
please contact me at least one week in advance. I can work with you to accommodate
alternative deadlines if appropriate given enough time. The grade will also not be affected if
an assignment is late for reasons that would result in an excused absence. Unexcused
absences or technological misfortunes are not acceptable excuses for failing to meet a
Classroom Community is the idea that everyone should feel welcome, respected, and safe
in the classroom and online spaces. In the classroom, discussion of readings and ideas at
the center of everything we do. We will frequently work together in small and large groups
and discuss sensitive issues. Be a good classroom citizen: respect one another, feel free to
disagree or critique but do so in productive ways, and remember that we are all here to
Personal Technology such as laptops, cell phones, and tablets are allowed in the class.
Although technology is welcome in class, please remain on task during our limited class
time. Any inappropriate technology usage will be noted and will negatively impact your
participation grade.
Class Cancellation Policy: In the unlikely event that class must be canceled, I will contact
you via email and request that a note be placed on the door. I will contact you as soon as
possible following the cancellation to let you know what will be expected of you for our next
class meeting.

University Writing Center, located in 4120A Smith Lab, provides one-on-one tutorial
assistance for all writers. You can schedule a session online at Students may schedule one consultation per week in the Writing Center
and students may also opt for on-line synchronous tutoring in addition to (or as an
alternative to) the more traditional face-to-face session. The Writing Center also offers
tutoring services at Thompson Library and Smith-Steeb Dormitory.
The Ombudsman of the Writing Programs, Debra Lowry (, mediates
conflicts between instructors and students in Writing Programs courses. Her Fall 2014 walkin hours are yet to be determined. All conversations with the Ombudsman are confidential.
OSU Counseling and Consultation Service: A recent American College Health Survey
found stress, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, interpersonal concerns, death of a
significant other, and alcohol use among the top ten health impediments to academic
performance. Students experiencing personal problems or situational crises during the
semester are encouraged to contact the OSU Counseling and Consultation Service (614292-5766; for assistance, support and advocacy.
Student Advocacy Center is committed to assisting students in cutting through campus
bureaucracy. Its purpose is to empower students to overcome obstacles to their growth both
inside and outside the classroom, and to help them maximize their educational experience
while pursuing their degrees at The Ohio State University. The SAC is open Monday-Friday
from 8:00 AM 5:00 PM. You can visit them in person at 1120 Lincoln Tower, call at (614)
292-1111, email, or visit their website:
The Office of Student Life Disability Services provides and coordinates support services,
auxiliary aids, and accommodations for students with disabilities. If you have or think you
may have a disability that affects your ability to do class work, see your instructor or contact
SLDS for an evaluation.

Students with documented disabilities that have been

registered with the Office of Student Life Disability Services
will be appropriately accommodated and should inform the
instructor as soon as possible of their needs.
The Office for Disability Services is located in 150 Pomerene
Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue
Tel: 614-292-3307
VRS: 614-429-1334

Course Schedule
Subject to change, check Carmen for updated version and daily
homework assignments
Tues Jan 13th
Thurs Jan 15th

Course introduction
What is rhetoric? What
is digital rhetoric?

Tues Jan 20th

Key Terms in Rhetoric:

Audience and
Key Terms in Rhetoric:
Rhetorical Appeals

Thurs Jan 22nd

Tues Jan 27th

Key Terms in Rhetoric:


Thurs Jan 29th

Rhetorical Method:

Tues Feb 3rd

Key Terms in Rhetoric:


Thurs Feb 5th

Key Terms in Rhetoric:

Key Terms in Rhetoric:
Key Terms in Rhetoric:

Tues Feb 10th

Thurs Feb 12th

Tues Feb 17th

Key Terms in Rhetoric:


Thurs Feb 19th

Classical Rhetoric in
the Digital Age

Tues Feb 24th

Rhetorical Method:
Textual/Visual Criticism

Reading Due
Syllabus (Carmen)
Chapter 1: The
Rhetorical Tradition
Chapter 2: Rhetoric
and the Audience
The First Part of
Rhetoric: Invention by
Chapter 3: Situations
and Speech Types
Criticism by Foss
(Carmen); Lady Gaga
Analysis by Alicie
Re-Inventing Invention:
A Performance in
Three Acts by Garrett
et. al (NWC)
Chapter 5:
Organization (EGR)
Chapter 6: Style
Classical Rhetoric 101:
Delivery by McKay;
Selection from Going
A History of the Arts of
Memory and Rhetoric
by Wright (Carmen)

Major Assignment Due

Classical Rhetoric Up
in Smoke by Mark D.
Pepper (Kairos)
Assigned reading on
cluster, metaphor, or
visual criticism

Analyzing project due by

Monday Feb 23rd at
11:59 p.m.

Tweet-along from after

class on Thurs 1/29 until
class time on Tues 2/3

Thurs Feb 26th

Tues Mar 3rd

Thurs Mar 5th

Tues Mar 10th

Rhetorical Method:
Ideological Criticism
Introduction to Cultural

Conferences with
Kaitlin on Defining and
Responding projects
Rhetoric and Identity:

Thurs Mar 12th

Rhetoric and Identity:


Tues Mar 24th

Rhetoric and Identity:


Thurs Mar 26th

Rhetoric and Identity:


Tues Mar 31st

Rhetoric and Identity:


Thurs Apr 2nd

Rhetoric and Identity:

Queer Rhetoric

Tues Apr 7th

Workshop on Defining

Thurs Apr 9th

Alternative Forms of

Tues Apr 14th

Alternative Forms of

Ideological Criticism
by Foss (Carmen)
Our Story Begins
Here: Constellating
Cultural Rhetorics by
Powell et. al
No reading
Border Crossings:
Intersections of
Rhetoric and
Feminism by Ede et.
al (Carmen)
Can We Block These
Political Thingys? by
DeLuca (Carmen)
Intro: Aspects of
African American
Rhetoric as a Field by
Gilyard (Carmen)
Racist Visual Rhetoric
and Images of Trayvon
Martin by Lebduska
(Present Tense)
Multimodality in
Motion: Disability &
Kairotic Spaces by
Yergeau et. al (Kairos)
Queer Rhetoric and
the Pleasures of the
Archive by Alexander
and Rhodes OR
Queer-the-Tech by
Vetter (Harlot)
No reading
Beyond Persuasion
by Foss & Griffin
Selection from
Rhetorical Listening by
Ratcliffe (Carmen)

Tweet-along from after

class on Thurs 2/26 until
class time on Tues 3/3

Tweet-along from after

class on Thurs 3/5 until
class time on Tues 3/10

Tweet-along from after

class on Thurs 3/12 until
class time on Tues 3/24

Tweet-along from after

class on Tues 3/26 until
class time on Thurs 3/31

Come to Denney 312 for

class prepared to work
on Defining project

Thurs Apr 16th

Workshop on
Responding project

No reading

Tues Apr 21st

Workshop on
Responding project
Responding project
showcase in class

No reading

Thurs Apr 23rd

Monday May

Wiki Entry due by 12 p.m.

Come to Denney 312 for

class prepared to work
on Responding project
Come to Denney 312 for
class prepared to work
on Responding project
Responding project and
artist statement due
before class on 4/23