John Tiedemann WRIT 1133

Section 56: MW 12:00–12:00, Sturm 186 Office hours: MW 2–4 and W 12–4, at Jazzman’s. Email your availability during those hours to make an appointment. Email:

VERUM FACTUM: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Invention of Knowledge in, across, and out of the Academy

Speculating about the nature of truth, the philosopher and theorist of rhetoric Giambattista Vico famously declared “Verum esse ipsum factum,” which may be translated in two paradoxical ways: both as “Truth itself is fact” and “Truth itself is made.” This paradox — that what we call truth is at one and the same time given, like facts, and created, like fictions — lies at the heart of the rhetorical practice of invention, i.e., the process of discovering and/or constructing new ideas. In this class, we’ll study and practice strategies of invention across a range of academic disciplines and in both academic and public spheres. How do critics invent original arguments about verbal and visual artifacts? How do social scientists invent original arguments about human cultural practices? How do we use what we have learned about writing and research in an academic setting to invent original arguments for use in a public one? As the repetition here of the word “original” ought to suggest, the writing that you do in this class will be largely self-directed. I’ll provide you with the tools of invention, but the invention itself — the discovery and creation of new ideas — will be up to you.

• Project 1: Inventing with Artifacts For this project, you’ll learn about how humanists generate arguments by analyzing and interpreting artifacts, specifically rhetorical ones. • Project 2: Ethnographical Invention In this project, you’ll design and conduct a social scientific research project on an aspect of life as it is lived online, in communities such as those found on Second Life, Facebook, or Flickr. • Project 3: Public In(ter)vention This project asks you to intervene in a civic debate of your choosing by creating and acting within a rhetorical situation of your own making. • Project 4: Teaching as Invention In this project, you’ll create original lessons to contribute to a writing and rhetoric handbook for next year’s DU class.

• • Unless otherwise indicated, all readings will be posted on our course blog: Your own texts are a central element of this class — so please bring your laptop to every class meeting.

Goals: WRIT 1133 emphasizes the development of rhetorical strategies suited for different academic and civic audiences and purposes, critical reading and analysis, and a variety of modes of academic research. Class-time: Thinking and composing well take practice, practice, and more practice. So, as a general rule, we’ll spend the half of our time discussing readings and viewings and the half composing works of our own. The composing may involve responding to a prompt, completing an exercise, drafting or revising, or helping each other to brainstorm or revise in small groups. You can also expect to spend an hour or so each day working at home, and more than that when you’re working on a graded project. Finally, because a quality composition results from many revisions, you will revise each of your projects severally, with guidance from me and your classmates. Conferences: I’m available for conferences at Jazzman’s Café on Driscoll Bridge between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesdays. It’s to your advantage to come talk with me about your work; serious students of writing are serious about seeking out guidance.

• Student Engagement and Participation I expect you all to be active, engaged learners and thoughtful, helpful collaborators, committed to the material, your projects, and your peers. Your level of engagement is made manifest in a number of ways, including participation in classroom discussion, online discussions, and in conferences, as well as in peer review feedback, group work, and your efforts to improve not only your own learning experience but the learning experience of the entire class. I will assess your engagement as follows: o Superior engagement means that the student is always prepared, often adding additional insights to a class or online discussion and providing extensive feedback to writing. S/he demonstrates active learning via consistently perceptive and energetic engagement with the material, his or her peers, and me. o Average engagement means that the student seems prepared, although he or she sometimes needs to be prompted to participate. Generally, his or her participation in discussion, online comments, and feedback on writing seem to encourage and support others in the class. The student’s presence is productive. o Weak engagement means that the student comes to class but does not seem to be prepared. His or her participation is listless, lackluster, or only intermittent. • Accommodations for Students with Disabilities The Writing Program will provide reasonable accommodations to every student who has a disability that has been documented by The University of Denver Disability Services Program ( or 303.871.2455).

• Absences Because interaction with others is a vital part of learning, I expect you to attend every class meeting, scheduled conference, and online activity. You are allowed two absences without penalty; for each absence after the second one, your final grade will drop by one third of a letter (e.g., from an A to an A–, from an A– to a B+, etc.) Should you miss four class meetings, I will suggest that you consider dropping the course and re-enrolling in a quarter during which you can devote the necessary effort. If I determine that excessive absences have prevented you from meeting the goals of the course, you may fail. If you miss a class, you are personally responsible for learning about any missed material or assignments, either from classmates or our blog. I make no distinction between excused and unexcused absences, so save yours for illness or emergency. • Late Work Assignments are due when they are due. I will accept late work only if you have cleared the lateness with me in advance, and then only under the most extenuating circumstances. An assignment that is turned in late without advance clearance will not receive comments and will be marked down a full letter grade. • Civility and Tolerance The Writing Program affirms DU’s Code of Student Conduct (, which in part “expects students to recognize the strength of personal differences while respecting institutional values.” Because writing courses rely heavily on interactions between all members of the class, students and faculty must act in a manner respectful of different positions and perspectives. A student who behaves in an uncivil or intolerant manner will be asked to stop and/or formally reprimanded and/or subject to action by the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards. Becoming educated requires encountering new ideas and information, some of which may conflict with an individual’s existing knowledge or perspectives. I expect students to engage such materials thoughtfully, in ways that reflect the values and mission of the University of Denver. Finally, I expect you to respect the classroom environment. In class, all cell phones and electronic devices shall be turned off; students shall not from use email, instant messages, Facebook, etc.; and engaging in other activities (reading non-course materials, conducting private conversations and so on) that disrespect the classroom environment and learning conditions for others is strictly prohibited. A student who fails to show such respect will receive a lowered grade and may fail the course. • Plagiarism The Writing Program follows the Council of Writing Program Administrators policy “Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism,” which states, “In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source” ( DU’s Honor Code also maintains that all members of the University must responsibly use the work of others. Students who have plagiarized a project will receive an F on that project, and the instructor will inform the Director of Writing and the Office of Community and Citizenship Standards, which may take further action. Any documented acts of plagiarism after the first may be subject to more severe actions.

For each of your compositions, you will receive a provisional grade on the draft preceding the final draft, along with suggestions for revision from me. That provisional grade will rise, fall, or stay the same depending upon how effectively you revise as you complete your final draft. All final drafts of all essays is due to me on Sunday, March 14, by noon. • Grade calculation Your grade for the course will be calculated on a 1,000 point scale and distributed as follows:

assignment Project 1 Project 2 Project 3 Project 4 Engagement

relevant dates First draft: April 4; revised draft: April 6; final draft: June 3. First draft: April 25; revised draft: April 27; final draft: June 3. First draft: May 11; revised draft: May 16; final draft: June 3. First draft: May 23; final draft: June 3.

point value 150 points 250 points 250 points 250 points 100 points

% of final grade 15% 25% 25% 25% 10%

I’ll use the conversion tables below when calculating grades:

Letter grade to point value A A– B+ B B– C+ C C– D+ D D– F = = = = = = = = = = = =
Project 1 140–150 135–139 130–134 125–129 120–124 115–119 110–114 105–109 100–104 95–99 90–94 0–89 Project 2–4 187–200 180–186 174–179 166–173 160–165 154–159 146–153 140–145 134–139 126–133 120–125 0–119 Engagement

point value to final grade 100 86 76 66 0 934–1,000 pts. 900–933 867–899 833–866 800–832 767–799 733–766 700–732 667–699 633–666 600–632 0–599 = = = = = = = = = = = = A A– B+ B B– C+ C C– D+ D D– F

Mon., March 21 Wed., March 23 Introduction: Discussion: Introduction Inventing with Artifacts • Texts: Lloyd Bitzer, “The Rhetorical Situation;” Barack Obama, Statement on Libya. Inventing with Artifacts • Texts: The Big Blue Bear and other strangely rhetorical artifacts Inventing with Artifacts • Texts: Found objects Draft of Project 1 due in class. Ethnographic Invention Draft of Project 1 due on Google Docs by the start of class. Ethnographic Invention • Wed., April 13 Mon., April 18 Wed., April 20 Mon., April 25 Wed., April 27 Mon., May 2 Wed., May 4 Mon., May 9 Wed., May 11 Mon., May 16 Wed., May 18 Mon., May 23 Wed., May 25 Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Discussion: Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Workshop: Reading: Selections from Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community. Ethnographic Invention • Reading: Selections from Neil Postman, Technopoly. Conducting virtual ethnographies Conducting virtual ethnographies Draft of Project 2 due in class. Public In(ter)vention: Community-Based Reserarch Draft of Project 2 due on Google Docs by the start of class. Library workshop: We’ll meet in the Research Instruction Room in Penrose Public In(ter)vention: Community-Based Research Public In(ter)vention: Community-Based Research Draft of Project 3 due in class. Teaching as Invention Draft of Project 3 due on Google Docs by the start of class. Teaching as Invention Project 4 and Final Revisions Project 4 and Final Revisions

Mon., March 28 Wed., March 30 Mon., April 4 Wed., April 6 Mon., April 11

Discussion: Discussion: Workshop: Discussion: Discussion:


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