RHET 760 Women s Rhetorical Histories: Technologies, Mediums, Materialities

Fall 2012 Wednesdays 2-5p.m.
Instructor: Kathryn Navickas Office: HBC 002 Office Hours: Wed. 11:00-1:00 p.m., and by appointment Phone: 607.759.8872 Email: kenavick@syr.edu Course Description: Rhetoric 760 is a special topics graduate course. In this version of 760, we will explore women s rhetorical histories by examining how the materiality of different mediums and technologies have historically shaped women s rhetorical spaces, bodies, agency, and practices. Drawing from studies in cultural-rhetorical materiality, new media studies, object-oriented philosophy, and feminist historiography we will investigate things typically considered non-rhetorical. These things include such seemingly unrhetorical objects as corsets, household appliances, and oral contraceptives. Employing Katherine Hayles call to make materiality central to the work of the field of rhetoric and composition (Writing Machines, 19), this course will not only explore technologies but also the materiality of such mediums as cartes de vistes, women s magazines, and reproductive rights pamphlets. While feminist historiography has successfully recovered a range of diverse historical women s rhetorical practices, Rhet 760 will shift this focus from the rhetorical practices to the print mediums, material objects, and technologies that have influenced specific rhetorical practices. While an expansive history is beyond the possibilities of a semester, through each era of women s rhetorical history we will push against the boundaries of traditional rhetorical histories to demonstrate how the considerations of rhetoric extend beyond the subject and into the life of things.

HBC 020

Grading & Assignments: 
   Critical Reading Responses (on a Blog) Brainstorming Activity (x8) Midterm Collection Project Final Seminar Paper: Analysis 15% 15% 30% 40%

Assignment Descriptions: 
The Critical Reading Responses will be structured responses to each week s readings and will be posted on your blogs. Each response should critically examine the intersections between women s rhetorical practices, mediums, and technologies. Some framing questions that may offer generative connections between readings and our discussions are offered above the Scribd Syllabus (located on the About page). You will be responsible for one blog post per week due the Monday prior to each class by midnight. The Tuesdays between blogs and class are intended to offer each of you an opportunity to read each others blogs and respond. While responses are not mandatory, I am hoping that your blogs will be provocative and generative in ways that create a desire to respond. Remember that these are blogs: it is important that you are not only critically engaging with the readings, but also doing so in ways that are engaging for an online bloggership. The Critical Reading Responses will make up 30% of your final course grade.  In preparation for the midterm collection project, during the first 8 weeks you will be required to brainstorm and bring in a different specific medium or technology that you think has shaped women s rhetorical practices, spaces, or bodies each week. For each week leading up to the midterm, then, you will be responsible for choosing a different medium or technology, finding out some background information regarding it, and locating a handful of popular websites that might be useful for basic information. Prior to each class, you will post the 3-4 website links on the Home page (using the site s main dashboard to post) and posting under the category: Mediums & Technologies. These contributions will not need to be formal presentations; however, you will be responsible for a five minute explanation regarding your thinking on how the chosen medium or technology may shape women s rhetorical practices. This task is meant to be a creative brainstorming activity that allows us to collectively explore the possibilities for the midterm project while giving each of you 8 weeks to locate a medium or technology that you will do a midterm and final project on. There is an example post up titled Amelia Bloomer, Dress Reform, & The Lily, located on the Home page and categorized as Mediums & Technologies. This Brainstorming Activity will count as 15% of your final course grade.  For the Midterm Collection Project, you will choose a specific medium or technology that has influenced women s rhetorical practices, spaces, or bodies and create some sort of digital collection for it. The class Brainstorming Activity is meant to provide opportunities for thinking through options for the Midterm Collection; thus, you can choose one of the mediums or technologies we have shared together, or you can choose something outside of this list. Your collection will aggregate a substantial set of images representing the medium or technology along with an explanation of the background information: historical context, object s use, production, and any basic background information. Although you can choose any digital/technological means of creating this collection, I imagine this as a gallery inserted into a blog post (that includes links and/or citations for everything used). The Midterm Project will count as 30% of your final course grade.  The Final Seminar Paper should be a 15-20 page paper that extends and rhetorically analyzes and interprets the gallery you collected for your Midterm Project. For the Midterm Project you were asked to create a gallery of images and offer basic historical information regarding a specific medium or technology that you think has shaped women s rhetorical practices. The Final Seminar Paper should use scholarly sources and rhetorical analysis of the Midterm collection in order to make an argument for how the chosen medium or technology has

influenced women s rhetorical practice. Thus, you will be interpreting your Midterm collection, synthesizing relevant course-readings with your own secondary scholarly research, and making an argument regarding the chosen medium or technology. The Final Seminar Paper is 40% of your final grade. Papers should be formatted and sourced according to MLA guidelines and submitted via email by December 14th by midnight.

Disabilities Statement:
Students who need accommodations for a disability must first contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS): ODS information can be found at http://disabilityservices.syr.edu, and the office is located in Room 309 of 804 University Ave., (315)-443-4498. ODS verify a student s disabilities on a case by case basis in order to provide individual students the appropriate accommodations and access necessary. In order to ensure access to the necessary accommodations immediately, please contact ODS as early as possible.

Academic Integrity:
The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work. The policy also governs the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments as well as the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verifications of participation in class activities. Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty of any sort. For more information and the complete policy, see the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures (PDF) at http://academicintegrity.syr.edu/.

Semester Schedule:
Module One: Frameworks of Materiality & Technology
August 29: Technology & Things y y y This set of readings will be emailed to you for reading before the first class. Brown, Bill. Thing Theory. Critical Inquiry 28.1 (2001): 1-22. Print. Kline, Stephen J. What is Technology. Philosophy of Technology: The Technological Condition, An Anthology. Eds. Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 2003. 210-12. Print. Johnson, Jim. Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of the DoorCloser. Social Problems 35.3 (1988): 298-310. Print. Mol, Annemarie. Ontological Politics. A Word and Some Questions. Actor Network Theory and After. Eds. John Law and John Hassard. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 1999. 7489. Print.

y y

September 5: Things & Power y y Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter. Ed. Daniel Miller. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Print. Selections. Callon, Michel. Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. Power, Action, and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge? Ed. John Law. London: Routledge, 1986. 196-223. Print.

September 19: Bodies as Networks y Hayles, Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Print.

September 12: The Existential Stakes1 : Mediums, Media, Mediation y Critical Terms for Media Studies. Eds. J.T. Mitchell and Mark B.N. Hansen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print.

Module Two: Corsets, Carte de Vistes, & 18th-19th c. Women s Rhetorics
September 26: Bodily Rhetorics &Cyborg Identity y Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century," in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181. http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Haraway/CyborgManifesto.html Dasler Johnson, Wendy. Cultural Rhetorics of Women s Corsets. Rhetoric Review 20 ¾ (2001): 203-33. Print.



http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/532554.html, The Introduction.

October 3: The Corset Thing: Bodies, Class, & Power y Summers, Leigh. Bound to Please: A History of the Victorian Corset. New York: Berg, 2001. Print.

October 10: Rhetoric & Bodies in Space: convention, rhetorical expectations, and [ ] cultural power (1) y y Johnson, Nan. Gender and Rhetorical Space in American Life, 1866-1910. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002. Print. Please look at the Godey s Lady s Book Gallery and links (on the Home page)

October 17: How Women used Things for Ethos-Building y y Mattingly, Carol. Appropriate[ing] Dress: Women s Rhetorical Style in Nineteenth-Century America. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002. Print. Please look at the American and foreign carte de vistes Gallery (on the Home page)

October 24: The Dress Reform Movement y y y Bloomer, D.C. Life and Writings of Amelia Bloomer. Boston: Arena Publishing Co., 1895. Print. Please look at the Amelia Bloomer, Dress Reform, & The Lily post ( Mediums & Technologies) Midterm Collection Project Due

Module Three: Women s Suffrage Pamphlets to Post-WW II Appliances
October31-November 21

Module Four: Oral Contraceptives & Sexual Liberation Rhetorics
November 28-December 12 y Final Seminar Paper due December 14 via email by midnight.

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