Selected Course Descriptions

RHE 328, Tech Comm & Wicked Problems

This course is devoted to preparing aspiring technical communicators for these new professional roles. Specific course units will focus on: 1) the nature of wicked problems and the roles for technical communicators, 2) practical approaches to translating scientific and technical information for diverse audiences, 3) effective strategies for engaging public audiences around wicked problems, and 4) best practices for facilitating productive stakeholder dialogue.

RHE 330C, Rhetorical Metrics

This course provides students with hands-on experience using computational and statistical approaches to investigating linguistic and rhetorical activity. In so doing, students receive a general orientation to the R programming environment as well as training in a number of specific methods for text analytics. Ultimately, students explore how to use, create, and analyze computational technologies that assess 1) the complexity and difficulty of persuasive texts, 2) the emotional content of bodies of discourse, and 3) the content itself of persuasive language.

RHE 330E, Rhetoric/Political Comedy

While the tradition of political satire dates back to the earliest days of Western democracy, it may have reached a new height in recent years. Following in the footsteps of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and decades of politically-oriented stand-up comedy, The Daily Show catalyzed a satirical explosion. This course i s devoted to making sense of political comedy as a rhetorical phenomenon. Students will engage questions like 1) What led to the recent enthusiasm for political comedy? 2) How do the ideas of political comedy circulate through and impact our national discourse? 3) What is the relationship between contemporary political comedy and historic satirical genres?

E 388M, Rhetoric & Digital Cultures (Grad Seminar)

Rhetorics of the digital are increasingly pervasive in western cultures. From technologies of scientific discovery and the logics of medical normalization to NSA surveillance and social media filter bubbles, digitality frequently takes center stage. As a result, there has been a great deal of rhetorical and cultural theory devoted to exploring, critiquing, and developing pedagogy that accounts for the role of digitality in a variety of spheres from western cultures writ large to localized practices of scientific inquiry or writing pedagogy. Even more recently, new intellectual efforts under the rubrics of new materialisms and digital humanities have begun to push rhetoricians to take digital infrastructures more seriously both as objects of inquiry and methodological resources. Correspondingly, the course is devoted to exploring central figures and concepts in rhetoric and digital cultures. Our exploration thereof will focus on five major thematics: 1) knowing with numbers, 2) counting to control, 3) digital deliberation, 4) re-tooling rhetoric, and 4) computers and composition.