Introduction to Composition & Rhetoric (CR)

purpose of this course is to introduce students to the disciplinary histories,
developments, and ongoing controversies that have become foundational to the
field of Composition and Rhetoric.  We
will begin by studying rhetoric as a singular discipline with its own
two-thousand-year history, replete with methodologies for analyzing, teaching,
and performing rhetorical action in the public sphere. Beginning with the revival
of sophistic rhetoric, we will turn to the new rhetoric of the early twentieth
century and then to the postmodern rhetorical theories. Throughout our study of
rhetoric, we will consider what impact these theories have had and might
continue to have on discursive political action, negotiations of difference,
constructions of self vis-à-vis disparate discourse communities, and the
complex interactions between persuasion and identification.

history of rhetoric is in part a history of education in discursive action;
thus knowledge of rhetoric’s history provides a useful gloss to the theoretical
concerns of composition studies, such as analyzing student literate practices
and investigating the social, political, and economic functions of teaching
writing. We will consider the history of composition studies and its emergence
as a discipline within English studies, research methodologies in composition
studies, leading composition pedagogies and their theoretical underpinnings,
primary journals in composition studies and their various theoretical and
methodological leanings, as well as composition’s ongoing responses to
important theoretical developments in writing and literacy studies such as
decolonialism, globalization, world englishes, digital literacies, and the
rhetoric of popular culture.

common theme for the 625 classes this semester will be “archives,” thus our
course will include a unit on archival rhetorics and the rhetorics of archives.
How much of the study of rhetoric is dependent upon archives? How have archives
been defined and constructed, by whom, and for which rhetorical purposes? What
sorts of rhetorical functions have archives served in the academy, and how do we imagine they might be designed and used
(i.e. digital archives, film archives, audio archives) in the future? These questions will be raised in a set of course
readings and will be addressed by students in short papers they will present at
a colloquium held for all 625 students.

Required Texts Include:

Adams, Katherine H. Progressive Politics and the Training of America’s Persuaders.  Routledge P, 1999.

Patricia and Bruce Herzberg, eds. The Rhetorical Tradition.  2nd edition. Bedford St. Martin’s,


Moran, Michael G., and
Michelle Ballif, ed. Twentieth-Century
Rhetorics and Rhetoricians: Critical Studies and Sources.
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000. 

David, Ridolfo, Jim and Michel, Anthony. The Available Means of Persuasion:
Mapping a Theory and Pedagogy of Multimodal Public Rhetoric
. Parlor P,

Gary, Amy Rupiper Taggart, Kurt Schick and H. Brooke Hessler. A Guide to
Composition Pedagogies. 
ed. Oxford University P, 2014.

In addition to our course
readings on archival rhetorics and the archives and rhetorics, I will also make
available course readings, which will likely include work by the following
scholars: Connors, Phelps, Berlin, Susan Miller, and Tom Miller on the history
of composition studies. For histories on the discipline of composition and
rhetoric, we will look to work by Corbett, Connors, Goggin, and Park. For
historiographies of “the rhetorical tradition” and challenges to it, we will
read work by Blair, Brooks and Kates, as well as work by feminist scholars of
rhetorical history, including Logan, Royster, Worsham, and Jarratt.


4 Reading Responses at 50
points each (200)

1 Oral presentation on
archival rhetorics/rhetorics of the archive (100)

1 Oral Presentation on
Research-in-Progress (100)

1 First draft of Seminar
Paper (—-)

1 Final draft of Seminar
Paper (600)

Total Points:  1000