Rhetoric, RHET: 1030:071 2:30-2:30 MTWTH, 3 EPB Spring 2014, Department of Rhetoric, University of Iowa
Instructor: Chelsea Burk Office Hours: MTWTh 1:45-2:30 in 70 EPB and by appointment. Department GoalsRhetoric is the first foundational course for the General Education curriculum for the entire University. Most students take Rhetoric during their first or second semester of University study. We strive to prepare students for competent and engaged participation in University life. You should leave with the critical thinking, comprehension, research, writing, and speaking skills that all your future courses will build upon, whatever your Major. Rhetoric is a gateway to college learning, not a gatekeeper. It represents a foundation stone of the pathway to advanced learning. Rhetoric is the study and art of persuasion: understanding how you are influenced by “texts” around you, and knowing how to compose successful writing and presentations yourselves. In Rhetoric, we consider just about everything a “rhetorical act” that attempts to persuade a specific audience to think or feel a certain way: “texts” are speeches and essays for sure, but also ads, films, products, art, graffiti, and even spaces. We emphasize the universal applicability of Rhetoric and its usefulness not only in school, but also in everyday life (e.g. media awareness, civic engagement, activism, decision-making, relationship conduct, citizenship, scientific choices). Our curriculum focuses on controversies, and I will lead you through a sequence that asks you to analyze and describe the argumentation and persuasiveness of different perspectives on the same topic, and eventually advocate positions of your own in a way that skillfully takes into account the interests and concerns of your audience. A controversy is not just a single yes/no issue: there are always complex points to evaluate, and our job in this course is to find those nuances. So why do we expect you to study Rhetoric at The University of Iowa? Because we want you to learn how to think at an advanced level suitable for university education. We want you to learn how to contribute more usefully to discussions and social debates. We want you to create the best essays and presentations you can in college and beyond. Your future professors expect you to master Rhetoric as a foundation for college-level learning, writing, and presenting in your chosen field of study, whether it is Engineering or English. Critical thinking, sound argumentation, and effective writing and presentation processes are essential to academic success in any discipline or field.
Course Topics & Goals In this course, we will approach the art of rhetoric by working with four main skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. For the first speech and essay, we will practice critical thinking and analysis, learning to ask ourselves not only what is being said, but how it is said. In addition to analyzing the arguments of others, in the second major essay, we will practice outlining the conversation surrounding a controversy (what arguments make up a space of your choosing in the Iowa City area), and move toward constructing our own arguments. Ultimately, for the final speech, you will create a podcast to advocate on behalf of an under-privileged narrative in the Iowa City area.
Rhetoric revolves around the fulcrum of communication—to effectively persuade, one must insightfully, creatively, and cleverly communicate ideas. We will begin the semester by reading Jay Heinrich’s funny, brilliant, and at times dark text on recognizing and practicing rhetoric in your daily life: Thank You For Arguing. In the early weeks of the course, you will be challenged to think in new ways about familiar topics. As a class we will dissect arguments, examining how they are presented and what effects these choices are meant to achieve. By the end of our first unit, you will be empowered to confront almost any message with the knowledge that you are able to understand it and engage with it in a critical, analytical way. With everyone equipped with the same rhetorical toolbox, our reading the second half of the semester applies Heinrich’s ideas to two recently published books of non-fiction, Persepolis and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. We will begin to broaden our scope, attempting as we progress to analyze not only single arguments, but multiple perspectives on a controversy at the same time. This ability will allow you to become academically engaged, preparing you for the rigorous conversations that are a part of meaningful college education. It will also help you hone the skills that are useful for civic engagement; those skills will be applied and practiced in our second major assignments based on living in Iowa City. Equipped with an understanding of the ways arguments work, we will practice diligently to make our own solid arguments. When you become a successful advocate for your positions, you will then be a part of the context of a controversy, contributing your own unique perspective in an intellectually respectable manner. The final unit of the course will synthesize all of our learning in the Iowa Narratives Project, a group presentation building upon the research and insight of your second essay to advocate on behalf of a local story you believe deserves a broader audience. I feel very strongly that worthwhile work produces a result you can be proud of. By the end of this class, I hope that each of you will be able to point specifically to what you have learned and to what you have contributed. I will teach in such a way that you can understand the learning purposes of our work together. As well as the above, we will focus on becoming stronger readers, speakers, listeners, and writers. These tools, coupled with the skills of analysis, will be the basis of your success in college, in civic engagement, and beyond. Lastly, our classroom will be an environment of trust and respect. As a group, we will come to know one another quite well this semester. Each of us must be able to feel free to share and discuss anything we feel is pertinent, and no viewpoint respectful of others in the group will be silenced. Disrespectful conduct of any sort will not be tolerated. See the “Diversity and Inclusion” section at the end of the syllabus for further clarification of this University policy. Objectives and Course Policies
This course explores the use of:
writing and speaking to discover, question, explain, and justify positions in a controversy;
reading and listening to comprehend and consider arguments;
creating persuasive arguments in speaking and writing using observation, library research, analysis, reflection, and critique.
1. Electronic Communication: I encourage you to email me your questions and concerns, using your university email address. Messages from gmail or other accounts may be ignored. I will do my best to respond in a timely manner, and will let you know in advance anytime I expect to be inaccessible by email. Although I will likely reply sooner, please allow at least 48 hours for me to respond to student emails. If you are emailing me to discuss a grade, please wait to email me until 24 hours after the assignment has been returned to you (see 24/7 policy). You are responsible for knowing about any and all official correspondence sent to your @uiowa.edu address.
Please also check the course’s ICON homepage regularly; I will use this space to post a week-by-week reminder of assignments, deadlines and readings. As the course progresses we may find that some readings, assignments, or discussions take either more or less time than projected on the syllabus. Because of this, it will be important for you to check ICON at least weekly in order to catch any updates, extensions or other changes.
2. Workload Expectations: 2 hours of preparation per semester hour on the course, per week, is the rule of thumb. This is a four-credit-hour course, so standard out-of-class preparation per week is eight hours. Of course, this will ebb and flow depending on the time in the semester.
3. Working with Other Students’ Writing and Speaking: The Rhetoric department is dedicated to process pedagogy, which the Rhetoric Handbook* defines as “a belief that good composition of a speech or written argument is the result of a complex process of preparation, collaboration, feedback, and revision” (5). For each major assignment, responding to your peers’ writing and speaking contributes to your overall grade. You will respond in class workshops to various stages of each major assignment: proposing a topic, outlining, writing rough drafts, and crafting polished drafts. I require you to employ constructive criticism, pushing your peers to clarify ideas, consider relevant questions, and reflect upon the rhetorical strategies they employ. I expect your comments to be courteous but honest, engaged, in-depth, and thorough. We will discuss how to provide constructive criticism throughout the semester. * http://clas.uiowa.edu/rhetoric/for-instructors/handbook
4. Classroom Expectations: In addition to the various aspects of active participation outlined above, I expect students to cultivate a positive personal ethos for themselves as members of the class. The study of Rhetoric centers around the ways different messages can be communicated. This means that our course is a good time to think about what sort of message you communicate about yourself as a student. You make statements and “arguments” about yourself not only through the work you turn in, but how you function in the classroom. Make positive statements about yourself through the ways you collaborate with others, the ways you speak and listen to me and your fellow students, and even factors like a good attitude, promptness, and positive, attentive body language. As we’ll discuss this semester, audience is everything—if you act like a good student in the class, your audience (your fellow students and me) will think you are a good student, which can’t hurt your participation grade and personal standing in the class.
In our digital, wireless moment, I welcome tech devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones in the classroom. In fact, I encourage them, and will ask you to bring them in for many of our assignments. As useful as technology can be for our activities and discussions, it can also be distracting. To mitigate the level of distraction, keep these devices on silent during class and away in a bag or pocket—not, ahem, “just holding it” in your hand under the desk (college pro-tip: as a former undergraduate texter/Facebooker myself, I am the Muhammed Ali of spotting elicit tech usage in the classroom). Using electronic devices outside of class discussions and activities demonstrates a lack of engagement, and therefore participation, which are major strikes against a positive participation grade. Course Texts Required texts or materials (available at the University Bookstore):
Thank You For Arguing (2013 Revised Edition), Jay Heinrichs
Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
A sturdy folder or binder to keep all assignments in throughout the semester. I will periodically require you to turn this in to review your progress.
Grading Assignments and Activities: Your grade will depend substantially on two major writing and two major speaking assignments. In addition, you will receive credit for informal speaking, writing, reading, and listening: smaller written assignments, extemporaneous speeches, weekly reading responses, peer response to workshops, etc. Your active, thoughtful and informed participation in class will also count as a significant part of your final grade and will be evaluated daily. I will grade your participation both at midterm and the end of the semester. Each time, you will be required to submit a participation self-evaluation to me, which I will take into careful consideration as I evaluate your participation grade. To receive a “C” grade: Attend class regularly and punctually, actively listen and participate in class discussions and activities, and promptly and competently complete all informal and major assignments (including readings and online discussion posts). This includes active participation in and completion of workshop stages for each major assignment, adequately meeting all criteria for assignments, completing reading assignments on time and being prepared to share your opinions on the texts in class. This also includes bringing the assigned readings to class on the day of discussion (print them if they are ICON readings). To receive a “B” grade: Fulfill all of the requirements for a C and also demonstrate a significantly higher level of effort and competence on all work assigned for the class. Demonstrate commitment to personally improve and challenge the class as a whole to engage with concepts, readings, and assignments energetically, creatively, and critically. B work typically reflects independent thinking. The B student is self-reflexive and often asks questions such as “How can I make my work better? How can I revise this? How can I make my work unique and interesting? How can I help the class have productive and energetic discussions?” To receive an “A” grade: Surpass the requirements for a B as well as consistently and reliably demonstrate an exceptional level of rhetorical sophistication through critical thinking and original analysis. A students interrogate all sides of issues and regularly direct questions to whomever is necessary in order to clarify their own opinions clearly and convincingly to a critical audience. A students surprise themselves as well as the teacher. To receive a “D” grade: Do not fulfill your responsibilities outlined under “To receive a ‘C’” and/or fail to show respect in the classroom for students and/or instructor. A D student has many excuses but few completed assignments. For example, D students often fail to complete or turn in assignments, participate in discussion, or show up for workshops. To receive a “F” grade: Do not complete assignments, do not come to class, do not contribute to class discussions. Grade Distribution: Speech 1--due in class Feb. 10-12 15% Essay 1--due Monday, March 10 15% Essay 2--due Monday, April 14 20% Speech 2--due in class May 6-8 20% Participation (see Attendance and Participation in the Course Policies sections) 10% Informal Assignments (including online discussion posts, in-class activities, 20% and all other assignments not accounted for by the major essays and speeches) Total: 100%
You may access your grades on ICON at any time during the semester, and you are always welcome to schedule a meeting with me to discuss them in more detail.
At the end of the semester, you will receive your final grade only after they have been approved by the department DEO, Steve Duck. This typically occurs the week after final exams.
Your final grade will be determined on the University’s A-F grade scale, with A as the top possible grade.
There is no final examination in this course.
Attendance & Participation: Attendance is required and is therefore not rewarded. Points may be deducted for absences or lack of participation in class. Students are expected to attend every meeting (unless you have an excused absence). As noted above, your active, thoughtful and informed participation is worth 10% of your final grade. Not only does successful participation only influence this portion of your grade, but I base our informal assignments on our readings and class discussion, so it also affects your ability to engage in and complete informal assignments (worth 20% of your final grade). Successful participation in the course will require considerable time, thought, and energy both during class and in outside preparation. Each student will be expected to make an active, informed, thoughtful contribution to each session. You will need to demonstrate that you have read the assigned readings completely, with a sufficient level of engagement to help further discussion. This does not mean just summarizing the point of the reading to demonstrate basic understanding; you should use your understanding of the reading as a starting point, proceeding to make an inference of your own, to agree or disagree, or to bring up a relevant point or example that pushes the discussion forward. In Rhetoric, examples and specificity are important: therefore, I expect you to bring the assigned readings to class on the day of discussion so we can relate our discussion back to the text. Failing to bring the assigned readings to class on the day of discussion will result in a failing grade for that day’s participation. If the readings are on ICON, print them. Show that you are listening carefully and thoughtfully to the contributions of your classmates, and incorporate their thoughts into your own response whenever possible. In class discussions and exercises, regular online discussion posts, and peer workshops, your comments should further the conversation, advance or clarify your point of view, or encourage others to respond. Rather than each student making statements directed at the instructor, our discussions should involve a web of interactions amongst peers. The conversation will be more interesting if it involves every member of the class. Excused Absences and Late Work: According to University policy, absences from class are excused in the following circumstances:
Illness or injury.
Mandatory religious obligations – must be documented and arranged in advance.
Authorized University activities – must be documented and arranged in advance.
If you have a conscientious objection to course material covered that day, you may chose not to come, and may be asked to complete an alternate assignment or activity. See UI Operations Manual III.15.2f). Must be arranged in advance: I always give warning for content or activities that might fall under this category.
Lying about excused absences, including false use of Student Health self-reports, is a violation of the Code of Student Life and as such will be reported to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs & Curriculum, who can impose University sanctions. Late work is acceptable only by arrangement with me, and it may not always be logistically possible for you to make up a public oral presentation even if an absence is excused. I will try to accommodate you but if class is unable to accommodate an audience for your speech, you may not be able to meet the requirement for public presentation of the speech. Work missed during excused absences (those caused by documented illnesses, family emergencies, religious obligations, or authorized University activities) can be made up; if possible, contact me in advance to make arrangements regarding such absences. In all cases, I require documentation. I may ask you to complete the Registrar's “Explanatory Statement for Absence from Class” form, which is available at http://www.registrar.uiowa.edu/Student/Forms forStudents/tabid79/Default.aspx. Students are responsible for providing documentation for excused absences, and for finding out about work missed during absences.
I generally do not accept unexcused late assignments. You may be penalized for work missed during unexcused absences, including participation in discussion and other class activities. For late assignments related to unexcused absences, credit will be deducted from the grade for each day the work is late. A pattern of arriving late to class or missing deadlines is also likely to hurt your participation grade.
Adds/Drops & TransfersAll section changes are handled on-line, unless you are told you MUST have an Add/drop slip by your advisor. Add/drop slips are valid only if signed by the DEO of the Rhetoric Department: I have no authority to sign them. No Adds are permitted after the first Friday of the Fall semester and after the first Monday of the Spring semester. Transfer students are placed in this course based on your transcript. If you have questions, contact the Rhetoric Office.
Calendar of Course Assignments and Exams
Fall 2013 Course Schedule Rhetoric 1030:071 *This is a tentative calendar and is subject to change. Updates will be posted to ICON and shared in class. You are responsible for tracking course activities, readings, and assignments as the semester progresses. Each day various in-class activities and informal assignments will accompany these readings. I will post a weekly overview of upcoming assignments on ICON.
Unit 1: Analysis Week 1: Jan. 21-23 Day 1: Introduction to Rhetoric Day 2: Speeches of Introduction Day 3: Read the course syllabus, Heinrichs, “Foreword to the New Edition” and pg.3-11 Week 2: Jan. 27-30 Day 1: Read Heinrichs, pg. 15-46 Day 2: Two copies of Topic Proposal for Speech #1/Topic Proposal Peer Workshop Day 3: Read Heinrichs pg. 47-56 Day 4: Mortimer Adler’s “How to Mark a Book” (on ICON); Heinrichs p.57-73 Week 3: Feb. 3-6 Day 1: Read Heinrichs p.74-104; Discussion post #1 due Day 2: Read Heinrichs p.281-304 and create speech outline (in class) Day 3: Read Heinrichs p. 105-114 Day 4: Speech #1 Polished Draft Workshop Week 4: Feb. 10-13 Day 1: Speech #1 Presentations Day 2: Speech #1 Presentations Day 3: Speech #1 Presentations Day 4: Read Heinrichs p. 115-141 Week 5: Feb. 17-20 Day 1: Read Heinrichs p.145-163; ICON readings (to be posted); Discussion post #2 due Day 2: Read Heinrichs p. 164-180 Day 3: Read Heinrichs p. 181-198 and Essay #1 outline workshop Day 4: Read Heinrichs p. 201-219 Week 6: March 3-6 Day 1: Essay #1 draft workshop Day 2: Read Heinrichs p. 220-248; Discussion post #3 due Day 3: Read Heinrichs p. 249-270 Day 4: Read Heinrichs p. 271-78 Week 7: March 10-13 Day 1:Essay #1 due; Participation self-evaluation (in class); Responsible Research Unit 2: Who Says? Describing and Researching Controversies Day 2: Read Heinrichs p. 305-328; Responsible Research Day 3: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks prologue-p.33 and Discussion post #4 due Day 4: Presentation of 3 possible Spaces to Examine Week 8: Spring Break, no classes Week 9: March 24-27 Day 1: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks p.34-126 and Discussion post #5 due Day 2: Present Space report process plans and proposals Day 3: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks p.127-157 Day 4: On-Site work; submit notes to ICON dropbox Week 10: March 31-April 3 Day 1: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks p. 157-190 and Discussion post #6 due Day 2: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks p.191-231 Day 3: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks p. 232-240 Day 4: Draft workshop for Space Report Week 11: April 7-10 Day 1: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks p. 241-285 and Discussion post #7 due Day 2: Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks p.286-313 and Afterword Day 3: Read Persepolis introduction-p.25 and Discussion post #8 due Day 4: Read Persepolis p.26-46 Week 12: April 14-17 Day 1:Essay #2 due; Bring laptop for What is Advocacy? assignment Unit 3: Joining the Fray: Crafting Arguments and Approaching Advocacy Day 2: Advocacy presentations Day 3: Listen to “This American Life” podcast (link on ICON); Personal Proposal posted before class begins; Complete collaborative proposal as a group, due by the end of class to dropbox Day 4: Read Persepolis p.47-71 and Discussion post #9 due Week 13: April 21-24 Day 1: Listen to at least 2 Iowa Narratives Project podcasts; take notes in two columns (1. What do I hear (content); 2. Why am I hearing this (rhetorical analysis—organization, appeals, etc.). Be prepared to present your analysis of the podcasts you listened to, pointing to specific sound bytes. Day 2: Audacity Workshop Day 3: Read Persepolis p.72-93 and Discussion post #10 due Day 4: Read Persepolis p.94-117 Week 14: April 28-May 1 Day 1: Composition Plan presentations/workshop Day 2: Read Persepolis p. 118-134 and Discussion post #11 due Day 3: Read Persepolis p.135-end Day 4: Draft Workshop (in class) and Group reflection on collaboration Week 15: May 5-8 Day 1: Troubleshooting and enter final draft’s data; practice presentations; post Discussion of Rhetorical Techniques to ICON discussion board before class on May 6th. Day 2: Speech #2 Presentations and Teacher Evaluations Day 3: Speech #2 Presentations and Participation Self-Evaluations Day 4: Speech #2 Presentations and Reflections Week 16:Finals week: no class, no final exam. Study hard and have a great break!
UI Policies and Procedures Administrative Home The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the administrative home for Rhetoric. Different colleges may have different policies. See the CLAS Academic Handbook. Diversity & InclusionThe University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment or in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. No acts of discrimination will be tolerated in this class.Understanding Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and threatens the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff. We share a responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported immediately. See www.uiowa.edu/~eod/policies/sexual-harassment-guide/index.html for assistance, definitions, and the full University policy. Accommodations for Disabilities A student seeking academic accommodations must register with Student Disability Services and meet with me privately to make particular arrangements. http://www.uiowa.edu/~sds/ Electronic Communication Students are responsible for all official correspondences sent to their standard University of Iowa e-mail address (@uiowa.edu). Students should check their account frequently. Academic Fraud Any instance of a student falsely presenting work that is not their own (e.g. plagiarism, cheating) is academic fraud and taken seriously by the College. The instructor reports any suspicion of fraud to the department and follows procedures outlined in the CLAS Academic Handbook. Consequences may include failure of the assignment or course, suspension, or expulsion. Resubmitting work for which academic credit has already been given is fraud. It does not matter where or when the work was previously submitted. Any student who has previously submitted work for grading in Rhetoric and who resubmits that work is committing academic fraud. For that reason, students repeating Rhetoric for a second grade option or for any other reason must submit work that is new or that has been substantially revised in terms of effort and extension of thought and quality. Making a Suggestion or a Complaint We may not always see eye to eye. If there is a problem, please speak to me first. Often we can resolve the issue without need for further action. I may consult with the course supervisor for advice. If matters are still unresolved, feel free to speak with Carol Severino (firstname.lastname@example.org), the department officer charged with dealing with student concerns. If she cannot resolve the issue, then it goes to Steve Duck, the DEO. Complaints must be made within six months of the incident. See the CLAS Academic Handbook. Reacting Safely to Severe Storms In severe weather, the class members should seek shelter in the lowest, innermost part of the building, away from windows. The class will continue if possible when the event is over. (Operations Manual, IV. 16.14) Sign up for http://hawkalert.uiowa.edu/ Clarifying Student Collaboration Some of your work may be collaborative. Each student on a research team is expected to complete a similar amount of work and to contribute equally to the project. Each student will complete a self-evaluation and a group evaluation, describing this equality or the lack of it during the group’s work. For more information, see the assignment sheet, the grading rubric, and the self-evaluation form for the project. Students who misrepresent themselves as equal partners in this collaborative project but who are actually letting others do the bulk of the work will be reported to the College for academic dishonesty. If you have questions, it is your responsibility to ask them.