Fall 2017 Courses
Next year, 2018, marks two important anniversaries: the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu pandemic. Both occasions will be marked by special conferences and symposia, both at UNC and around the world. These anniversaries offer us an opportunity to engage with two broader phenomena from a rhetorical perspective: that of medical controversies, including issues of bioethics, and that of medical catastrophes. How do different stakeholders (doctors, patients, public citizens, journalists, etc.) engage with medical research findings? How do they contest medical knowledge? How do they argue for and against health-related policies? In this class, we will draw on the themes of “controversy and catastrophe” to examine these issues. Given the multiple opportunities to present research related to these themes in 2018, we will prepare conference papers and posters that will be ready for submission to a local, national, or international conference.
Rhetoric has always been associated with making. In ancient Greece, rhetoric was considered not a science or body of knowledge, but a techne (loosely translated as craft). This means that the goal of rhetorical study was not simply to know about principles of effective communication, but to be able to craft effective speeches or texts by drawing on general principles and an ability to adjust those principles to the particular situation at hand. In this class, we will examine histories of writing tools, materials, techniques, and forms of media (from hieroglyphics to emojis). Through hands-on activities and workshops, we will reflect on these different forms of communication and meaning-making. We will compose in multiple materials, from clay to paper, pencils to pixels. Major projects will include a cylinder seal (inspired by Ancient Mesopotamian objects used as symbolic “signatures”) that you will design and build, a video tutorial documenting how to write with a particular tool or technique, and a mixed media composition.
Courses Taught Regularly
The Politics of Persuasion: Southern Women’s Rhetorics (Engl 80). In this first year seminar, students conduct archival research in the Southern Historical Collection, working with documents that are written by Southern women from the 1800s to the present. Students examine scrapbooks, speeches, diaries, and letters, and then compose presentations for UNC’s Celebration of Undergraduate Research.
Composition and Rhetoric: Writing in the Disciplines (ENGL 105). Required first year course on genres and conventions of writing in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Students in my sections write lab reports based on computational simulations, conduct focus group studies, and produce brochures, public service announcements, or websites for the UNC Student Health Center.
Composition and Rhetoric: Science Writing (ENGL 105i). Specialized first year course focused on writing in the natural sciences. Students in my sections write genres ranging from popular science articles to grant proposals and scientific policy reports.
Composition and Rhetoric: Writing in the Health Sciences (ENGL 105i). Specialized first year course focused on writing in the health sciences. Students in my sections conduct literature reviews on a health topic, propose a public health study or intervention, and prepare documents (such as brochures and websites) for public audiences.
Science Writing (ENGL 303). Advanced science writing course for upper-level undergraduates. In my sections, students analyze and critique conventions of scientific genres, write literature reviews, grant proposals, and popularizations of scientific articles, and work on service learning projects.
Feminist Literary Theory: Women’s Rhetorics (ENGL 363). Undergraduate course focusing on feminist rhetorical theories. In each class students read about rhetorical principles, consider examples from women rhetors, and determine how rhetorical concepts might be gendered. Original research projects are based on identifying archives (whether historical or contemporary) of women’s rhetorical expression.
History of Rhetoric (ENGL 605). Graduate course focusing on histories of rhetorical theory and practice. My course focuses on how contemporary scholars are recovering, extending and revising rhetorical histories to account for current scholarly concerns such as gender, race and ethnicity, language, and pedagogy.
Health Humanities: Intensive Research Practice (ENGL 695). In this course, students study research methods in the health humanities ranging from literary and rhetorical analysis to qualitative interviewing and ethnographic methods. Students work collaboratively or independently on a research project leading to a conference presentation, grant proposal, or scholarly article.
Rhetoric and Composition Practicum (Engl 706). This course offers students theoretical and practical training in rhetoric and composition, with a focus on teaching Engl 105 at UNC. Students learn about the ancient canons of rhetoric while focusing on the disciplinary and genre conventions of writing in contemporary academic disciplines.
Studies in Rhetoric and Composition: Science and the Rhetoric of Invention (ENGL 805). Graduate course that uses the rhetorical canon of invention as a heuristic to consider the role rhetoric plays in scientific inventions and discoveries. Students consider how rhetoric serves an inventive function for scientists, but also how scientific discourse “invents” gendered subjectivities for scientists and for users of scientific inventions.
Studies in Rhetoric and Composition: Medical Rhetoric (ENGL 805). In this course, students examine key topics of interest to scholars in the rhetoric of health and medicine, such as issues of patient empowerment, compliance, and doctor-patient communication.
Studies in Rhetoric and Composition: Writing at Wrok (ENGL 805). This graduate course introduces students to the theory and pedagogy of technical and professional communication. Students compose technical document but also think pedagogically, designing assignments and syllabi to use in their own teaching.