Rhetoric, Composition, and Language Courses Spring 2024

ENGL 360: Weird Texts

Instructor: Joseph Harrington
55910 | TuTh 11:00-12:15 PM | WES 4020 - LAWRENCE

Some of the most startling and transformative literature blurs the edges between prose and poetry, creative non-fiction and magic realism, fable and fact, script and novel. This course will examine texts that upset our expectations of literary writing – of what an essay should be, what a poem should be, how narrative fiction should be read. What advantages or disadvantages does an author face, in following or defying convention? How does one develop a reading strategy for a work that does not fit itself neatly into a single genre (or combines conventions of several)? And what can all of this tell us about writing in general? Or life?


ENGL 362: Foundations of Technical Writing

Instructor: DJ Price
47393 | By Appointment | Online (Jan 16-Mar 8) - LAWRENCE
47474 | By Appointment | Online (Jan 16-Mar 8) - EDWARDS
47409 | By Appointment | Online (Mar 18-May 10) - LAWRENCE
47475 | By Appointment | Online (Mar 18-May 10) - EDWARDS

From navigating the high-stakes nuances of professional communication to fostering equitable workplace practices and cultures, technical writing has many uses and is vital to diverse careers across many disciplines. In this class you will learn about the rhetoric and ethics of technical communication, with particular attention paid to writing which helps create accessible and inclusive workplaces. We will discuss readings with real-world applications, design visually attractive and effective documents, and practice common technical writing genres including professional emails, proposals, and job application materials. Through reading and writing these genres, you will not only practice skills applicable to your future coursework and career, but you will learn the broader skills of rhetorical flexibility and audience awareness that can be applied to any writing situation.

Pencil and eraser on top of a black composition notebook

ENGL 381: Writing for Nonprofits

Instructor: Sean Kamperman
53492 | By Appointment | Online (Mar 18-May 10) – LAWRENCE

This course offers an introduction to the principles of professional communication in nonprofit organizations. Through analyzing the rhetoric of successful nonprofits and investigating case studies, students will learn how to create a range of documents central to the operation of a successful nonprofit—grant proposals, brochures, newsletters, and donor reports, among others. Readings and assignments will emphasize the ethical and rhetorical complexities of nonprofit work and prepare students to engage with a range of audiences, from donors to clients to staff. Students will hone their professional writing and strategic communication skills by undertaking service learning projects on behalf of actual nonprofit organizations. This course is designed equally for students who are interested in nonprofit careers and those who simply want to learn more about how to be an effective communicator in an organizational setting.

Red pen resting on white paper with black, typed text. Text on paper shows red pen marks.

ENGL 385: The Development of Modern English

Instructor: Wen Xin
55911 | TuTh 1:00 – 2:15 PM | Wescoe 4076 – Lawrence

An introduction to the history of the English language, with special attention to general structural changes throughout its history, especially changes in vocabulary and meaning, and past influences of other languages upon present usage.

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ENGL 582: Multimedia Multimodal Rhetorics

Instructor: Sean Kamperman
55913 | TuTh 1:00-2:15 PM | Wescoe 4020 – LAWRENCE

Digital culture and new media have transformed the way we communicate, pushing multimodal rhetoric to the fore of public discourse. Understanding how multimodal artifacts such as videos, podcasts, games, and memes persuade us—how they form arguments—is therefore critical for 21st century democracy. Fortunately, we don’t have to sit back and idly consume the media thrown our way by entertainment and technology companies. Digital production technologies give us the tools to create multimodal arguments of our own. In this course, we will apply rhetorical principles across a variety of media genres and will address the complex realities and challenges of composing ethical, persuasive, and effective arguments in the 2020s. As we examine the impact of various modes of meaning-making on ourselves and our culture, one of our chief lines of inquiry will be to consider the substantive differences between arguing via text and arguing via image/sound, and how to navigate such differences. Through our analysis and production of multimodal texts, we will explore how medium and mode shape the message, work to persuade multiple audiences, and alter the way that we understand, structure, and process knowledge. Prerequisite: Prior completion of at least one 300- or 400-level English course.

Microphone in foreground with audio soundwaves on computer screen in background