COURSE DESCRIPTION – Fear is Contagious: Is AIDS? (10.1)

ENG-R209 – Topics in Rhetoric and Public Culture
General Description:
Examines how rhetorical practice shapes public culture. May focus on a medium or mode of rhetorical practice, such as documentary film, social movement, or political speech; a theme or issue, such as race, gender, or democracy; or a particular historical period. Topic Varies.

Topic – Digital Memorials, Monuments, and Memory
Course Description
This course adopts a rhetorical approach to understanding the role of monumentality in the public and private sphere, situating memory, memorials, and monuments as value formations for personal and cultural identity (and ideology). Students will be asked to analyze specific artifacts, engage with critical texts and objects, and work across digital technologies. Meaning, more than just donning a rhetorical orientation, students will make critical and creative digital artifacts that participate in what Gregory L. Ulmer calls “electrate citizenship.” To this end, students will be exposed to different theoretical frames, develop a range of technological skills, and learn to deploy rhetorical techné (across media and modes) in order to write about, design, represent, and deliver critical, creative, and narrative-based expressions of monumentality in and across digital platforms.

Or, put another way: the core of this course is equally split across knowing, doing, and making.

Knowing – students will be exposed to rhetorical methods of inquiry and analysis, allowing them to develop complex understandings of monumentality, to situate the way monuments operate as rhetorical/cultural devices or exist as rhetorically laden expressions, and to grasp (as well as learn to leverage) the role monuments play in public and private arenas.

Doing – students will identify and engage in significant research on a key monument or memorial in their own/local contexts. They will apply methods of rhetorical inquiry and analysis (through both digital and material practices) to develop a critical understanding of that monument. Further, students will utilize institutional and field-based practices to develop a nuanced and multi-faceted understanding (and/or archive) of their selected monument.

Making – students will be asked to demonstrate their understanding and developed practices by working in and across multiple forms and multiple media: from long- and short-form writing to video-based expressions, from responding to discussion prompts to audio-based narratives (e.g., podcasts), from creating imagery (photos, composites) to producing websites and/or webtexts.

In short, in this course students will utilize rhetorical principles to understand and interpret human expressions of monumentality through writing, image production, video and sound creation, and other twenty-first century mediating practices.

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