English 292: Contemporary issues in rhetoric and writing

Fall, 1997

Tuesday and Thursday 4:00-5:30, EL 207
Randy Harris
Hagey Hall 247, x5362
Home phone (Milton): (905) 876-3972
E-mail: raha@watarts
Hours: Friday, 9:00-11:00; whenever you can catch me
Course epitome
"The course inductively defines the fields of Rhetoric and Professional Writing through an exploration of contemporary issues in language, writing, and rhetoric, as those issues are identified and dealt with, in the pertinent scholarly and professional journals, by current researchers and their work."

This course is effectively the introduction to Rhetoric and Professional Writing,––the programme, not just the fields. So: (1) while Iâm blathering on at the front you should take a moment out here and there to look around and see who else is in the boat; (2) form study groups, underground anarchorhetoricalist search parties, friendships; because (3) youâre in this together, and (4) you always will be.

RPW is not a largely theoretical course of studies, as you might find in a university with a degree in rhetoric. RPW is not a largely applied course of studies, as you might find in a college or vocational school with a certificate in professional writing. It is a programme that supplies sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes a ragout, and brings students to a place where they can think, learn, and contine to grow, in both areas forever and ever, amen.

Required texts
Brummett, Rhetoric in popular culture
Brockmann etc., Course readings
Style Guide
Aaron, McArthur, The Little, Brown, Compact Handbook
Midterm (6 Nov) 30%
Take-home final (1 Dec; 27 Nov) 40%
Final (they’ll tell us) 30%

9 Sept
Hello; how are you?
11 Sept
Hello; who are you?
16 Sept
RPW–The Programme
18 Sept
Texts: life, the universe, everything
One, Two
23 Sept
Rhetorical theory; the indy tour
25 Sept
Rhetorical criticism; the indy tour
30 Sept
Rhetoric & Professional Writing
Theorizing I
2 Oct
Discourse Theory & Professional Writing
7 Oct
Wait a minute: Are we feminists?
Theorizing II
9 Oct
Information development
14 Oct
Ethos and ethics
15 Oct
21 Oct
Graphics, Document Design
23 Oct
Graphic Responsibility
28 Oct
Dogs eating dogs
30 Oct
Canis collaboratis
4 Nov
Wait a minute: You mean weâre not alone?
6 Nov
11 Nov
Online information
The net
13 Nov
18 Nov
Suasion in Professional Writing
20 Nov
Quality assurance–editing
25 Nov
Quality assurance–usability
27 Nov
2 Dec
So long and thanks for the fish


General requirements

You will have to do a lot of reading, and you will have to understand it. You will have to come to class, and you will have to pay attention. You should probably take notes.
This will be a fact-based, true/false, multiple-choice, short-answer affair. (75 minutes)
Take-home Final
On 27 November, I will assign a question, which will depend quite heavily on the readings. On 2 December, you will hand me an essay which answers that question.
This will be half-and-half, fact-based and critical analysis. There will be a bunch of true/false, multiple-choice, short-answer questions and a couple of essay questions.
(3 hours)


Do the readings before the assigned class.

If you have any questions, please make sure you ask them.

Familiarize yourself with Policy #71, particularly with regard to plagiarism and other forms of cheating.