Department of English

Sierra Mendez


Ph.D. Candidate, University of Texas at Austin

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Courses


RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Texas-Wb

43640 • Spring 2021
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
Wr

To a fierce degree, Texas holds to its identity and history as a state. Grandiose and independent, Texas exists as a place and also an ideal. This class is for students interested in exploring the rhetorical production and utilization of place: how identity, culture, history, and geography are made to shape the spaces we live in and, therefore, shape us. In class and for assignments, students will engage with a variety of texts from museum exhibits to maps to historical markers to restaurants to music that we might examine what "Texas" has been made-to-be. We will think critically about stories and sights we hear and see everyday and their connections to state political identity, state policy, nationhood, borders, and citizenship. Course papers are intended to nurture students’ ability to write professionally and thoughtfully about rhetorical sites and situations with particular attention to multiple and varied audiences. Creative projects are intended to allow students to explore rhetorical practices and thought processes through making. 

 

Grade Distribution

Weekly Activity 10%

Weekly Reading 10%

Unit 1 Paper 25%

Unit 2 Paper 25%

Final Project 30%

 

Reading list

The primary text for this class will be Becoming Rhetorical by Jodie Nicotra and The Little Longhorn Handbook. 

Other readings will include texts found at UT Library Archives, news articles related to recent debates over history and memorialization, and pages excerpted from: 

Gone to Texas by Randolph B. Campbell

Empire for Slavery by Randolph B. Campbell

The Conquest of Texas by Gary Clayton Anderson

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewin 

Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Tafolla

Foreigners in their Native Land by David J. Weber and Arnoldo de León

History Ahead: Stories Beyond Texas Roadside Markers by Dan K. Utley and Cynthia J. Beeman

Inventing Place: Writing Lone Star Rhetorics edited by Casey Boyle and Jenny Rice

With His Pistol in His Hand by Americo Paredes

RHE 315 • Intro To Visual Rhetoric-Wb

42321 • Fall 2020
Meets W 12:00PM-1:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
Wr
#2020PresidentialPolitics. This class is for students interested in the persuasive power of visual forms of communication from typefaces to body language to photographs to stage props. This semester, we will think critically about visual texts that produce and move the 2020 Presidential Election. Alongside writing assignments, students will design and create political media in ways that help them explore affective, image-based argumentation and messaging. Course essays are designed to nurture student ability to write professionally and thoughtfully about rhetorical sights and situations. Course graphic projects are designed to develop student understanding of rhetorical decision-making embedded in creative composition, production, and circulation of images. Ultimately, this course aims to cultivate students’ perceptions of themselves as makers of political meaning via images they produce in this class and in their daily lives.
 
 Assignments Class Activity and Participation (10%)
Weekly Reading Posts (15%)
Unit 1:  “Words as Sights” Rhetorical Analysis (15%)
Unit 1: “Words as Sights” Annotated Creative Production (10%)
Unit 2: “Pictures as Persuasion” Rhetorical Analysis (15%)
Unit 2: “Pictures as Persuasion” Annotated Creative Production & Reflection (10%)
Unit 3: “Mediating Composition” Rhetorical Analysis (15%)
Unit 3: “Mediating Composition” Annotated Creative Production (10%)
 
Required Texts
Rhetorical Visions by Wendy S. Hesford and Brenda Jo Brueggemann
Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture by Lisa Cartwright and Marita Sturken
(Possibly) Covering Immigration: Popular Images and the Politics of a Nation by Leo Chavez
 
Supplementary texts (excerpts provided by me)
Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students by Sharon Crowley and Deborah Hawhee
The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
The Right to Look by Nicolas Mirzoeff
Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics by Jacques Ranciere
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
Everything’s an Argument by Andrea Lunsford
Megg’s History of Graphic Design by Phillip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Texas

42500 • Fall 2019
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 6
Wr

To a fierce degree, Texas holds to its identity and history as a state. Grandiose and independent, Texas exists as a place and also a hyperbolic ideal—a story of pioneers, of guns, of fortitude, of bravery wrapped in an intrinsic good-natured folksiness. This identity derived from Texas’ perceived past drives its present and future by conditioning Texans’ cultures, values, and policies. Rhetoric of Texas affords students opportunities to explore the rhetorical nature of Texas’ memory of itself and its role in maintaining public scripts to manage collective behavior. This class will identify strategies for the distribution of Texas’ primary historical narratives through material texts, objects, and images found in Austin’s historic sites, memorial markers, museums, archives, and newspapers across the state. We will visit many of these sites and compare their narratives with primary and secondary sources that hold alternative stories to ask why we choose to remember some histories while choosing to forget others. Rhetoric of Texas is a course in composition and persuasion across traditional and untraditional texts. It is designed to enhance students’ ability to: 1) analyze what and who we remember in Texas history; 2) evaluate rhetorical strategies and effects of historical representation in public spaces; 3) explore how history and memory are tied to identity, culture, and beliefs/values 4) investigate how history itself is disseminated persuasively and is leveraged as a rhetorical strategy for public discourse, deliberation, and distribution. This effort will culminate in a multimedia digital storytelling project that asks students to reflect on their own history, their subsequent identity as a “collected” individual, and their rights therefore to publics and public goods. This course aims to sharpen students’ critical reading, writing, and thinking skills across myriad text forms.

 

Grade Distribution:

  • Reading Response I: 5% Reading Response II: 5%
  • Research Response I: 5% Research Response II: 5%
  • Project Prep Assignment I: 5% Project Prep Assignment II: 5%
  • Unit I Project: 15% Unit II Project: 15%
  • Reading Response III: 5%
  • Research Response III: 5% Textbook Presentation: 10%
  • Project Prep Assignment III: 5% Peer Review: Mandatory
  • Unit III Project: 15% Participation: Invaluable 

Reading list: 

The primary text for this class will be Becoming Rhetorical by Jodie Nicotra and The Little Longhorn Handbook. Other readings will include texts found at UT Library Archives, news articles related to recent debates over history and memorialization, and pages excerpted from: 

  • Naming What We Know by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle
  • Gone to Texas by Randolph B. Campbell
  • Empire for Slavery by Randolph B. Campbell
  • The Conquest of Texas by Gary Clayton Anderson
  • An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewin 
  • Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Tafolla
  • Foreigners in their Native Land by David J. Weber and Arnoldo de León
  • History Ahead: Stories Beyond Texas Roadside Markers by Dan K. Utley and Cynthia J. Beeman
  • Inventing Place: Writing Lone Star Rhetorics edited by Casey Boyle and Jenny Rice
  • Ancient Rhetoric for Contemporary Students by Sharon Crowley and Deborah Hawhee

Curriculum Vitae


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