Department of English

Sarah Riddick


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Courses


RHE 309K • Rhet Of Freaks And Geeks

43390 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 6
Wr

 “We are the nobodies. / Wanna be somebodies.” – Marilyn Manson

What makes the garage-band burnouts portrayed by Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and James Franco on Freaks and Geeks (1999) so freaky? Why are the Bill Haverchuks of the world historically picked last? Using Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s critically acclaimed television series Freaks and Geeks as a broad framework for the course, you will select a cultural freak or geek—human or nonhuman, fictional or nonfictional, singular or plural—to research and rhetorically analyze for the semester. To support your research, we will survey in class an array of well-known outsiders in popular culture, and we will explore how rhetoric contributes to their positions as outsiders. 

From the X-Men to The Breakfast Club, from Macklemore to Muggles, from Disney’s classic cartoon villains to their live-action, reimagined portrayals today and many more—we will rhetorically analyze a variety of cultural freaks and geeks in order to examine the relationship between stereotypes, stigmatization, and rhetoric. Over the course of the semester, you will research and write about your freak or geek in several short assignments and three longer essays, and you will deliver two succinct presentations. In keeping with the progressive spirit of this course, revision and peer review will be a major component of your work. By the semester’s end, you will thus be well-prepared to argue on behalf of your freak or geek for a social upgrade from “nobody” to “somebody.”

 

Major Projects:

  • Mapping Essay (revision and peer review are mandatory)
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory)
  • Persuasive Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory)

Other Assignments:

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Blog Posts
  • Timeline Presentation
  • Persuasive Presentation

Grading:

Although students will regularly receive detailed feedback on their coursework, they will not receive traditional letter grades for these assignments. Instead, assessment will be based around the Learning Record portfolio system. In addition to completing the course assignments, students will submit a midterm and final portfolio that demonstrates growth across six dimensions of learning: confidence and independence; skills and strategies; knowledge and understanding; use of prior and emerging experience; reflection; and creativity and imagination.

Required Texts:

  • Kidd, Dustin. Pop Culture Freaks: Identity, Mass Media, and Society.
  • Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World.
  • Additional readings will be supplied by instructor.

RHE 312 • Writing In Digtl Environments

43761 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 104
Wr

Fake news, bot accounts, trolls, secret sales of personal data, targeted political ads and disiniformation campaigns—the stakes for writing in digital environments have never felt higher. Yet, despite its dangers, digital writing is an undeniably incredible mode of persuasion. Today, it is easier than ever to create and distribute compelling content to the world, and this ease empowers far more people than those who tend to already have it.

From whistleblowers to social media influencers, Buzzfeed “Tasty” videos to Reddit threads—we will analyze a variety of venues and rhetors that illustrate the opportunities and pitfalls for digital writing. Meanwhile, you will research a topic of your choice and its online appearance across these venues. Finally, in a series of in-class workshops, you will learn to create different types of digital writings (e.g., visual, auditory); this work will culminate in a final multimodal project that is aimed to persuade audience members for your topic in an online venue of your choice. You don’t need arrive to this class with prior technical or rhetorical knowledge about writing in digital environments, but you will certainly leave with some. In addition, revision will be an integral and celebrated part of this course.

 

Required Texts:

  • Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical.
  • Additional readings will be supplied by instructor.

Assignments:

  • Essay 1 (including peer review and revision): Rhetorical Analysis of a Digital Text
  • Essay 2 (including peer review and revision): Case Study of a Digital Venue
  • Final Project: Multimodal Digital Writing Project
  • Short Assignments: Topic Proposal, Reading Responses, Discussion Board Posts, In-Class Multimodal Workshops

Grading

Although students will regularly receive detailed feedback on their coursework, they will not receive traditional letter grades for these assignments. Instead, assessment will be based around the Learning Record portfolio system. In addition to completing the course assignments, students will submit a midterm and final portfolio that demonstrates growth across six dimensions of learning: confidence and independence; skills and strategies; knowledge and understanding; use of prior and emerging experience; reflection; and originality, creativity, and imagination.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Freaks And Geeks

43250 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 6
Wr

 “We are the nobodies. / Wanna be somebodies.”

- Marilyn Manson

What makes the garage-band burnouts portrayed by Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and James Franco on Freaks and Geeks (1999)so freaky? Why are the Bill Haverchuks of the world historically picked last? Using Judd Apatow’s critically acclaimed television series Freaks and Geeks as a broad framework for the course, you will select a cultural freak or geek—human or nonhuman, fictional or nonfictional, singular or plural—to research and rhetorically analyze for the semester. To support your research, we will survey in class an array of well-known outsiders in popular culture, and we will explore how rhetoric contributes to their positions as outsiders.

From the X-Men to The Breakfast Club, from Macklemore to Muggles, from Disney’s classic cartoon villains to their live-action, reimagined portrayals today and many more—we will rhetorically analyze a variety of cultural freaks and geeks in order to examine the relationship between stereotypes, stigmatization, and rhetoric. Over the course of the semester, you will research and write about your freak or geek in several short assignments and three longer essays, and you will deliver two succinct presentations. In keeping with the progressive spirit of this course, revision and peer review will be a major component of your work. By the semester’s end, you will thus be well-prepared to argue on behalf of your freak or geek for a social upgrade from “nobody” to “somebody.”

 

Assignments and Grading

Essays (60%):

  • Mapping Essay (revision and peer review are mandatory): 15%
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory): 20%
  • Persuasive Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory): 25%

Other Assignments (40%):

  • Annotated Bibliography: 10%
  • Blog Posts (reading responses, research summaries): 15%
  • Timeline Presentation: 5%
  • Persuasive Presentation: 10%

 

Required Texts and Course Readings

  • Faigley, Lester and Jack Selzer. Good Reasons with Contemporary Arguments. Longman, 6th edition. 2014.
  • Kidd, Dustin. Pop Culture Freaks: Identity, Mass Media, and Society. Boulder: Westview Press, 2014.
  • Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer:  A Pocket Reference. Fourth Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

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