Intro to Writing

(and also some things about rhetoric)

WRTG 150 - Section 72
 Tuesday and Thursday 13:35 – 14:50
Location: 154 HRCB

WRTG 150 - Section 85
Tuesday and Thursday 17:00 – 18:15
Location: 1123 JKB

Instructor: Fish W.W. Burton
Email: fishwwburton@icloud.com (but I prefer messages on canvas)
Office Times: (email me to schedule a time)
Office Location: 4046 JKB

Description: This class is to help you learn the processes of writing, reading, and research with an emphasis on argumentation and rhetorical analysis.

Outcomes: According to BYU, the outcomes of this course are as follows: Use rhetoric responsibly to compose arguments in a variety of genres for specific audiences and purposes. Critically read texts by first, analyzing how a text functions in a specific situation, community, or public; second, analyzing the nuances of language (diction, figures of speech, tone, etc.); and third, identifying and evaluating the elements of an argument-claims, reasons, assumptions, and ethical, emotional, and logical appeals. Write coherent and unified texts (effective introductions, clear theses, supporting details, transitions, and strong conclusions) using a flexible and effective writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Use style—diction, figurative language, tone, grammar, punctuation, spelling, mechanics—genre, conventions, and document design correctly and for rhetorical effect. Navigate the library to locate primary and secondary sources, evaluate the appropriateness and credibility of those sources, and effectively incorporate and accurately document outside sources in a research paper. Use rhetoric responsibly to compose arguments in a variety of genres for specific audiences and purposes. Critically read texts. This includes: analyzing how a text functions in a specific situation, community, or public; analyzing the nuances of language (diction, figures of speech, tone, etc.); identifying and evaluating the elements of an argument-claims, reasons, assumptions, and ethical, emotional, and logical appeals. Write coherent and unified texts (effective introductions, clear theses, supporting details, transitions, and strong conclusions) using a flexible and effective writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Use style—diction, figurative language, tone, grammar, punctuation, spelling, mechanics—genre, conventions, and document design correctly and for rhetorical effect.

Communication: I prefer messages on canvas, but you can communicate with me via email or canvas. I will try to respond within 48 hours. You will receive all the comments I make on your assignments through canvas. If you email me with private questions, I will assume that your email is private enough to be in line with any student federal privacy regulations (such as FERPA). If this is not the case, please let me know so I can respect you and your privacy, and so we can find a secure means of communication. If you have any issues with the class, please speak to me. I promise that I want to change and will listen to any feedback that you have. I want to be a respectful, helpful, kind (is this starting to sound like the Boy Scouts motto?) and courteous teacher.

Etiquette: Don't be a jerk. Also, I don't care if you use electronics in class; in fact, I encourage it, because there are so many resources that can help you through and with learning, and our electronics are such a part of our diurnal discussions that it would be silly for me to try and stop you. Of course, if you use them as a distraction, then you are, as far as I see it, just throwing your college money in the trash, and i’m not going to stop you from doing that either. Also, I don’t care if you eat food in class. In fact, I’ve always fantasized (yes, this is a confession) that students will suddenly rebel against the system and organize their own food schedule (despite, and without approval from, the instructor) because they want to learn and learn comfortably (i.e. gnoshing on foods and snacks of great variety and refinement)), but this is just a fantasy (fantasy: imagining things that are impossible or, at best, improbable (yes, I am challenging you)).

Content: Being in college (being human) means you will have to deal with some heavy/tough stuff. If any objectionable content is presented in class, you are welcome (even encouraged) to express yourself in class or with me privately. That all said, I will be as conscious and respectful as I can.

Attendance: My policy is this: I don't care. When you signed up for college, you paid (are paying) for it, and if you want to be absent from class, then that is on you to waste (or spend) your money how you like (I haven't done the math, but you might want to figure out (based on tuition and a multitude of other things you are paying for (rent, food, etc.)) how much you are paying for each class period, and how much you are losing each time you decide to skip class). At any rate, I also believe in natural consequences. If you miss class, you will miss the crucial information and discussions that really can't be replicated and are provided in order to help you accomplish the learning tasks of the class. You can use electronics as much as you need in the class, but if you use them so much that you aren't paying attention, then you are functionally absent, and all the things I have said above about being absent applies in this case as well. 

Makeup: I inevitably have students ask me how they can make up work, either because they've planned something else or because they didn't expect something else to happen. If you have a university excused absence, then I will help you catch up. If you just miss class, I will not hold private lessons for you to personally catch up. Again, you are paying for my expertise at a specifically scheduled time that we all mutually signed up for. I hope you will understand—early—that my classes are not lectures that can just be read or understood at your leisure (with some powerpoint, handout or another). I don't teach like that, so if you miss class you miss something that can't be replicated.

Canvas (byu.instructure.com): This is the platform that you will be using to turn in your freewrites, drafts, and the links to your final assignments (after you have posted them on medium). I recommend that you download the app on your devices. You should already have an account created for you by the university. If you try going to canvas through canvas.com or something like that, then you will likely get confused, so just stick with the link at the beginning of this paragraph. You can send me messages on this platform, and you can turn in assignments under the assignments section.

Medium (medium.com): This is the platform that you will be using to turn in your final drafts and your out-of-class medium posts and out-of-class comments. At the beginning of the semester, you will create an account (if you don't already have one). Also, I have so many students ask (for whatever reason) how I will know if they have done the posts and comments assignment. Don’t worry about me finding you. I have you turn in your assignments as links, so it’s rather easy to find them (I just need to click). I would also recommend getting to know the platform and how it works: "Welcome to Medium."

Style: Since all of your final assignments will be turned in on medium, I want to mention that you should adopt the style, the documentation and the citation practices of the platform. In all other ways you should default to the Chicago Manual of Style (chicagomanualofstyle.org). In other words, please, whatever you do, don’t make your assignments on Medium look like assignments for a class. Don't title them "Best Piece of Writing" or "Rhetorical Analysis." Those are bad titles in any place, and people won't read your articles if you title them like that (and don't worry about me knowing which assignment is which; if you turn them in on canvas in the right way, then I will know exactly which assignment it is). Also, I would recommend looking into unsplash.com; it’s a great resource for free high-resolution photos that you can use in your Medium posts and major assignments.

Audience: There are a lot of things that I can’t teach you, only because these learning experiences come by way of sociality and serendipity. In order to encourage pedagogical serendipity, I want you to create an audience on Medium. I want you to write everything you write to that audience, or at least try to find them as you write. An audience is not a given, you have to imagine it and then do what you can to appeal to it.

Syllabus: I have many students ask me questions that are on the syllabus. If you ask a question that can be answered by reading the syllabus, then I will likely ask you if you read the syllabus or point you to the section that has your answer. I know it’s a big syllabus, which is why I recommend using the search function on your given device; each device is different, but every mainstream browser has the function built in (e.g. on Mac you can press cmd + f, or in Safari for iOS you can tap the share sheet and scroll over to the "Find on Page" option).


Reading: Do the reading for my class before you do the reading for any other classes (every college professor says this, or at least wants to say this, by the way). I recognize that reading for a class is difficult, so let me tell you my thoughts on why I encourage you to do the reading before each class (and why I ultimately assign these readings). They are there to help prepare you for the discussions. If you don’t do the reading, then the conversations in class won’t benefit you in the same way, or, at the very least, you won’t have an example or text to draw from or base our theoretical discussions on. The readings from the mindful writing book are intended as supplemental reading, but I do hope that what you learn and take from these readings will add to your ability to participate in the discussions, and add to your curiosity toward investigating the variety of terms and ideas we visit throughout the semester.

Print Reading:
Mindful Writing fourth edition by Brian Jackson

Digital Reading:

Referential Reading:
Structure, Sign and Play by Jacque Derrida
Beowulf by …
A Sign in Space by Italo Calvino
The World of Wrestling by Roland Barthes
The Typography of Stranger Things by Sarah Gless
The Good, Racist People by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.
Why I Am Teaching a Course Called "Wasting Time on the Internet" by Kenneth Goldsmith
Why Were Confederate Monuments Built? by Miles Park
The Philosophy of Bill Murray by Wisecrack
Joyas Voladoras by Brian Doyle
Leap by Brian Doyle
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
A Walk in the Pink Moccasins by Carol Lynn Pearson
A Plea for Captain John Brown by Henry David Throreau
Resistance to Civil Government by Henry David Throreau
Let Justice Roll Down by Martin Luther King Jr.
White Debt by Eula Biss
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Objectified by Gary Hustwit
Popcorn Explosion by Mr. Paint
Juice and Bike by Mr. Paint
The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes
“I Spent a Month Reading Print News” by … (nytimes)
Xenotext by Christian Bök
Pierre Menard by Jorge Luis Borges
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Roland Barthes
Postmodern Essay Generator by …
Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein

Visual Reading:
The Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte
One and Three Chairs by Joseph Kosuth
From “DRIFT” by Caroline Bergvall
Cremation Project by John Baldesari
Fur-Lined Teacup by …
Obey by Shepherd Fairey 
The Artist Is Present by Marina Abramovic
The Fountain by Marcel Duchamp
The Next Rembrandt by …
Untitled (Chalkboard) by Cy Twombly
Chair by David Hockney chair

Student Hall of Fame:
How to Make Your Instagram Foodie Post Stand out among the Rest by Rebecca Lyman (Rhetorical Analysis)
Why You Should Sing in Public by Evan Bird (Opinion Editorial)
Time to Execute the Death Penalty by C.S. Hoggan (Issues Paper)
Hawaiian Sovreignty 101 by Cameron Pagador (Issues Paper)


Assignments: All of the major assignments are required: Rhetorical Analysis, Opinion Editorial, Issue Paper, Multimodal Project and the Final Writing Reflection. If you don’t complete them, then the department requires me to automatically fail you; just a heads up.

Deadlines: I’m not going to deduct points if you turn in things late. In other words, there are only suggested deadlines, but there are no hard deadlines (but you should convince yourself that there actually are deadlines, and if you can’t do that then tell yourself there are “deadlines” (but then learn how to treat things in scare-quotes seriously (I don’t care how you learn how to believe things (actually, no, i’m fascinated by that)))), and you can turn assignments in whenever you like. But there is such a thing as assignments stacking up so much that you never recover and ultimately fail the class because you've left yourself with too much to chew on and too little time to swallow or digest (let alone write). And since there are no deadlines, there are, I suppose, no lifelines either (you can turn in an assignment early (though why get ahead of the lectures unless you plan on implementing what you learn after the fact (in which case i personally wouldn't do it early)). In other words, if you do something early, you will miss out on the opportunity to implement what you are learning in class. I have a schedule with suggested deadlines. If you stick to those suggested deadlines, then you will do great. If you don't, then I don't know how you will do. But, again, the core assignments must be completed or I have to fail you.

Submissions: All your assignments will be submitted on Canvas. When you click on an assignment you will be given two options: one, paste some text; or, two, submit a link. If it asks you to submit a link, this will be a link to your Medium account or one of your Medium articles. The assignment descriptions on this syllabus (below) should make it clear on how to submit the assignment. If you submit any assignments in the wrong way, then I will ask you to revise and resubmit the assignment.

Feedback: As the semester comes to a close, I am buried in papers, and suddenly everyone wants feedback on all of their papers all at once. This is one unfortunate setback to how I’ve set up the class, and so I say that I will give limited feedback during the last section of the class (i.e. I probably won’t give you feedback during the last section of the semester at all). If you want feedback on papers, do them earlier rather than later.

Drafts: I give you points for doing drafting for the five main assignments. You may not be used to this approach (most students binge write (I know, mostly, because that’s what I did as an undergraduate, and because students always make that confession at the end of the semester)), but I want you to try drafting out. Again, if you can convince me that you don’t need to do this, or that you know better, or have found a better way, then please dialogue with me. I am open to better suggestions, and if you happen to find a better way to structure the course, then I will completely re-structure my course, because I want to do what is best for students of writing. Also, I don't give comments on drafts unless you ask me specific questions. If you don’t understand the paper, you have no one to blame but yourself, only because I give my students ample lectures and many opportunities to ask questions (at the beginning of every class period), and if you miss class and neglect to ask questions, then there is not much I can do to help you.  

Grading: Please write for people, not for a grade. I will try to grade you as best as I can (yes, grading is subjective, but most things are (I honestly have yet to meet someone who successfully leaves the body into a true objective essence that pervades the universe, but if you know, personally, anyone like this, then please let me know). I’ll just say this: I am more concerned with your effort than your performance (though performance necessarily seems to be a part of performance). If you come to class, participate, practice what we discuss, and work hard on your final papers, then you will do great in the class. Also, I sort of despise people who care more about their grades than they do their learning (although I understand how our school system encourages this kind of mentality). You will get a better grade in my class if you focus on learning and improving your writing skills. That's what you are paying for, and it is rather odd that I have to train people to get what they are paying for. Also, if you feel that you were given an unfair grade, then you are always welcome to challenge the grade in an academic manner (or explain yourself, or tell me why you believe that I gave the wrong grade). To be clear, I give you the option of doing this in order to enter into an academic conversation with me, not as a means to allow for fighting or responding with ire. 

Grades: If you ask me what your grade is, I will just point you to Canvas where all your grades are. If there are grades missing, then I haven't graded them, and I can't tell you what your grade is on assignments I haven't yet graded. My assignments all add up to a thousand points, nothing is weighted, there are no curve balls, so I've made the math simple for you (and me).

Texts, Topics, Media and Substrates: Over the years of teaching this course, I have come to realize that students have difficulty in believing me when I say they can pick their own texts, topics, media and substrates for the respective major assignments. I really mean it (and I honestly enjoy the risk-takers; I reward those who take thoughtful and intentional risks). If you want to write a Rhetorical Analysis on mountains (mountains as “text”), by all means, please. If you want to write on permaculture (permaculture as “topic”), then you can. If you want to make street art for your multimodal project (spray-paint as media and wall as substrate), then you certainly can take that risk (but I’m not condoning doing anything illegal (but I do condone an opinion editorial ripping into the discrepancies between legality and morality)). In the first few days of the course, we will talk about literacy, language, etc. These discussions will help you expand your view of what “texts,” “topics,” “media” and “substrates” are. I would encourage you to picks “texts” that will benefit you, and ones that you want to gain literacy in. For example, if you are a finance major, then I would recommend picking finance “texts.” If you are studying microbiomes, then pick “texts” that are or have to do with microbiomes. These assignments are not only there to teach you the basic principles of rhetoric and writing, but can also benefit you by teaching you the basic principles of rhetoric and writing within your own chosen field. I will caution against getting too abstract with the idea of “texts” in this class, only because the base assumption I have of students in this class is that they are beginning. Again, you can take the idea of “texts” to their limits, but there are reasons that only the most seasoned poets peer over the ledges, bushes or buildings.


Best Writing / 25 points / any word count / posted on Medium then submitted on Canvas / Find the best piece of writing that you have, post it on Medium, and then submit the link to the article on Canvas. Don’t post it to Medium with the title “My Best Piece of Writing;” that is a boring title, and no one will read it (also, consider adding pictures to your articles; that will up your chances of getting readers (or so i hear)). I don’t care what it is, or how long it is, just as long as it contains language and you genuinely feel that it is your best piece of writing (so, yes, it can be a poem if you so choose). The only thing I don’t want from this assignment is for it to look like a school assignment. Try to make it look as much like a Medium article as you can. If you "have" nothing, then you need to write something as best as you can and then claim that as the best writing that you have. A note on the pedagogical reasons for this assignment: this is a diagnostic piece of writing that you and I will use to know what you're best is in order to help you become better than your best. I suppose you could cheat yourself by sending me something of lesser quality, but why would you want to cut your education short like that?

In-Class Freewrites / 100 points / any word count / messaged on canvas / At the beginning of class, you will write non-stop for a few minutes. There are two rules for this assignment. First, put the subject of the Canvas message as "freewrite" or "free write.” Please put this as the subject so I don’t confuse these with other messages you might be sending me. The second rule is “dont’ stop writing.” If you can’t think of anything to type besides “Taco Bell,” then just write that over and over again. And if you can’t even think of words, then just bang on the keyboard until you can think of words. Please don’t send me freewrites for days that you are not present, I will just delete them. These freewrites are important as an opportunity for play and experimentation. I want you to be as playful and experimental and crazy as you can get with language. Try misspelling everything. Try thinking faster than you are typing. Try typing with your elbows, etc., etc., etc.

Out-of-Class Posts on Medium / 100 points / 250 words minimum / posted on Medium and submitted on Canvas / The way to submit this assignment is rather simple: copy the link to your Medium account and paste it in the respective assignment on Canvas. As far as accomplishing or doing the assignment, that will take a little more work. Before each class (or whenever you like, since there are only suggested deadlines) you should write an original Medium post. You can write on whatever you like. I would recommend writing on something that you are interested or something associated with your major, but you can write on anything you like. These posts are a good opportunity for you to practice and implement what you are learning in class. I have added numbers on the schedule (at the suggestion of a student) to help you know how to pace yourself. Again, there is no such thing as late work, but I advise against letting these stack up (which students inevitably do, and one student found out and told me there is a limit to how many you can post in a day, so keep that in mind as well). If you think that these are busywork, then don’t do them. Instead, I want you to write to me why they are busywork and why you shouldn’t do them. If you convince me of this, then I won’t require you to do them.

Out-of-Class Comments on Medium / 100 points / 100 words minimum / posted on Medium / The way to submit this assignment is rather simple: copy the link to your Medium account and paste it in the respective assignment on Canvas. As far as accomplishing or doing the assignment, before each class you should write a comment on a Medium article you have picked. There are a wide variety of topics (really, try typing in anything on Medium, and I bet you will find it (and if you don’t find it, well, then you have found something that needs to be written; so write it)). Try to write a meaningful comment instead of trying to write the most vanilla comment that adds nothing to the conversation. Try to add to the conversation. Try to take the good from the article and take it a little further. Try to be constructive and critical. I promise you that this is not busywork. I have been studying and teaching writing for a few years now; and if you will do this, then I promise it will surprise you (especially when someone messages you back after commenting on their article (and isn’t that scary and gratifying (and, oh, yeah, that’s what writing should be like and should have been like all along (funny how asking students to write in a world of people will help them realize how evocative and exciting the whole thing can be)))).

Freewrite Draft / 10 points each unit (50 points total) / about 250 words minimum / submitted on Canvas / These are very loose ideas written down. I don't care what they say, how they are formatted, whether they are coherent, or really much of anything other than being evidence that you are actively thinking about your paper or project ahead of time. Think of this as something like brainstorming or jumping in the cold waters of the page. They should be typed. In terms of grading, I’m mostly looking to see if you have met the word count.

Rough Draft / 10 points each unit (50 points total) / half the word count of the final draft / submitted on Canvas / This should be the essay half finished. That can be half the word count or half the structure worked out, or half of anything, but it should have a steady amount of work done. In terms of grading, I look to see if the essay is in the right ball field, if its headed, generally, in the right direction.

Formal Draft / 10 points each unit (50 points total) / full word count of the final draft / submitted on Canvas / At this point in the writing process, the essay should have all the parts but maybe not the polish. It should be mostly done, almost done, but not fully done. It should be ready to show people, or maybe at this stage you might take it to the Writing Center. In terms of grading, I am looking to see if all the pieces are there and make sure it’s taking on a developed structure.

Final Draft / 100 points each unit / full word count of respective assignment / posted on Medium then submitted on Canvas / When your draft is finished, post it to Medium, and then submit the link on Canvas. At this point, you should consider the essay finished (although I don't think anything could ever be finished (just ask Walt Whitman about his Leaves of Grass)). As far as grading goes, I am looking that you have put an appropriate amount of effort into the writing, that you have implemented the concepts and practices from the in-class discussions, and that you have followed the directions outlined in the respective assignment descriptions (which you will see below).

Rhetorical Analysis / 100 points / 1000 words minimum / posted on Medium then submitted on Canvas / The purpose of a rhetorical analysis is to analyze the rhetoric of a text. The first thing you will want to do is to select a text (see “Texts, Topics, Media and Substrates” on how to pick a text). Once you have selected a text, you will want to identify the rhetoric being used in that piece. After you have identified the various rhetorical strategies, you will want to analyze them. We will talk at length on what rhetoric is and how to identify and analyze it. Another way to approach this assignment is to explain how you and the intended audience felt persuaded, or how the author/creator accomplished or produced the experience of persuasion (emphasis on the word how). Do not engage with the argument. You are not engaging with their ideas, but their method to expressing those ideas. Focus on their use of genre, context, text, subtext, rhetorical strategies, assumptions, audience awareness, logos, ethos, pathos, kairos, etc. Keep in mind that analysis is the ability to unpack a concept, to extrapolate commonly felt meanings from a concept or representation of an idea. The “I” you are writing from is a wide I; you’re speaking from the perspective of the audience, for the audience, to the audience. Summary is a necessary part of analysis, only because it conveys details in a reduced form and sets the stage for the analysis to take place; but if you don’t unpack the ideas, and if you only glance off the top of a lot of rhetorical techniques (as opposed to a selecting a few and really going deep), then you’ll inevitably be summarizing. What you’re trying to do is to make more obvious the seemingly obvious; yes, I cried while reading this, but why; no, it didn’t make sense to me, but why not; yes, he has a lot of respect in such and such community, but why didn’t I trust what he was saying; etc. Another way of thinking about this is to attempt to answer this question by the time you reach your conclusion: “what, exactly, does the author want from the reader, want the reader to do, or feel, or think, or be?” Avoid being too oblique by basically saying, “see, see how rhetorical that was?” I want you to assume I am incapable of being persuaded unless you explain to me exactly how it could be (or is) persuasive. I am asking you to do the cardinal sin of jokes: explain why the joke is funny, or, more accurately, explain to me why I am crying, why I am nodding my head in agreement, why I would now (upon reading this) follow this person to the ends of the earth. One insight into how I grade: I hardly ever read the quotes you include (hardly), mostly because I am focusing on how you pick apart (or analyze) that quote; but I will look for quotes, to see and make sure you are making claims off of actual source material. One other thing to keep in mind is to outline the intended audience from the outset. Determining the audience will set the stage for how you go about analyzing the rhetorical techniques’ impact on that given audience. Another way to think about this assignment: your Rhetorical Analysis should describe the relationship between the author and their audience, and describe how the author is trying to (and either succeeding or failing) at changing or persuading the audience. 

opinion editorial / 1500 words minimum / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / i don't want to hear that you have no opinions, because it simply is not true. none of you live like bartleby the scrivener (see hemingway), so i won't believe it. tony hoagland said,  “if you have nothing to say, it is because your heart is closed" and i believe that. an opinion editorial is a published stance. you are going to need to make a judgement, take a stance, have an opinion. then you are going to write it in such a way that it is publishable in the newspaper or a magazine (thus the term "editorial"). the purpose of this section is to focus on your writing style, to develop a writing style, to have style with your voice and arguments. this is where you apply (and i really do mean the word apply) the rhetorical principles we learned and discussed in the rhetorical analysis section. now you are not analyzing it, you are applying it (although, you can analyze the rhetoric of the subject you are writing your opinion on, but that may be reading too deep into the water). You are not writing a novel, or a poem, or anything that you would find in a book. this is pulp writing, writing that is written in the current moment, and for the current moment. it is meant to be read on the day that it matters, and if you write one well enough, then people may read it after that day as well, because good writing seems to stick around. that's what i call resonance. op-ed: i look for you, an individual voice. i look to see that you have a developed style. i look for (not someone else’s, but your) your use of rhetoric: your ethos, your pathos, your logos. 

annotated bibliography / 5 sources minimum / 25 points / submitted on canvas / the annotated bibliography is a collection of sources that you comment on. this piece is in preparation to your issues paper (but you won't put it in your issues paper (although you may put the sources in there). you should have already selected a topic for your issues paper before starting on this, afterwhich you will find five sources that are in dialogue with your ideas on your chosen topic. these sources should not speak for you, but you should be using them as a point of discourse or dialogue. let me repeat, do not use these to speak for you; instead, use them as starting points to build off of. the purpose of this section (the issues paper) is to discourse, not sound off to yourself in your own echo chamber. so, next to each of these sources you should write a healthy paragraph that includes the ideas from the source that are pertinent to your paper, as well as your response to those ideas. in other words, a summary and an opinion in response to the source. before this section you will want to complete the library modules found at this place here. don’t put your annotated bibliography on medium. make sure that your annotated bibliography is done in m.l.a. style. owl.purdue.edu has a good online source to help you implement m.l.a. style. (remember to remove any mention of a rough draft).

issues paper / 2000 words minimum / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / the issues paper is a longform article that combines the strategies in the rhetorical analysis and the opinion editorial (as well, as, I suppose, the short-lived annotated bibliography). you will want to write an analysis on the issue and on the rhetoric surrounding it, attempting to strip down the issue to its core problems, and attempting to explain how it is an issue. again, the focus of this section is to practice discourse, to research, to recognize the communities involved in the discussion and to build on ideas rather than just say "i am right because other people have said the same thing i am saying". you will offer a publishable opinion, making stances, offering options and suggesting solutions. if you believe life and its constituents are in a state of perfection, then i would like to understand how you have come to that conclusion (because i as much as i want to believe that, life has constantly suggested many alternatives), if you don't believe so, then you will have many discourse communities to engage in. the issues paper should include at least five sources used throughout. if you ask what style you should use for this essay, then i am likely to respond with a suggestion to use MLA style (but what, say you, would i say if you don't ask). you write an argument, not to make a point, but to invite criticism of your ideas, and thus be offered new information and this new learning. if you are worried that you will be criticized, then you are doing well because criticism is what you should be seeking. if you write to protect yourself, you may need to revisit your purpose of writing. writing is not the act of protecting oneself.

multimodal project / 5 minutes minimum / posted on medium then submitted on canvas / the multimodal project is a work that includes more than one medium of expression, though (since this is a writing class) you should favor language as one of those media (and i will accept a very loose understanding of the word language here (and if you are paying attention throughout the semester, then you will likely be ready and willing to be loose and challenge the idea of "language"). i could make suggestions here on the various kinds of media that are available to you to use (hint: all of them), but i find that students are often reactive (which is a softer way of saying uncreative) and will cherry-pick from the list, rather than give it sincere thought. feel free to really push the boundaries of expression here. if you are communicating, then you are doing the assignment right. you are not allowed to write an essay. that is the one thing you cannot do. this project should function in much the same way as the issues paper, only you are not limited to just the use of language only. instead of five sources, you will include five similar projects, and trust me, none of you are at the level of innovation to discover a project that hasn't been done before (and you may take that as a challenge (but really, i've been trying to do it for a while, and i still feel that this is very far off). you will also include a 500 word analysis of the media that you use for expression (media is the plural for medium). you should analyze the media (and probably the substrate too (but we'll talk more about that as the semester progresses) by speaking to why the project benefits specifically from the chosen media, and why the project would falter in its expressive potency were you to express it in any other medium. in other words, you'll need to explain how the medium enhances your argument. you will present or perform your multimodal project for the class. these presentations/performances should be between five and seven minutes long. the multimodal accompaniment essay should not be a rhetorical analysis. it should be a materialities analysis: an analysis of the substrates and media used and their rhetorical impact. i don’t want you to explain the thing, i want you to explain not what it is, but why it is the way it is. if you are playing a guitar, tell me how the guitar has lungs and vocal chords and that’s why people so often song with a guitar. examine the instruments and tools you use. one you are going to make a project. two you are going to find five other people's projects that are like yours. three you are going to write an analysis of the medium of your project. multimodal: the drafts should be for the defense, not the project itself. also, i know students are able to submit photos and videos, but now we don’t need to worry about that because they are just posting the defense. also, get rid of the five examples thing on the multimodal (or write it better, everyone is still confused). call the multi-modal 500 word thing a defense (and then maybe develop some lessons on defending a stance. defense: there were a wide variety of choices i could have made and i am defending these intentional choices that i have made. clarify that the multimodal (in the assignment description) project doesn’t need to be on medium. 

final reflection / 1000 words minimum / submitted on canvas / your final writing portfolio is the link to your medium account. you should add all the writings you want me to see there on your medium account. you will print out and give me the only paper that you give me in the class and that is a reflection on your writing. you must come to the final and turn in this physical piece of paper on the day of the final. i won't accept them early, and i won't accept them from a person who is not you. the final portfolio is your last chance to make changes to your major projects. i will grade the final portfolio based on your ability to implement everything we learned throughout the semester. i also want you to write 1000 words (to accompany your portfolio) on what you learned this semester, and how you are a different writer. i want you to be as personal and real in this essay as you can be (avoid being formal in any sense of the word), but I do want you to be in-depth and employ the strategies you have learned throughout the semester. this paper and portfolio is where you can prove how much you have really learned throughout the semester. add to the final reflection assignment the requirement to reflect on medium posts, claps and comments, what was that experience like, did you get claps, why, why not, etc. fix the final stuff (everyone was confused)make sure you post the medium link. i have so many students post using other methods and i will fail the paper until you turn it in the right way. it’s really easy: publish the piece on medium, take the link of the published piece, and then paste it in canvas. voilá. don’t just tell me what happened; tell me how it changed you. 


schedule: the schedule is rather simple: you have reading and responding assignments due before class each day, and you have a sequence of topics and subjects that will help you work toward completing the major assignments. also, as time continues to amalgamate, and i continue to enable its amalgamation by continually writing (adding to this syllabus), i am realizing that there is no way we will be able to talk about all the things that i would like to talk to you about; at which point i lose all hopelessness and faithfully attempt to teach you what i can. having said this, i want to assure you that the best way for these days to proceed is by your participation, for i cannot perceive what you do and do not know, which is why i want you to let me know so i can tailor the lessons according to your needs. if you (and i mean all of you) do not let me know what those needs are, then i will have to do that thing we humans have come to call assuming, and i really hate doing that (though i understand that life is just one large assumption, and i don’t want to infer that i hate life, i just prefer, when it comes to other disoriented humans, to know what your particular disorientation is, so i can attempt to orient or oxident my fellows).

workshops: there will be days in which the class will magically, by the power of my voice and authority, change from a lecture hall into a workshop. on these days i expect you to be there so i can watch you closely as you work and prod you with questions and hopefully arouse some sort of courage (or fear (whichever is more useful)) in you. (does this all sound like a rather miserable experience) i’ve been known to cause students to pursue their wildest dreams and confront some of their greatest fears and setbacks in life. i sometimes can’t help but see writers’ blocks as life blocks. but these days are also useful for the fact that there will be a whole class engaged in their writing projects, and i can’t iterate to you how vital and helpful these days are, if only you get to talk to another student who is struggling with the same thing you are (commiseration is sometimes the hot-bed of collaboration and innovation).

day one / january 8 / intro to class
due / book purchased / syllabus read /
class / freewrite / introduce people / discuss syllabus / explain platforms / where are you now with writing? / what are your desires for writing / what do you hate about writing? / what are your fears with writing and this class? / the importance of a spirit of inquiry / what is your question to life? / writing as inevitably subjective / writing as expression / breaking the rules of writing / 

day two / january 10 / intro to writing
due / mindful writing preface read / structure sign and play by jacque derrida first three pages read / a sign in space by italo calvino read / medium account created / medium post written (1) / medium comment written (1) / best thing you've ever written posted on medium then submitted on canvas /
class / freewrite / discuss: how do you understand the syllabus / language and literacy / what exactly is language / are you literate? / IRL vs. AFK / language as representative / language as sign / ideal vs. real / the death of the author / idea spectrum from abstract to specific / ideas as metaphysical / language as access / eidolon and image / all words are images / literacy and phenomenology / hermeneutics and the complications of interpretations / the trouble with literacy / can you undo your literacy (i.e. tabula rasa) / is there a wrong way to read something / performed vs. authentic literacy / why literate, or why participate in the project of literacy / literacy vs. fluency / what the purpose of literacy: our experience of reading (i.e. living) changes as our literacy (i.e. experiencing) increases / greater literacy leads to greater hermeneutical complexity, leading to greater experience / what are other ways to “read” a text other than making “sense” of it / when did you learn the word love and learn how to use it / doesn’t the thinking without language become a language / peer discussion: take some time with a partner and invent a word / are complex thoughts only had by language (and not other capacities of the human faculties) / words (language) are bodies for ideas / if words are the body, then what do words give body to / literacy is not knowing all the words, it’s knowing how to know all the words / the ability to “read” the world is the ability to experience the world / how has literacy changed over time (e.g. beowulf in the original old english) / what use is literacy if it is not shared / radical literacy: taking literacy to its limitations / language is claimed & language as claiming / why claim language, why fight over terms / language and identity / self-sustained literacy / meta-literacy / can you undo your literacy / what is reading if there is no understanding / what is illiteracy /

day three / january 15 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 15 (examples one and two) read / the world of wrestling by roland barthes read / the typography of stranger things read / medium post written (2) / medium comment written (2) / freewrite draft assignment description read / rhetorical analysis assignment description read /
class / freewrite / discuss: how do you understand the rhetorical analysis assignment / introduce rhetorical analysis assignment / perform a rhetorical analysis for the class / what is rhetoric / what is analysis / is a wave rhetorical? / rhetoric is trying to control how people interpret things / analysis as understanding, as looking, as dividing, as connecting, as inquiry to the “truth” underneath the thing, as the joy of discovery, as observing, as interpreting, as critique, as perspective, as taking things beyond themselves / what do you analyze in your personal life / analysis as not reducing, not stereotyping, not assuming / rhetorical analysis as rhetor’s relationship with audience / rhetorical analysis as not summary, not engaging with the opinion / rhetoric as persuasion of the mind / rhetoric as not biological, not physical coercion / what are you persuaded by? / why are you persuaded / what are you disuaded by / why are you disuaded / can you write or speak without being rhetorical / can you write or speak without an audience / rhetoric and self-persuasion (how you use rhetoric to persuade yourself / do we lose our identity when we are persuaded, when rhetoric works / what are the ethics of rhetoric / rhetoric and manipulation vs. motivation / is rhetoric deceitful / can you be persuaded if you don’t perceive the rhetoric / why is it important to develop the ability to perceive and analyze rhetoric / rhetorical attempts and failures / biological rhetoric (raspberries particularly developed to be eaten by birds who will fly and spread the seeds) / rhetoric as poking/provoking/referencing/inciting the things already in us, the things we identify with / analysis as infinitely cross-sectioning a thing / is there a “correct” way to analyze something / what is a “perfect” analysis / analysis vs. myopia / analysis as assumption that there is more … / juxtaposing (identity by negation) as method of analysis / analysis: you could spend the rest of your life studying a single piece of paper / analysis of totality (e.g. radical humility before you use a pencil you must thank everything that allowed that pencil to be and be here now) / why do we analyze / analysis as a method of gaining power over something / analysis as a form of gratitude to the existence of a thing / the great wave off kanagawa is a rhetorical wave / taking away rhetoric from text would be like trying to take the dance away from the dancer / could a person with perfect rhetoric convince everyone all the time, or are there limitations to rhetoric, and if so, what are those limitations /

day four / january 17 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 15 (examples three and four) read / i have a dream by martin luther king jr. read / good racist people by ta-nehisis coates read / medium post written (3) / medium comment written (3) / text for rhetorical analysis selected / rhetorical analysis freewrite draft submitted on canvas /
class / freewrite / ethos / the "i" / ethos as representative (image) of ethics / what values does an ethos represent / "dad makes fun of his son for looking like marilyn manson" / ethos as character or personality / what are the persuasive elements of an ethos / ethos as appeal to values within an audience / ethos as awareness that you are being perceived / ethos as fashion or style / ethos and credibility / how to render ethos in writing / style as a vehicle for values / ethos as culture / ethos as belief / ethos and authenticity / ethos doesn't occur in isolation / ethos as social appeal / ethos as negotiation between the "i" and the "we" / ethos seen in how various poets read their own poems: allen ginsberg, t.s. eliot, charles bukowski, ocean vuong, anne sexton, steve roggenbuck, mark baumer / with what do you sense someone’s ethos / what are the ethics of ethos / ethos and cultural appropriation / peer discussion: talk about someone you hold in esteem / how do you come to trust an ethos / ethos as signaling to audience you hold the same values, belief, culture / ethos as finding a commonality / how does anti-ethos or ironic ethos work (e.g. a modest proposal by jonathan swift / ethos and commonality / ethos and irony / are you a “good judge of character” (good judge of ethos) / ethos and reciprocated values / giving people the “benefit of the doubt” / ethos and character / ethos and caricatures / why is someone’s character persuasive / discuss: who do you trust and why / can you accurately assess your own character / the danger of ethos: exhibited character is not always actual character / discuss: are you a “good judge of character,” and what do you use to judge others’ character / “like a girl” commercial by always (as a rhetorical analysis of the ethos of “girl”) / ethos and emulation / ethos as social association / smoking ads from 50’s with doctors recommending cigarettes / ethos and association (is your character/values determined by those you spend time with) / ethos and credibility (and types of credibility) / “don’t judge a book by its cover” / ethos: values, morals, beliefs, customs, reputation, attitude, character, etc. / ethos / t.s. eliot reading the love song of j alfred prufrock / allen ginsberg reads a supermarket in california / mark baumer on reality beach / steve roggenbuck an internet bard at last / wikipedia ethos / coca-cola why we care about water / google search smoking ads from the 1950s / always #likeagirl / ethos and archetype / ethos and stereotype / perceived values vs. exhibited values (is there a difference) / discuss: make a list of values / what are the values of a place (ethos of america, etc.) /

day five / january 22 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 1 and 2 read / why i'm teaching a course called "wasting time on the internet" by kenneth goldsmith read / medium post written (4) / medium comment written (4) / rhetorical analysis rough draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / workshop day / logos / what is logic and what is logical / how to persuade with logic / logic as reasoning, and reasoning as various / what are the various approaches or structures in a logical sense / logos as assumption, as sequence and order, as ... / premises and syllogisms / false syllogism dog / one plus two equals four (numbers as epistemai, operations as reasoning) / fallacy can be in the epistemai or the reasoning / does everything has logos / is a sunset logical / numbers as a language (with the same complications as all language) / how 1.999… = 2 / "alternative facts" / logic and tautology (i.e. circular reasoning / how do we render logos in writing / what is a "fact" / is it possible to make sense of the world / radical logic as rendering the entire world simultaneously (e.g. pixar rendering machines) / logic as only possible through assumption or metaphor (and metaphor as an indirect dealing with the world) / logic as only intially possible by reducing or translating the world into “workable” epistemai or “knowable parts” (the world is not meant to be entirely filtered by the human brain, or how can we believe that the human brain is even capable let alone trustworthy in doing so) / logic as incapable of dealing directly with the world / logic and the heisenberg uncertainty principle / logic as -isms / logic working with respective but irreconcilable systems (e.g. newtonian physics vs. quantum physics, or algebra vs. calculus) / flat earthers / logic and the insane / logic and common sense / attempts to become more literate in logi / why or how to privelege one logic over another / logic and radical individuality / how do you settle on your own pattern of thinking (i.e. logos) / how are logi changed / is a fact still a “fact” when it is spun (and can facts be without spin) / epistemai as variants and reasoning as operants (i.e. what we work with and how we work with them) / what is logic used for (truth?) / what do you do with “truth” / is it true if its not whole / how do we identify fallacies / can you tell a complete and utter lie (something with absolutely no truth to it) / how do we arrive at different conclusions with the same set of information / can you appeal to multiple logics simultaneously / peer discussion: create some false syllogisms or logical fallacies / literacy in logi or -isms / logic as translating the world into agreeable terms / deception as a misunderstanding between logics / logos / list of logical fallacies on wikipedia /  logic has epistemes (like numbers) and operants (like the multiplications and addition symbols (that define the relationships between the epistemes (or facts))) / what are human facts to a sparrow / is beauty logical / is a sunset logical / if logic is common, then why do various people come to different conclusions / logic as taught or learned structuring of the world / logic as a supplied structure we bring to what we do not comprehend /

day six / january 24 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 3 read / why were confederate monuments built? by miles parks read / medium post written (5) / medium comment written (5) / rhetorical analysis formal draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / workshop day / pathos / pathos as emotional persuasion / emotional truths / humor or jokes as pathos / volksgeist and zeitgeist / laughing as evidence of emotional persuasion (or pathos) / pathos as appealing to emotions already existing in audience / tone as attitude toward audience / stance as attitude toward subject / tone vs. stance / emotion as expression / what is emotion / sympathy / empathy / pathetic / nostalgia or emotion and time / emotional resonance / comedy and pathos (visceral, laughter) / emotional literacy / words carry emotional weight / emotional truth vs. factual truth (memoir) / evocation vs. provocation (evoke as familiar emotion vs. provoke as unfamiliar emotion) / emotions as relative (how do we recover emotion from relativity) / with what do we emotionally feel the world / “raw emotion” / emotional charged words and words with lack of emotional charge / how do you “create” emotion / are apples emotions (peachy) / empathy vs. apathy / narratives as emotional structures / the heart as the antennae for emotion / squirrel problem by zachary schomburg / i.q. vs. e.q. / how many emotions are there / how many emotions have we not yet discovered / emotion as associative / advertising as brands’ methods to emotionally charge their products / emotion and trolling / emotion and stimuli / permanent emotions vs. ephemeral emotions / evidences of emotional persuasion: laughing, crying, gasping, smiling, etc. / emotional capability (actors and actresses) / how emotionally capable is your language and/or writing / individual vs. communal emotion / emotions as relative vs. emotions as consistent (-most- people laughed) /

day seven / january 29 / rhetorical analysis and reading
due / mindful writing chapter 4 read / "the philosophy of bill murray" by wisecrack watched / medium post written (6) / medium comment writtin (6) / youtube (not medium) comment written (find your own appropriate word limit) / rhetorical analysis final draft posted on medium then submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / reflect on rhetorical analysis / kairos / kairos as persuasion by awareness / kairos as appeal to place and time / people as things of time and place / kairos and appropriateness / kairos and situation / place as multifaceted / walk around campus and inspect the kairos of given contexts / should the weather change how you say things / kairos and quality time / kairos and weather / “political climate” / discuss: if you moved social media content between social platforms how would/should the content change / kairos and place / place determines audience and audience determines place / place and meaning / kairos and volksgeist / kairos and zeitgeist / kairos and temperament or spirit of people / opportune: what makes something “opportune” / discuss: what is the zeitgeist now / kairos as literacy in timeliness (wit) / kairos as literacy in place / should the weather change me (should a writing “climate” change my writing) / place afford different opportunities / place determines appropriateness, decorum, propriety, etc. / place is one layer to meaning / discuss: how can you be kairotic with your medium posts / kairos and circumstances / kairos and “asking mom/dad when she/he is in a good mood” / rhetorical velocity / opportune: why is it more powerful to talk about something in the moment / finding the right place vs. making the right place (creating opportunities) / finding the right time vs. making the right time (creating opportunities) / place and constraint / kairos and busking / anachronisms and anatopisms / kairos and digital place / discuss: where and when are you more likely to be persuaded / kairos and familiar places / kairos and trying to persuade someone to skydive while on the ground vs. while on the plane / text and context (i.e. with a text, place and time are always with a text) / place and possibilities / skateboarding as a reclamation of place (skateboarding as kairotic action) / place and jargon / kairos as persuasion by opportunity / kairos as persuasion by context / kairos and marriage proposal stories / kairos / wikepedia kairos / the meaning of july fourth for the negro by frederick douglass / MLK i have a dream speech in front of lincoln memorial / busking as kairotic awareness / google search 80s culture, 90s culture, etc. / skateboarding as kairotic de-construction / brutal architecture as conservation against re-kairoticizing / andy goldsworthy (environmentally kairotic) / spiral jetty (environmentally kairotic) / jean claude and christo / banksy (sundance) / context of text vs. context of author vs context of reader / how does context impact meaning / no text is an island / text impacts context and context impacts text /

day eight / january 31 / visit library day / HBLL 2232 (section 72) / HBLL 2231 (section 85)
due / medium post written (7) / medium comment written (7) /
class / (whatever the librarians have planned) 

day nine / february 5 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 13 (examples one and two) read / kairotic piece of graffiti created / medium essai on personal graffiti written (8) / medium comment written (8) / opinion editorial assignment description read /  
class / freewrite / discuss: how do you understand the opinion editorial assignment / introduce opinion editorial assignment / perform an opinion editorial for the class / medium post and writing therapy session (talk to your neighbor about what you write about and what they write about) / what is an opinion / opinion as a claim to truth / how do you select truths / why is truth a human desire / why do you feel the need for truth / opinions as an expression for a desire for truth / opinion is the social aspect of seeking truth / positivism vs. agnosticism / why make an opinion / do all opinions matter / opinions and free speech / is speech "free" / can an opinion be full or complete / can you have an opinion on facts / opinions and belief / opinions and assumptions / opinion and experience / what is fact / all experience filtered through the fallible body / why do we argue / when is something elevated to the station of fact / what allows you to form an opinion / opinion and naïveté / are all facts compatible / when does an opinion cease to matter to us / opinion and beauty / why form an opinion; why not just live the truth / opinion as placeholder for “truth” / opinion: polarity, perspective, judgement, belief, view, standpoint, position, stance, etc. / “i think” vs. “i feel” / how are opinions formed / can you form an opinion in a vacuum / opinion as evaluative / opinion as axiology not ontological / hard vs. soft opinions / when does an opinion become a fact / is it an opinion if no one disagrees with it / does it come down from fact when someone contests it / what opinion can and can’t we express: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/15/anita-sarkeesian-feminist-games-critic-cancels-talk / opinion / ivanka trump “complicit” / kellyanne conway “alternative facts” / opinion section of the new york times / mimetic opinion vs. developed opinion / what is a developed opinion / when was the first opinion expressed (and what was it) /

day ten / february 7 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 13 (examples three and four) read / joyas voladoras by brian doyle  read / leap by brian doyle read / medium post written (9) / medium comment written (9) / topic for opinion editorial selected / opinion editorial freewrite draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / style / what is style / how do you render style in writing / language is there for you, you are not there for language / style as beauty / beauty and truth / what is beauty / aesthete vs. athlete / writing style vs. style guides / writing style: attitude, voice, stance, tone, etc. / how are people creating a writing style if we are all using the same words / when you realize it is more than functional, style can begin to happen (clothes, language, etc.) / tools of style: sentence, paragraph, section, title, diction, grammar, syntax, pronouns, repetition, variety, etc. / style guides and waking dreams / style guides and waking dream / style guides and suspension of disbelief / style guides: MLA, APA, AP, Chicago, Turabian, in-house style guides, etc. / style guides as writing etiquette manuals / writing style as found by praising sentences / writing style as expressive vs. style guides as functional / the child that squirms as mom puts shirt on vs. the teenager who uses shirt as method of expression / discuss: what is your style (what is your writing style) / discuss: what are some praise-worthy sentences (what are your favorite quotes) / how do you personally apply rhetoric / style happens when you don’t see the rules as constraints but as foundations / discuss: invent a punctuation mark / departing from the rules should be intentional / style guides: uniformity allows for uninterrupted continuance / style guides and school uniforms / during the style section, teach whitman’s catalogues (lists, long lists of ideas) and then teach williams imagism, and teach d.f.wallace’s ability to go into depth on everything. (and then maybe teach gjnsberg’s passion?) / style / style guides / orphans and widows / wikipedia: list of style guides / writing style / new york times titles vs. buzzfeed titles / style / style guides are there about conforming to others rules / personal writing style is about making your own rules / following rules vs. making your own rules / voice: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_English_words_by_country_or_language_of_origin / voice as personality / what words do you personally tend to use a lot, what are your word habits / what words do you identify with / how do you find “your” voice / what is the “true” self / what is what is this “self” / you don’t grow a tree with an authentic egg / how long does it take to describe the self / discuss: describe yourself in detail to your neighbor / alternative lesson: aesthetics (or maybe just retitled this lesson as “aesthetics” / are there fashions in writing / do you want to be a fashionable writer / can you be stylistic in writing if you are not aware of the current fashions and trends / how complex or simple is your writing style / what is your thinking style / styles and aesthetics / sure a body can be stripped of clothes, but can a sentence be stripped of words /

day eleven / february 12 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 5 read / a walk in pink moccasins read / medium post written (10) / medium comment written (10) / opinion editorial rough draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / workshop day / argument / do we read opposing opinions / why do we look at the counter-argument / what is an argument / how is an argument constructed / argument as discussion / arguing as an attempt at empathy / argument vs. contention / argument as proactivity / argument as vivification of the self (horton hears a who) / what are the mores of arguing / argument as expression / why not just leave the world silent, why speak, why make a case for something, why make arguments / to be or not to be (the violence of argument) / what are the ethics of argument / what can we persuade people of, and what should we persuade people of / argument and vulnerability / argument as clarifying / argument: what’s at stake / argument as anti-erasure / argument: intention vs. contention / how are arguments defended / counter-argument vs. other-argument(s) / valid vs. invalid arguments / what to do with invalid arguments / argument / curb your flat earth / keeping things whole / standing for something / arguing as giving reason to something / to be or not to be (the inevitability of violence) / counterargument: is a view complete or can it be true if it walls off parts of reality / is it useful to argue with the self / valid vs. invalid arguments /

day twelve / february 14 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 6 read / consider the lobster by david foster wallace read / medium post written (11) / medium comment written (11) / opinion editorial formal draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / workshop day / structure and tropes / what are the inherent structures of writing / structure as a mode of style and expression / form follows function / how is language naturally structured / what are the possible structures for language / genre as a constraint of structure / "kurt vonnegut on the shape of stories" / what are the building blocks of writing that determine the structures of writing / poems for the illiterate / corbusier and form follows function / structure / poems for the illiterate / erasure poems / the humament / the enormous man by stephen tuttle / memento narrative structure / kurt vonnegut on the shape of stories / bullet in the brain by tobias wolff / magical realism bot / text and subtext / the letter format as being a structure, or the confessional, etc. / structure as interplay between text (explicit) and subtext (implict) / negation as structure / erasure as structure / tools of structure: italics, bold, font, size, sentence, paragraph, section, footnotes, etc. / write your own algorithms / redundancy vs. repetition / methods of structure or ordering: thesis, theme, aesthetic, style, etc. / for the architect, the subtext is how people use the building / rhetoric and structure (organized by pathos, or organized by logos, etc.) / how do the different methods of rhetoric (logos, ethos, pathos) lead to different structural forms / poems for the illiterate / writing constraints and structure (haiku, sonnet, pantoum, etc.) / how can constraints lead to different structures / what is the “perfect” structure / time as a way of organizing a story (bullet in the brain by tobias wolff or the mezzanine or a void by george perec) / writing as one-dimensional /

day thirteen / february 21 / opinion editorial and expression
due / mindful writing chapter 7 read / white debt by eula biss read / medium post written (12) / medium comment written (12) / opinion editorial final draft posted on medium then submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / reflect on opinion editorial / style / structure / argument / opinion /  grammar vs. syntax /

day fourteen / february 26 / annotated bibliography and seeking /
due / mindful writing chapter 16 (example one and two) read / medium post written (13) / medium comment written (13) / annotated bibliography assignment description read / issues paper assignment description read / library modules one thru five completed (here) / 
class / freewrite / introduce annotated bibliography assignment / introduce issues paper assignment perform annotating a source for the class / perform an issues paper for the class / discourse / abstract technologies / ideological technologies / discourse as negotiation over the construction of language / discourse as conversation of meanings / a short history of ideological technologies: romanticism, modernism, post-modernism, etc. / postmodernism has been gentrified / how to continue to innovate with ideological technologies / 

day fifteen / february 28 / visit library day / HBLL 2232 (section 72) / HBLL 2231 (section 85)
due / mindful writing chapter 16 (example three) read / medium post written (14) / medium comment written (14) / topic for issues paper selected / issues paper freewrite draft submitted on canvas /
class / library instruction day / bring your own laptops

day sixteen / march 5 / annotated bibliography and seeking
due / mindful writing chapter 16 (example four) read / medium post written (15) / medium comment written (15) / annotated bibliography submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / reflect on annotated bibliography / research / what is research / research as innovation of thought / research as a cornerstone for building not a confirmation of biases / research as mind-blowing / what is validity / was frederick douglass peer-reviewed / is using snapchat research / is all knowledge virtuous / is all knowledge valuable / how do you determine the "value" of knowledge / research and antithetical views / research and the necessity of archive / archive and memory / emotional research / logical research / research as a conscious act / is deception knowledge / what is the thingness of research / quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing / research to learn vs. research to back up bias / sources: source of what / why did we invent research / research as finding again / research as the genealogy of an idea / research and context / research and history / integrating research into your ideas and thoughts / what forms does information take / finding something in multiple places as a way of verifying it or “by the mouth of two or three shall my word be established” / creating original research vs. gathering existing research / original research vs. archives / long term research vs. short term research / academic research vs. street research / context of research as matching context of issue / is it possible to include no research in a paper / research as preparation for decision making / valid vs. invalid research / what are some nuanced forms of research / how far back into the genealogy of an idea do you go / personal experience, traveling, immersion, interview all as research / what are the limitations to certain types of research / street-search research / research as re-searching (finding again and again and again and again (gain by a-gaining)) / research and the constraint of time / how much research is too much research / research as exposure / biased vs. unbiased / how can biased research be useful / research and serendipity / you cannot read everything, so how do you find anything /

day seventeen / march 7 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 8 read / medium post written (16) / medium comment written (16) / 
class / freewrite / discuss: how do you understand the issues paper assignment / community / discourse communities / universities as examples of discourse communities / community as a human need / sub-communities and meta-communities / what makes a community a community / discourse as bridging and de-centering communities / communities' dependence on word and identity / how does the individual (writer) change a community / how does the community (research) change the individual / no person is isolated, or community as inevitable / neurons as image of community-based understanding of knowledge / community helps us understand the relational aspects of language / how do you join a discourse community / hybrid discourse communities / communities and radicals vs. communities and centrists / how do you gain access to a conversation / what is the lynch pin of a community / centers vs. margins / communities and location / communities and leaders / communities and locale or milieu / discuss: in what ways are you marginalized and centered / generalizing and stereotyping communities / jargon, vernacular, slang / conversation vs. policy (policy as “stasis” of conversation) / what are the physical presences of your given discourse communities / discuss: describe the issue surrounding your community, and discuss the community surrounding your issue / how are discourses started / those who the issue affect are not always those who have voice on the issue / how does one refine a conversation / how does discourse happen between communities / why do we want to be influential (or why not) / what if you could not speak for a month / how does one spark a conversation, illicit a multiplicity of responses / cultures, subcultures, metacultures /

day eighteen / march 12 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 9 read / medium post written (17) / medium comment written (17) / issues paper rough draft submitted on canvas /
class / freewrite / workshop day / engaging / [conversation on engaging] / how to engage in a discourse community / 

day nineteen / march 14 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 10 read / medium post written (18) / medium comment written (18) / issues paper formal draft submitted on canvas /
class / freewrite / de-constructing / building on other ideas / analysis vs. synthesis / scarequotes / how to take an idea apart / to destroy is to make / what are the hazards of de-construction / pieces vs. the whole / the uncertainty principle / schroedinger's cat / particle-wave duality / de-construction as one method of engaging / active reading / severing from the whole / what is the rubble of ideas / what are the pieces of ideas / de-construction / show the "beyond the veil: psychonaut" picture / class activity: get in groups and de-construct an idea (example what do we mean by "gun" "control") / how do we break things down? / what are the different methods of breaking something apart in pieces? / what are the dangers of doing so? / watch "this is water" in class / talk about thrall / phillandro castille's girlfriend gets shot / you should be reaching ideas that don't have words yet / you should be sensing the boundary of your knowledge and then challenging it / some de-constructing is more useful than others / how you take it apart matters / aporia / camus’ absurd hero / research as how you enter it / research as how you pull it apart / de-constructing as dismantling / [maybe change this lesson from “de-constructing” to “interpreting”] / discuss: take a current issue and talk about the different ways you can interpret the issue, the different ways you can break it down and take it apart / metaphor as a form of interpreting something / plain construction as fallacy (acting always as a de-construction (you cannot make something without taking something else apart)) /

day twenty / march 19 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 11 read / medium post written (19) / medium comment written (19) / 
class / freewrite / workshop day / quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing /

day twenty-one / march 21 / issues paper and engaging
due / mindful writing chapter 12 read / medium post written (20) / medium comment written (20) / issues paper final draft posted on medium then submitted on canvas /
class / freewrite / criticism / critique as an analytical method / critique as perspective / critique as lens / critical race theory / new historicism / formalism / feminism / psychoanalysis / marxism / discuss: are you a feminist / psychoanalysis and edgar allen poe / discuss: what is your political (or sociopolitical) persuasion / discuss: what bearing does history have on a text / discuss: what are your own main cultural identities / archapalegic critique / environmental critique / religious critique / what questions arise when we look at a given issue from a specific critical lens /

day twenty-two / march 26 / multimodal project and embodying
due / medium post written (21) / medium comment written (21) / multimodal project assignment description read /
class / freewrite / discuss: who is going to present their project on what day / discuss: how do you understand the multimodal project assignment / introduce multimodal project assignment / perform a multi-modal project for the class / reflect on issues paper / bringing all the ideas of discourse, research, community, engaging and de-constructing together / augment an idea with multiple media / new media art theory / immersive theatre / how do you link a variety of media together / how do you create cohesion between media / discuss: what are all the things that you have learned so far this semester (great, now try to do all of that, but with something that isn’t an essay) / discuss: list all the of media you can think to work in / dimensionality of written and spoken language, and the dimensionality of each given substrate and medium /

day twenty-three / march 28 / multimodal project and embodying
due / medium post written (22) / medium comment written (22) / media and substrate for multimodal project selected / multimodal project freewrite draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / design / there is meaning built into substrates that can enhance what is being recorded / substrates are the backbone of record making / what are the various elements of language design / how do you design a language / your design is limited by your tools / design is what allows you to access substrate / what is your own personal design theory / dieter rams’s design principles / is there a limit to utility / advertising industry as a modern lyceum on how to live a modern life /

day twenty-four / april 2 /  multimodal project and embodying
due / medium post written (23) / medium comment written (23) / multimodal project rough draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / technology and tools / magical realism bot / microsoft tay ai / postmodernism essay generator / freshman essay generator / http://www.essaysoft.net/essay-generator.html / monet and the invention of the paint tube (compare to caravaggio) / the invention of vanta black / obama generated video speech / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkoi7sZvWiU / rogue one generated characters / hyperrealism / man-made vs. god-made / ideas as technology / what is technology / what do painters do when the camera is invented / the internet has done to poetry (i.e. writing) what the camera did to painting / discuss: how has technology impacted your ability to express yourself / discuss: what tech are you using to produce your multi-modal project / what do you express with a dishwasher / what technology do you wish you had access to / christian bok and the xenotext / what are the limitation of a given technology / technology and constraints / humanity and constraints / constraint and forms (sonnet, gravity, a canvas, etc.) / technology as a thing that connects things / what isn’t technology / technology extends our access to the world / technology is any extension of the body /

day twenty-five / april 4 / multimodal project and embodying
due / medium post written (24) / medium comment written (24) / multimodal formal draft submitted on canvas / 
class / freewrite / workshop day / media or genre or innovation / innovation (teach students about how to innovate within the genre they are working). / alternative lesson: visual rhetoric / alternative lesson: translation (between languages, between “languages”, between media, etc. /

day twenty-six / april 9 / multimodal project and embodying
due / medium post written (25) / medium comment written (25) / 
class / freewrite / workshop day / do a freewrite on any substrate you want / substrates and media / substrates, adstrates and superstrates / there is a relational aspect to this / benjamin: art in the age of mechanical reproduction / what is an original? / "have you 'seen' the mona lisa" / what is the authentic piece? - vox "the next rembrandt" algorythmic creation of a rembrandt / is this shakespeare poem an original shakespeare? if not, then why do we value the constitution as an original document and not walt whitman's poems? / the original movie vs. the reboot (ghostbusters, etc). / bansky - the wall as a substrate has meaning, but so does the context of the substrate.  / would you buy a painting? / would you buy a website? / would you buy an instagram? / would you buy a tweet? / why so or why not? / would you buy an ipad with an original piece of art? / would you buy a music album  / why won't you do a freewrite on the wall, brady? / why did no one come up and do a freewrite on the chalkboard? / if you bought the mona lisa, what would you do with? / can i write on the desk? / when told to write on any substrate one student asked: / "can i see your arm really quick?"/ chris burden "shoot" - body as substrate / substrates and constraints / translation between substrates / can you move a painting from a canvas / substrate’s impact on the medium / substrate and nephi and the gold plates / how do you tell the dance from the dancer / rhetorical impact of a substrate / substrate and audience / substrate and context / materiality and contextuality of substrates / digitanity and humanity as not a zero-sum game given that our substrates are entirely different / why are substrates meaningful to a text and the experience and interpretation of a text / what’s the difference between a street painting and a cave painting / discuss: list substrates / how substrate contributes to meaning / feeling how soft a sweater is before wearing it / substrate and availability (why don’t we use gold for everything) / the consequences of using a given substrate / the rhetoric of substrate / substrates as being associated with certain discourse communities / locality and substrates (where is mahogany wood from and how does that change how and where it is available (sushi as better in coastal towns)) / what is the environmental impact of certain substrates / who was the first to make a stained glass window (who was the first to appreciate it) / if you wrote your autobiography, where would you write it so it would last forever / what is the relationship between substrate and expression / why pick one substrate over another / “the book is better than the film” / substrate and time (how substrate determines the ephemerality or lastingness of an expression) / if it’s easily reproduced, does it maintain its meaning and force /

day twenty-seven / april 11 / multimodal project presentations / group one
due / multimodal project final draft presented by group one /
class / present multimodal projects

day twenty-eight / april 16 / multimodal project presentations / group two
due / multimodal project final draft presented by group two /
class /present multimodal projects

day twenty-nine / april 23 /
due / final portfolio and reflection and everything due
class / no class


key terms:

  • writing

  • audience

  • title

  • argument

  • context

  • paragraph

  • clarity

  • continuity

  • tone

  • style

  • logic

  • narrative

  • organization

  • persuasion

  • thesis

  • structure

  • opinion

  • explanation

  • evaluation

  • summary

  • analysis

  • genre

  • order

  • introduction

  • conclusion

  • editorial

  • issue

  • problem

  • specificity

  • grammar

  • syntax

  • punctuation

  • counter-argument

  • meaning

  • irony

  • focus

  • bias

  • prepositions

  • articles

  • verbs

  • nouns

  • concrete

  • abstract

  • reference

  • terms

  • premise

  • syllogism

  • claims

  • evidence

  • expectations

  • em dash

  • en dash

  • dash

  • hyphen

  • research

  • investigation

  • interpretation

  • topic

  • perspective

  • information

  • judgement

  • questions

  • appeal

  • emotion

  • ethos

  • pathos

  • logos

  • kairos

  • metaphor

  • diction

  • reason

  • support

  • voice

  • expression

  • text

  • subtext

  • context

  • metatext

  • placement

  • timing

  • protasis

  • apodosis

  • generalization

  • hyperbole

  • stereotype

  • foil

  • independent clause

  • dependent clause

  • conjunction

  • phrase

  • dialogue

  • construct

  • transitions

  • framing

  • contradiction (contra-diction)

  • non-sequitur

  • assumptions

  • solution

  • citation

  • quotation

  • symbolism

  • arrangement

  • concept

  • personality

  • perspective

  • parralellism

  • consistency

  • usage

  • redundancy

  • literality

  • figurality

  • comparison

  • sequence

  • statements

  • idiom

  • pun

  • description

  • detail

  • pronouns

  • referrants

  • discovery

  • emphasis

  • objective

  • subjective

  • colloquialisms

  • sentence

  • situation

  • juxtaposition

  • source

  • circumstance

  • position

  • contrast

  • pacing

  • fallacies

  • straw-man

  • rhetoric

  • cliche

  • method

  • criticism

  • media

  • cognition

  • reading

  • literacy

  • evaluate

  • ethics

  • language

  • drafting

  • revision

  • editing

  • credibility

  • document

  • outline

  • community

  • public

  • discourse

  • participation

  • invention

  • exclusion

  • conflict

  • composition

  • reflection

  • provocation

  • awareness

  • patterns

  • process

  • mechanics

  • review

  • collaboration

  • understanding

  • comprehension

  • exigency

  • analogy

  • testimony

  • libraries

  • archive

  • meta-literacy

  • rhetor

  • scope

  • authority

  • technique

  • body

  • observation

  • impact

  • author

  • speaker

  • fact

  • implication

  • imagination

  • intention

  • content

  • form

  • utility

  • definition

  • effect

  • affect

  • sense

  • mode

  • subject

  • tension

  • attachment

  • reaction

  • (yes, i intentionally left that last one blank because blank space is a key term as well.)


fine print:

Honor Code: In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment. It is the university’s expectation, and every instructor’s expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please call the Honor Code Office at 422–2847 if you have questions about those standards.

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct: In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university. University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post.  Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692.  Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day). BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

Student Disability: Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (UAC), 2170 WSC or 422–2767. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified, documented disabilities. The UAC can also assess students for learning, attention, and emotional concerns. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures by contacting the Equal Employment Office at 422–5895, D-285 ASB.

Academic Honesty: The first injunction of the Honor Code is the call to “be honest.” Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life’s work, but also to build character. “President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education” (The Aims of a BYU Education, p.6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim. BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.

disclaimer: the syllabus is subject to change.