Current Rhetorical Theory
In this course, we will examine contemporary rhetorical theory by way of rhetorical genre studies (RGS), which will enable us to examine rhetoric not only as a dimension of all discourse, but also, through its typifications, as integral to complex forms of social participation and organization. We will study how genres, as social and cognitive phenomena, work to organize and generate social practices, relations, and identities within systems of activity. We will begin the course with an intensive introduction to and overview of RGS (spanning 1970s to 2005), first locating it in relation to linguistic and literary genre traditions, and then exploring its claims that genres are not just ways we define, describe, and organize kinds of texts, but also ways we rhetorically define, organize, and generate kinds of social actions. We will examine the implications of that work for rhetorical research, cultural study, and writing pedagogy. The remainder of the course will focus on current and future directions in genre scholarship, including research on genre uptake, genre and knowledge transfer, genre and materiality, and genre and new media/multimodality.
Anis Bawarshi and Mary Jo Reiff, Genre: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research, and Pedagogy.
Charles Bazerman et al, Genre in a Changing World (available electronically).
Additional readings on ereserve.