English 375: Rhetorical Genre Theory: Genres in Everyday Life
As humans, we don't just use language to communicate; we use language to influence one another, to define our sense of what is good, real, and possible, and to shape our perceptions of ourselves and others. How do we know where we are, or what we should/can do, or how to make sense of things we encounter? It might surprise you to know that rhetoric and genre are how we use language to do these things.
Genres and rhetoric, like the air we breathe, surround us. And like the air we breathe, we often take genre and rhetoric for granted, even as we rely on them to understand, navigate, and communicate our sense of the world, the situations we find ourselves in, and our relationship to objects and each other. In this course, we will take these two taken-for-granted and often misunderstood terms and examine what they can teach us about how we as humans organize and create our social lives, influence our and each other's perceptions, and inter(act) in the world. We will learn how genres work, how to study them, and how to use them to achieve our social and communicative goals.