Course Information

Title: Studies in Rhetoric and Literacy
Number: ENG 553-001
Time & Location: R 3:30–6:15 (MO 102)
Instructor: Dr. Jeremy Tirrell
Office: MO 161
Office Hours: M&R 1:00–3:00 (and by email or appointment)

Course Overview

Rhetoricians, literature scholars, compositionists, and cultural theorists will find stimulating intellectual material in this course, which examines the role of places and spaces in writing, thinking, acting, and living. We will engage popular and scholarly materials ranging from critical monographs to zines and independent documentaries, and conduct first-person explorations of our own environments through student-directed field trips and other activities. This course will provide opportunities for independent and collaborative study and be supplemented by an interactive companion website.

Catalogue Description:

ENG 553 - Studies in Rhetoric and Literacy
Credits: 3
Study of a topic in rhetoric or literacy. Topics vary; typical offerings might include the work of one or more theorists or theories, current issues in the field of literacy studies, or other themes. May be repeated for credit under a different subtitle.

Repeat Policy:
Course may be taken multiple times for a maximum of 99 credit hours

Course Learning Outcomes:

To complete this course successfully, students should demonstrate the ability to:

  • understand a variety of scholarly conversations surrounding the role of space and location in rhetoric, writing, and literature
  • engage with a variety of secondary sources
  • explicate research methods used in sources and their own work
  • present and develop a clear spatially-focused claim in a researched text
  • present clear ideas to serve as evidence in support of a primary claim in a researched text
  • use evidence that is logical and organized in a researched text
  • offer persuasive conclusions in a researched text
  • construct a bibliography according to appropriate scholarly conventions

Required Materials:

  • Johnson: The Ghost Map
  • Manaugh: A Burglar's Guide to the City
  • Moretti: Graphs, Maps, Trees
  • Ninjalicious: Access All Areas
  • Reynolds: Geographies of Writing
  • Rice: Digital Detroit
  • Rickert: Ambient Rhetoric
  • Additional material provided on the course website

Course Policies

Attendance and Punctuality:

As a graduate seminar driven by student participation, attendance and engagement in all facets of the course are essential. Given the vital importance of student contribution, all students are expected to attend every class. If an absence is unavoidable, students are asked to notify their instructor beforehand so that alternative arrangements can be made.

Late Work:

Late work is ordinarily not accepted.

Technology Expectations:

  • ability to interact with the course website
  • an email account checked regularly for course-related business
  • a flash drive or other means to backup coursework

Students need not be technological experts to succeed in this course, but digital technology interaction is an aspect of contemporary society, and computer problems are not valid excuses for incomplete work. Practice the core principle of digital data work: redundant backup. Digital technology will fail you; be prepared for that eventuality.

Students may use laptops, cell phones, and other digital devices during class, provided that they do not disrupt other students’ learning. This is not a trick. This course is situated in an increasingly connected multimedia environment. Each student is responsible for his or her own engagement with class meetings, and thus his or her resultant success or failure.

Availability of Material Online:

Any material students post to the course website may be publicly accessible on the Web. Any material posted to the course website may be used anonymously for instruction or research purposes. The instructor reserves the right to record and display in-class and online academic interactions for instruction or research purposes.

Statement on Academic Integrity:

All UNCW community members are expected to adhere to the guidelines set forth in the UNCW Student Academic Honor Code. Students are expected to produce original work in this course. Collaboration and incorporation of external material and ideas into original work is of course necessary and acceptable, but all students are ethically obliged to document external sources through appropriate citation practices. Students who are uncertain if some element of their work constitutes plagiarism or another honor code violation should speak with the instructor. The point of any class is to educate, not to punish; nevertheless, the consequences of honor code violations are appropriately dire. Please consult the UNCW Code of Student Life for more information.

Statement on Services for Students with Disabilities:

The university will make every effort to accommodate students with disabilities. Students requiring accommodations should contact the Disability Resource Center, as the instructor can take no action without its guidance. Students should do this as soon as possible, as accommodations cannot be made retroactively.

Statement Regarding Violence and Harassment:

UNCW practices a zero tolerance policy for any kind of violent or harassing behavior. Students experiencing an emergency of this type should contact the police at 911 or UNCW CARE at 962-2273. Resources for individuals concerned with a violent or harassing situation can be located at the UNCW Crisis Resources page. Students should be aware that all university employees, including instructors, are legally obligated to communicate any report of alleged sexual misconduct, on or off-campus, to the Dean of Students. Three university entities are confidential resources exempt from this obligation: CARE, the Counseling Center, and the Abrons Student Health Center.

Statement on Religious Observance

In accordance with NC SL 2010-211, students are entitled to two excused absences for religious observances per academic year. Students must inform the instructor in writing the first week of class if they will miss any classes due to religious observance. Additionally, students should inform the Registrar the first week of class who will then coordinate with the corresponding course instructors. Any absence for religious purposes will be considered unexcused unless a student submits the request in writing the first week to the instructor or Registrar.

Course Grading

Grade Disbursement:

Each student will have secure access to his or her grades online.

Grade Components:

Responses = 27 points
Field Trip Packet = 20 points
Exam = 50 points
Draft workshop = 3 points
Abstract = 5 points
Conference Paper = 75 points
Presentation = 20 points
Total = 200 points

The Conference Paper will go through drafting and revision processes before it is turned in for a grade. The instructor will provide extensive comments on drafts and discuss them with students. There will be fewer comments on returned final versions. This is because the primary purpose of feedback is to improve student work rather than to explain why it earned a particular grade. Students are always welcome to visit office hours to discuss work at any stage, including after it has been graded.

Final Course Grades:

This courses uses the plus/minus grading system on final grade reports. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 92%–100% = A
  • 90%–91% = A-
  • 88%–89% = B+
  • 82%–87% = B
  • 80%–81% = B-
  • 78%–79% = C+
  • 72%–77% = C
  • 70%–71% = C-
  • 68%–69% = D+
  • 62%–67% = D
  • 60%–61% = D-
  • 0%–59% = F