ABOUT

Link to printable course syllabus:
REVISED on September 15: KatlinSweeney_RWS100_FinalSyllabus

RWS 100 is a course that introduces some of the concepts and skills relevant to the study of rhetoric. In this course, you will analyze the conventions of successful rhetoric by examining and producing complex written argument. As a course collective, we will consider the beliefs, assumptions, goals, and context that shape a rhetor’s project in order to assess how evidence and strategies either support or detract from a claim, and by extension, an argument.

While you are learning the skills needed to succeed in RWS 100, RWS 200, on the WPA, and in future writing courses, the lens we will use to practice these skills is popular culture. During four units of study – Memory, Presence, Change, and Collective Progress – we will analyze and discuss music videos, vlogs, television shows, song lyrics, and articles that use images of the past, present, and future to question what it means to “progress” in the United States. In particular, we will consider how these images of linear temporality – time that moves in a forward direction – reflect popular and mainstream culture’s preoccupation with what it means to be human. By engaging with our course readings and viewings, we will consider how the connection between our digital and physical selves, as well as the material and figurative manifestations of human presence, indicate an ongoing relationship between the past, present, and future in mainstream narratives about humanity.