Syllabus: Rhet 233, Advanced Rhetoric and Composition

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Course Description

This course fulfills the Advanced Composition requirement at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In this class, you'll write various kinds of academic texts, revise a significant portion of what you write, and work on developing your presentation skills. This class has a theme: we will study some of the rhetorical strategies people use in contemporary protest movements. When people try to change the world, they often do so with innovative combinations of writing, actions, and performance. We’ll study protest tactics historically and in contemporary culture. Students in the class will write about specific rhetorical strategies in the protest movements we study, engage in analysis, and ultimately work with a group to develop a set of suggestions for the future of protest.

Advanced Composition Requirement

A detailed description of advanced composition requirements at the U of I can be found in these published 2002 guidelines: Because this is an Advanced Composition class, this course must (a) demand analysis and synthesis of the subject matter of the course ... or application of the principles under study; (b) require substantial original composition (typically totaling at least 20 to 30 pages over the course of a semester); and (c) involve multiple drafts throughout the course of the semester.

Readings, Videos, and Images: The resources we will read and examine in this class are all available online and linked to through the course calendar.

Projects and Grades

1. Response Papers and Group In-Class Writing: 30% of your final grade

The course calendar describes when you will turn in various responses papers and in-class writing projects. Your grades on these response papers and small projects will be combined and averaged to form this part of your grade. Response papers that are assigned ahead of time are due at the beginning of class.

2. Protests in History (Rhetorical Analysis) Paper: 30% of your final grade
Your job in this paper is to pick a protest movement from the past, find examples of the rhetorical strategies used in the movement, and write an analytic paper about the approaches used by participants in that movement. In your paper, you should carefully analyze your primary sources, refer to and work with secondary sources, and compare the strategies in your movement with approaches found in other movements we have discussed in class.

3. Group Protest Project + Paper: 30% of your final grade
This project has four main parts: 1) group research on a specific type of protest and or movement, 2) documented group involvement in this type of protest and/or movement, 3) a group presentation, 4) an individual final paper based on your group’s research, your experiences as a protestor, and your ideas about your topic of study.

4. Class Participation: 10% of the final grade

Students are responsible for active and respectful in-class and online participation. By "active" I do not mean that you have to talk in every class session to get a good grade. Instead, you need to be present and attentive, engaged, prepared, and thoughtful in the classroom.

In-class participation includes attendance, arriving on time, thoughtful comments in class that demonstrate your knowledge of the course readings, active and productive participation in group work, and completion of all informal assignments. Students will receive an in-class participation grade for each class meeting.

Course Policies


To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as soon as possible. To contact DRES you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603 (V/TTY), or e-mail a message to


Respect for diversity of all kinds — race, ethnicity, age, sex and gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability, political and ideological belief, and so on — is vital to creating a productive intellectual environment. Exploring these diversities and differences can be our most valuable resource as a class. Please respect the other members of the class at all times. Disagreement is welcomed; disrespect is not. If you feel you are being discriminated against and/or harassed in this class, please contact the instructor immediately.

late and missed work

Un-arranged and un-excused late work will decrease by one letter grade for each day it is late. For information on excused absences, see the student code:

technology in the classroom

Using a smart phone, iTouch, laptop, or similar technology for viewing readings or doing research during class is encouraged. Texting, emailing, FaceBooking, Instagraming, or using other messaging software during class will hurt your daily participation grade.

academic integrity

For a clear description of what constitutes plagiarism at the University of Illinois, see UIUC's student code:

Students found to have committed blatant academic infractions (such as plagiarism) in this class will fail the course and have a written notice of warning with documenting evidence sent to the college in which the student is enrolled and to the Senate Committee on Student Discipline.

writer's workshop visits

I encourage you to take advantage of the writer's workshop. If you visit the university's writer's workshop for help with work in this class, please let me know so I can factor that visit into my assessment of your work.

grades and incompletes

In calculating your grades, I use these university-specified grade values:

A = 4.0
A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.0
B- = 2.67
C+ = 2.33
C = 2.0
C- = 1.67
D+ = 1.33
D = 1.0
D- = 0.67
F = 0.0

Only LAS Student Academic Affairs may grant an I (incomplete) grade in undergraduate courses. An I automatically becomes an F unless replaced by a passing grade by the middle of the next semester, if the student is re-enrolled. If the student does not re-enroll and the incomplete grade is not replaced, it becomes an F after one calendar year.