English 584: Rhetoric of Social and Environmental MovementsSpring 2012, Thursdays 1:00-2:50pm
UIUC, Department of English
instructor: Spencer Schaffner, associate professor
office: EB 208 / office hours: M/T/F 1:00-4:00pm and by appointment
course blog: http://rhetoricsofresistance.blogspot.com
Course DescriptionThis is a course about some of the more radical rhetorical arts. We will examine how people attempt to change their worlds with rhetoric, action, art, and embodied practice. Meeting as a seminar, we will study scholarship on a wide array of activist movements, paying particular attention to their strategies and tactics. We cannot cover every form of protest (e.g., Jamie Oliver's "food revolution" couldn't find a place in the syllabus), but we will focus on a wide array of rhetorically compelling practices. Over the course of the semester, we will compare engagements across time, place, and approach. Students in the seminar will read contemporary scholarship, examine primary documents (video, images, art, and text), lead discussions, contribute to a class blog, present on research, and complete a seminar paper.
How the Seminar Will WorkEach week, we will read the equivalent of four academic articles a week (120+ pages). Every other week, you will need to either prepare a detailed blog post or comment on the posts of others (at the course blog http://rhetoricsofresistance.blogspot.com). In preparation for class, members of the class will also research and explore an array of supplemental texts and topics centering on a specific activist enterprise. Students in the class will take turns guiding the seminar (during the second hour) through an active discussion of each set of supplemental materials.
ReadingsDeLuca, Kevin. 1999. Image Politics: the New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism. New York: Guilford Press.
Furness, Zack. 2010. One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Bowers, John, Donovan J. Ochs, Richard Jensen, and David Schulz. 2009. The Rhetoric of Agitation and Control, 3rd Edition. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
Additional readings available via DropBox (noted on the course calendar, below). Get a DropBox account @ http://db.tt/QkjoAHD. Some of the readings in DropBox are large PDFs of entire books. Be careful, if printing the books, to only print the sections of the large PDFs that we will be reading. (Alternatively, you could choose to buy the books by Certeau and Foucault.)
Class Participation (10% of your grade)You should come prepared to guide, follow, and actively engage in class discussion. This is not a lecture class. Each week, we will talk about the readings for roughly two hours; your active participation in seminar discussions is vital to our progress as a group.
Leading Class Discussion (10% of your grade)Beginning the second week of class (January 26th), individual students in the class will take responsibility for leading our discussion of the supplemental texts. This discussion will largely take place during the second hour of the seminar. Everyone should come to class prepared to discuss the supplemental texts; discussion leaders should come prepared to guide the discussion in ways that get us talking about critical issues in the texts while connecting our inquiry to the other readings.
Response Blog Posts (20% of your grade)Every other week, you are responsible for preparing a detailed written response and posting it to the course blog. (The class will be split into two groups, with each group posting responses on alternating weeks.) These written responses should be carefully crafted pieces of writing, between 500-700 words (this is equivalent to roughly one single-spaced page). Your posts should also include links and images. Post to the course blog by 6:00 p.m. on the Wednesday evening before class. The course blog is online at http://rhetoricsofresistance.blogspot.com. You will receive an invitation to join the blog as a contributor after the first class meeting.
Each written response should thoroughly engage with the assigned readings. For those not posting a response to the blog in a given week, peruse the new posts and make comments. With the alternating schedule, you'll post six blog posts this semester. This includes a final "reflective response" post about the class as a whole.
Presentation of Research (5% of your grade)In the final weeks of the class, the research for your final project should be well underway. During the final class sessions, members of the class will give ten-minute oral presentations describing the main contours of the final research project. This is meant to approximate a conference presentation. Emphasize your main argument in this presentation.
Seminar Paper (55% of your grade)On May 9th, you will turn in a seminar paper making an original argument that uses a critical, analytical, and/or theoretical frame to discuss a particular form of protest. 1-page paper proposals with at least six works cited are due March 29th. Follow citation guidelines such as MLA, APA, or U of Chicago style. Scheduling a writing conference is encouraged. Expectations for seminar papers differ between professors; for this class, I am looking for 15-20 pages of high-quality work. Develop a paper with a case study at its center and include numerous connections to existing scholarship on the topic. Instead of including a detached literature review, I encourage you to refer to relevant supporting scholarship when you need to throughout the course of your discussion. Place special emphasis on the original findings of your research.
Plagiarism Policy and Student CodeStudents in the class must adhere to the UIUC student code, online at http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code. All written work in this course is expected to be your own, with all words and/or ideas from other sources fairly attributed. To represent phrases and/or ideas from any other source as your own is plagiarism. Submitting your own work for more than one course without permission of both instructors can also constitute plagiarism. Students found to have plagiarized any portion of their work in this course will receive an "F" for the class. The UIUC library has this helpful website about plagiarism: http://library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/plagiarism.html
COURSE CALENDAR (subject to change)Thursday 1/19: introductions
introductionsThursday 1/26: Certeau and protest practices
read for today: Michel de Certeau (1984) "'Making Do': Uses and Tactics," ch. 3 from The Practice of Everyday Life ... in DropBoxThursday 2/2: Foucault and systems of societal control
read for today: Michel de Certeau (1984) "Walking the City" and "Reading as Poaching" ch. 7 and ch. 12 from The Practice of Everyday Life ... in DropBox (1.26 folder)Thursday 2/9: street protest
read for today: Jürgen Habermas, "The Public Sphere" ... in DropBoxThursday 2/16: street protest
read for today: Antonio Gramsci (1999 electronic edition of 1971 version) Read pp. 202-207 from Selections from the Prison Notebooks ... in DropBoxThursday 2/23: culture jamming and appropriation
read for today: Helene Shugart (1997) "Counterhegemonic acts: appropriation as a feminist rhetorical strategy" ... in DropBoxThursday 3/1: language and appropriation
read for today: Theodore Otto Windt (1972) "The diatribe: last resort for protest" ... in DropBoxThursday 3/8: embodiment and protest
read for today: Cheryl R Jorgensen-Earp (2009) "'Toys of desperation': suicide as protest rhetoric"Thursday 3/15: agitation and control
read for today: Bowers, John, Donovan J. Ochs, Richard Jensen, and David Schulz. 2009. The Rhetoric of Agitation and Control, 3rd Edition. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.Thursday 3/22: Spring Break
Thursday 3/29: animal rights
due today: 1-page paper proposal with 6 works citedThursday 4/5:
Thursday 4/12: biketivism
read for today: Furness, Zack. 2010. One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility. Read to p. 107 for todayThursday 4/19: biketivism
read for today: Furness, Zack. 2010. One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility. Finish the book for todayThursday 4/26: final class meeting
in-class presentations of researchThursday 5/9: Final Papers Due by 5:00 pm
email your paper as a .doc attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org