Monday, January 16, 2006

Syllabus for Rhetoric 1A

Rhetoric 1A
Ranting, Raving, Writing

Spring 2006

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9.00-10.00
Instructor: Dale Carrico,
Office Hours: Before and after class and by appointment; Office: Dwinelle
Course Blog:

Course Description

This is a course in argumentative reading and writing, which means for me a course both in expository writing and critical thinking. But the works we will be reading together are anything but exemplary argumentative texts. Our texts rant and rave, they are brimming with rage, dripping with corrosive humor, suffused with ecstasies. In ranting and raving arguments are pushed into a kind of crisis, and in them rhetoric becomes a kind of poetry.

What does it tell us about argument in general to observe it in extremis like this? How can we read transcendent texts critically, in ways that clarify their stakes without dismissing their force, and enable us to communicate intelligibly to others the reactions they inspire in us and the meanings we find in them?

Course Requirements and Policies

1. Attendance -- You should warn me in advance about absences. When this is not possible, call the Rhetoric Office (642-1415) and leave a message explaining why you are absent. Keep in mind that missing classes or arriving late disrupts the community of the classroom, especially since you will be doing a great deal of work with your peers this term. Absences and lateness will affect your performance negatively, and will lower your final grade significantly.

2. Deadlines -- You are required to observe assignment deadlines. If you anticipate trouble completing an assignment on time, you must speak to me in advance about an extension. Any paper or homework assignment handed in late without an extension will be reduced by a half of a letter grade for each day ? including Saturdays and Sundays – that it is late. Try to break the procrastination cycle: leave enough time so that printer failures, disk errors, and lines at the printout place do not make you late.

3. Format -- All written work for this course must be printed on a word processor or typed. Written work that is not printed on a word processor or typed will not be accepted (unless of course it is an in-class assignment), and the late policy (see #2 above) will apply. Always spell-check your written assignments. Resist the use of your computer’s thesaurus. Use your own vocabulary. Always proofread your papers after you have printed them out. Excessive spelling and proofreading errors will be subject to significant grade reductions. Also, it is a good idea to keep copies of papers and other important written assignments. Papers do get lost, and if an instructor loses a paper it is your responsibility to provide a new copy.

4. Participation – Participation in class discussion is required. I know that some people are less enthusiastic about class participation than others. Let me state my philosophy on this: Classroom discussion is the only way I know to make visible the genuinely broad range of valid responses any complicated argument will provoke. Understanding objections to your viewpoint will either sharpen the effectiveness of that view or it will change your mind, and either outcome can only be a good thing. If you are pathologically shy it may be possible to satisfy the participation requirement by attending office hours regularly. But please make an effort at class participation – I’ll do what I can to make the class a safe environment for the exploration and dispute of ideas. Feel free to disagree with one another or with me or with anybody, but always respect one another and keep an open mind about other viewpoints. And keep in mind also that borderline grades will be affected both positively and negatively by regular classroom participation or by its lack.

Your final grade will be determined by summing the grades of the following assignments in the given proportions:

1. Peer Responses on the First Paper Draft 05%
2. First Paper 12%
3. Peer Responses on Second Paper Draft 05%
4. Second Paper 12%
5. Peer Responses on Third Paper Draft 05%
6. Third Paper 12%
7. Peer Responses on Fourth Paper Draft 05%
8. Fourth Paper 12%
9. In-Class Work and Homework 12%
10. Class Participation 10%
11. Final Report 05%
12. Journal 05%

Provisional Schedule of Meetings


Week One

Monday, January 16, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Wednesday, January 18, Administrative
Friday, January 20, Introduction

Week Two
Monday, January 23, 2-3 Minute Personal Introductions
Wednesday, January 25, 2-3 pp. Diagnostic Due,
Discussion of Anonymous, “Fuck the South”
Friday, January 27, Four Habits of Argumentative Writing

Week Three

Monday, January 30, Discuss Plato, Symposium


Wednesday, February 1, Discuss Plato, Symposium
Friday, February 3, Thesis/Opposition Workshop

Week Four

Monday, February 6, Draft of Paper One Due, Make Copies for Peer Editors
Discuss Ginsberg, “Howl”
Wednesday, February 8, Discuss Ginsberg, “Howl”
Friday, February 10, Peer Editing Workshop

Week Five

Monday, February 13, Paper One Due, 4pp.
Discuss Dostoievski, Notes from the Underground
Wednesday, February 15
Discuss Dostoievski, Notes from the Underground
Friday, February 17
Discuss Dostoievski, Notes from the Underground

Week Six

Monday, February 20, President’s Day Holiday
Wednesday, February 22,
Friday, February 24, Thesis/Opposition Workshop

Week Seven

Monday, February 27, Draft of Paper Two Due, Make Copies for Peer Editors
Discuss Wilson, Preface to A Massive Swelling: Celebrity
Re-Examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease


Wednesday, March 1,Discuss Wilson, A Massive Swelling
Friday, March 3, Peer Editing Workshop

Week Eight

Monday, March 6, Paper Two Due, 4-5pp.
Discuss Woolf, Orlando
Wednesday, March 8, Discuss Woolf, Orlando
Friday, March 10, Discuss Woolf, Orlando

Week Nine

Monday, March 13, Discuss Woolf, Orlando
Wednesday, March 15, Discuss Woolf, Orlando
Friday, March 17, Discuss Woolf, Orlando

Week Ten

Monday, March 20, Discuss Woolf, Orlando
Wednesday, March 22, Discuss Woolf, Orlando
Friday, March 24, Thesis/Opposition Workshop

Week Eleven

March 27 – March 31, Spring Recess

Week Twelve


Monday, April 3, Draft of Paper Three Due, Make Copies for Peer Editors
Discuss Burroughs, “Immortality”
Wednesday, April 5, Discuss Burroughs, “Immortality”
Friday, April 7, Peer Editing Workshop

Week Thirteen

Monday, April 10, Paper Three Due, 4-5pp.
Screen/Discuss Network
Wednesday, April 12, Screen/Discuss Network
Friday, April 14, Screen/Discuss Network

Week Fourteen

Monday, April 17, Discuss Film
Wednesday, April 19, Discuss Solanas, “SCUM Manifesto”
Friday, April 21, Thesis/Opposition Workshop

Week Fifteen

Monday, April 24, Individual Meetings
Wednesday, April 26, Individual Meetings
Friday, April 28, Individual Meetings

Week Sixteen


Monday, May 1, Draft of Paper Four Due, Make Copies for Peer Editors, Final Reports Due
Wednesday, May 3, In-class Workshop
Friday, May 5, Notebooks Due, Peer Editing Workshop

Week Seventeen

Monday, May 8, Final Paper Due, Final Reports Due, Concluding Remarks