The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Selected Fall 2007 Course Offerings

Engl 505, Writing Studies I

Peter Mortensen
Tuesdays, 1-2:50
Same as CI 563

This course introduces students to writing studies and allied fields, defining lines of inquiry that they may choose to pursue as they advance in their graduate work. Students will evaluate claims to disciplinarity that draw variously on ancient traditions (e.g., rhetoric, reaching back some 2,500 years), established institutional practices (e.g., college composition instruction, dating from the nineteenth century), and dynamic professional activity (e.g., scholarly exchange emergent from twentieth-century studies of rhetoric, composition, communication, information, literacy, language, reading, and writing). Students will learn to navigate the print and electronic resources that document knowledge in writing studies and allied fields; in doing so, they will gain a sense of the fields’ most pressing questions and the best methods for pursuing answers to them. Presentations by faculty and advanced graduate students will illustrate the breadth and depth of scholarship in writing studies and allied fields. Students’ final portfolios will describe research projects to be developed in future seminars and independent studies, and eventually reported in professional presentations and publications.

The reading list tentatively includes: Charles Bazerman and Paul Prior, eds., What Writing Does and How It Does It (2004); Lisa Ede, Composition Studies and the Politics of Location (2004); Janet Carey Eldred and Peter Mortensen, Imagining Rhetoric (2002); Debra Hawhee, Bodily Arts (2004); Andrea A. Lunsford and Lahoucine Ouzgane, eds., Crossing Borderlands (2004); Catherine Prendergast, Literacy and Racial Justice (2003); Nedra Reynolds, Geographies of Writing (2004); Spencer Schaffner, “Field Guide to Birds: Images and Image/Text Positioned as Reference” (forthcoming); Cynthia L. Selfe and Gail E. Hawisher, Literate Lives in the Information Age (2004); and additional articles and chapters.

Engl 582, Writing Bodies of Knowledge:Literature and Feminist Science Studies

Melissa Littlefield
Thursdays, 1-2:50

This course explores how science, technology and literature envision, create and politicize our bodies. Our focus will be female bodies and feminist perspectives, but this lens also allows us to explore the ways in which men are constituted as subjects and objects of the scientific gaze. We will begin by asking several practical questions: who’s doing science? How are these sciences constituted? We will then work through a series of case studies, in literature and science that address the ways in which bodies have and can been used in science and created by scientific discourse. Finally, we will address the ways in which science fiction provides a tool-kit for scientists and theorists interested in challenging traditional relationships between science and the body. Students will complete several profession-centered assignments (a book review, a conference presentation), along with reading responses and a final research paper.

Engl 582, Genre Theory

Spencer Schaffner
Mondays, 3:30-5:20

How can two identical texts belong to different genres? Can two dramatically different texts be part of the same genre? Since the publication of Carolyn Miller's article "Genre as Social Action" in 1984, these questions have been answered and genre has emerged as a productive category of inquiry in rhetorical theory, rhetorical analysis, composition theory, and the teaching of writing. Scholars working on genre have described genre formation, change, history, failure, and flexibility. Genre has been theorized as both the source of textual creativity and a technology of social control. We now have genre consultants and genre textbooks.

In this seminar, we will explore concepts from genre theory such as speech genre, genre as social action, uptake, meta-genre, and fuzzy- genres. To ground our inquiry, participants in the course will explore a range of everyday genres--shopping lists, lost dog posters, electronic communication, and stencil graffiti. In doing this, we will ascertain the viability of genre theory. Course work will include writing regular reading response papers; engaging in a collaborative inquiry into the genres of an academic discipline, building, or space; and writing a final paper. No prerequisites required; students from disciplines across campus are encouraged to enroll.

Engl 584, Globalization and the English Language

Catherine Prendergast
Wednesdays, 1-2:50

This course will examine the new status of the English language, the medium at the heart of this department. As English language users now comprise one-quarter of the earth’s population and live in many other places besides traditionally Anglophone countries and their present and former colonies, English has achieved a position of prominence unprecedented in history. We will examine the factors contributing to English’s broad reach including the influence of economics, technology, popular culture, and supranational political formations. We will also examine critiques of the dominance of English, including the new language rights movement. Texts will include theoretical works on globalization as well as empirical and ethnographic studies of language practice.

Anthro 517 , Anthro Approach to Memory

Janet Keller
Thursdays, 11-1:50

This course is designed for advanced graduate students with interests in the areas of Culture, Memory and History in Ethnography. The first two weeks of the semester will be devoted to foundational, theoretical considerations shaping anthropological research on social memory, individual remembering and the interaction of these processes in representations and performance. Subsequently we will read a selection of ethnographies, articles and excerpts from longer works to address the contemporary array of approaches to history and memory studies and develop critical perspective on this literature. Graduate students participating in the class will develop critical reviews throughout the semester and present an original essay, research paper, dissertation segment, or research project design for the final requirement. Readings will be taken primarily from the following lists.

Texts will include the following:

Birth, Kevin 2006 The Immanent Past. Special Issue Ethos 34:2 (June) with contributions from Kevin Birth, Jennifer Cole, Jason James, Kyoko Murakami and David Middleton, Elizabeth Ferry and Geoff White.

Connerton, Paul 1989 How Societies Remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Durkheim, Emile 1974 [1924] Sociology and Philosophy. Reprint by The Free Press (a division of Macmillan Publishing) New York.
Halbwachs, Maurice 1980 [1950] The Collective Memory. New York: Harper and Row.

Hyussen, Andreas 2003 Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory.Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Malkki, Liisa 1995 Purity and Exile: Violence, Memory and National Cosmology Among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stoller, Paul Embodying Colonial Memories: Spirit Possession, Power, and the Hauka in West Africa. NY:Routledge 1995.

Sutton, David 2001 Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory. New York: Berg.

Wertsch, James V. 2002 Voices of Collective Remembering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

With a selection from the following work:

Bartlett, Frederic C. 1967 [1932] Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bunzl, Matti 1995 "On the Politics and Semantics of Austrian Memory: Vienna’s Monument against War and Facism.” History and Memory 7(2):7-40.

Bunzl, Matti 1998 Counter-Memory and Modes of Resistance: The Uses of Fin-de-Siecle Vienna for Present-Day Austrian Jews. In Dagmar Lorenz and Renate Posthofen (EDS.) Transforming the Center, Exploring the Margins: Essays on Ethnic and Cultural Boundaries in German Speaking Countries. Columbia, SC: Camden House.

Goody, Jack 2000 The Power of the Written Tradition. Washington D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Hutchins, Edwin 1995 Cognition in the Wild. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Lambek, Michael and Antze, Paul (EDS) 1998 Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory. London: Routledge.

Stewart, Kathleen 1996 A Space By the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an Other America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Walkerdine, Valerie 2006 Workers in the New Economy: Transformation as Border Crossing. Ethos 34:1.

Wilson, Robert A. 2004 Boundaries of the Mind: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ARTS 499: Writing with Video

Joseph Squier
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-3:40

For a PDF of course description, click here. Additional information can be found at

GWS 432: Gender and Language

Maria Mastronardi
Thursdays, 9:30-10:50

Study of actual and perceived differences and similarities in the use of language by women and men; emphasizes the social context of speech.

CI 560 Trends and Issues in Language Arts

Sarah McCarthey
Tuesdays, 4-6:50

CI 590 Qualitative Research in Language & Literacy

Anne Haas Dyson
Fridays, 1-3:50

The course focuses on the goals and nature of the qualitative study of human experience, with an emphasis on language use and educational settings. Course adopts interpretive and critical perspectives on research and includes key readings on the ethnography of oral and written communication in childhood and youth, given a socioculturally and linguistically diverse school population. Course will guide students through a small-scale study in their own interest area; though small, the study will entail a consideration of the ethics of relationships, design, data collection and organization, analysis, and write up decisions.

Course size is limited in order to ensure attention to all and a community of inquiry spirit.

EIL 445: Teaching Second Language Reading and Writing

Fred Davidson
Thursdays, 2:30-3:50

EPS 590: Problems in the History of American Education

Christopher Span
Wednesdays, 1-3:50

SPCM 538, Advanced Historical and Critical Methods

Cara Finnegan
Tuesdays, 2-5

This course is a graduate-level workshop in rhetorical criticism, designed to be a collaborative space for intense engagement with the joys and dilemmas of doing rhetorical criticism and rhetorical history. The course will consist of three parts. Part one will survey briefly the history of approaches to rhetorical criticism in the discipline of communication. Part two will explore fundamental approaches to the description of rhetorical texts and analysis of their contexts; here, we’ll discuss not only what rhetoric’s lexicon of terms offers to the critic but also examine the role of the archive in research. In part three, we will pay special attention to strategies for analysis of the different kinds of critical objects a critic may encounter: the single text, artifact, or image; groups of texts, artifacts, or images; the oeuvre; the controversy; the bodily performance; the social movement; rhetorical/performative traditions; and the discursive field.

Throughout the semester students will propose, research, write, and revise a critical essay of the kind suitable for submission to conferences and for eventual publication. Shorter assignments will include keeping a “journal journal” (a journal of your responses to essays published in selected rhetoric journals); exercises to improve writing; and a brief report on an archive.

This course is appropriate for any graduate student interested in exploring critical and historical methods. Students expecting to focus their graduate work in rhetoric should take the course even if they have already had SPCM 423 or its equivalent at another institution.

SPCM 538, Seminar Rhetorical Theory, Rhetoric and Aesthetics

Ned O'Gorman
Wednesday, 2-4:450

This graduate seminar in rhetorical theory addresses the often troubled relationship between aesthetics and politics in western culture (with rhetoric often mediating this troubled relationship). Its approach will be strongly historical and philosophical. Readings begin with texts about and/or from ancient Greece, especially Plato and Aristotle. (We will be integrating some of our readings with the September 2007 conference at UIUC on Plato's Timaeus, and students will be strongly encouraged to attend some of the events at that conference.) We will then fast-forward to the modern period, reading selected texts from different cultural/ national aesthetic traditions: German aesthetics, British aesthetics, and American aesthetics. In each case, we will try to learn from these traditions even as we move beyond them via engagements with more recent thinkers like Hannah Arendt, Jean François Lyotard, and Robert Hariman. Students can expect to write regular short "response papers" and a seminar paper. A preliminary reading list includes Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Kant, Herder, Schiller, Addison, E. Burke, Wollstonecraft, Emerson, Whitman, K. Burke, Dewey, Jeff Walker, Louis Dupre, Arendt, Lyotard, Hariman, and Hayden White.