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Teaching What We Preach: Designing Courses in (Un)Occupied Territories


Teaching What We Preach: Designing Courses in (Un)Occupied Territories Linda Driskill Professor, Rice University Houston, Texas, USA Friday, March 18, 2011 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Teaching What We Preach: Designing Courses in (Un)Occupied Territories

Teaching What We Preach Designing Courses in
(Un)Occupied Territories
  • Linda Driskill
  • Professor, Rice University
  • Houston, Texas, USA
  • Friday, March 18, 2011

Genre Studies Preaches . . .
  • Rice
  • University

Genres Constitute Organizations
  • Genre System(s) University

Parking Permits Parking Tickets
Fund-raising Brochures
Student Clubs Posters
Genres Constitute Organizations
  • Genre System(s) University

Engineering Mechanical
Engineering Civil Engineering Bioengineering
Professional Schools Law Medicine Music Architectu
Social Sciences Political Science Economics Sociol
Disciplinary Boundaries Change Over Time
  • Early universities - few subjects
  • German universities - specialization
  • 20th cent. universities - hybrid disciplines
  • bioengineering, feminist studies, mathematical
  • Must rhetoric always be a handmaiden?

Genres Constitute Organizations
  • Genre System(s) University

Engineering Mechanical
Engineering Civil Engineering Bioengineering
Professional Schools Law Medicine Music Architectu
Social Sciences Political Science Economics Sociol
Our Courses Usually Occupy
Discipline-Limited Territory
  • Theories
  • Processes / methods
  • Critical studies of _______
  • Specific genres (across contexts)
  • Research techniques

Exception Rhetorical Genre Studies
Partial Exception
  • Professional courses
  • Nursing communication
  • Science communication
  • Engineering communication
  • Social work communication
  • Other discipline owns the territory but doesnt
    teach communication

Serious Intellectual Questions
  • Bazerman calls for a robust, empirically-grounded
    theoretically coherent account of how material
    experience winds up represented in texts and how
    this is related to continuing material practices
    based on those representations
  • Goal recognize both the force of the social
    constructionist arguments and appropriately
    understand and respect the empirical drive of the
    scientific project

March 12, 2011, Post to WPA List
Challenge Boundaries Joyfully
  • No resolution today
  • Get into the kitchen
  • Look at examples
  • Question results
  • Set up ideas for future

Designing Courses for (Un)occupied Territories
  • If genres constitute organizations, discourse
    communities, and disciplines
  • Rhetoric departments should occupy a larger
    intellectual territory
  • TODAY How rhetoric courses provide a lens on
    topics otherwise claimed (but not occupied) by
    other fields

Assumptions of New Occupier
  • Rhetorician is capable and responsible for
  • Assumptions
  • Theories
  • Definitions
  • Arguments of other fields
  • Rhetorician credible in those territories without
    disciplinary membership

Four Newly Occupied Territories
Courses / Outposts
  • Museums and Material Culture Objects Caged
    and Free-range
  • Survivor Stories and Disaster Policies
  • How I Learned to Love (and Hate) the Bomb The
    Rhetoric of Atomic Energy in Political Discourse
    and Popular Culture
  • Designing Texts /
  • Picturing Arguments

Museums and Material Culture
  • Objects CAGED and FREE-RANGE

Museums and Material Culture Objects Caged
and Free-range
  • Other universities place topic in various
    departments museum studies, anthropology, art
    history, etc.
  • Not claimed at Rice
  • Premise genre systems that connect objects and
    museums provide a legitimate lens - similar to

Similar Objects, Different Genres
Genres Move Objects Between Cycles
Magazines Articles Blogs Ads Tweets Diarie
s Letters
Ads Web Blogs Labels Exhibition Magazines Schola
rly Pubs
Course Content
  • Examines exhibitions and collections as visual
    and material arguments managed by rhetorical
    genre sets
  • Uncovers the genre sets of private and managed
  • Analyzes politics of display
  • Considers who writes about these and how in
    various disciplines
  • Analyzes political and ethical issues

Course Assignments Projects
  • Personal essay about a free-range object
  • Team essay about caged object on campus
  • 9 field trips to museums and their libraries
  • Researched object essay about managed object
  • Fantasy exhibition portfolio including object
    essay, exhibit label, web copy, blog entry,
    backgrounder research log for museum staff, etc.
  • Presentation on a research technique

How I Learned to Love (and Hate) the Bomb
  • The Rhetoric of Atomic Energy in Political
    Discourse and Popular Culture

New Technology Interpreted
  • Political Discourse
  • Press conferences, press releases
  • Speeches
  • Committee Reports
  • Proposals
  • Reports
  • Telegrams
  • Popular Culture
  • Music
  • Films
  • Commercials
  • News reels
  • Cartoons
  • Short stories
  • Novels
  • Poems

Three Periods
  • 1945-59 Cold War Begins
  • Press releases, scientists movement,
    Acheson-Lilienthal Proposal, Baruch to UN
  • Music, First Yank into Tokyo, Fat Man and Little
    Boy, Atomic Café
  • 1960-79 Protest, anti-nuclear, ethics
  • 1980s Reagans proposals, SDI

Unoccupied Territory
  • Complements straight Cold War or WWII history
    or political science
  • Expands a film studies type course
  • Emphasizes the genres that organize peoples
    actions and thinking
  • Shows power of metaphor and genre conventions,
    plot, in interpreting genres

Why Take This Course?
  • Learn to recognize how new technologies are being
    sold to you
  • Maximize group value Learn from people in other
  • Pursue valuable individual projects
  • Recognize new connections between literary and
    non-literary discourse
  • Do good scholarship in an interesting area

Builds on Majors Knowledge
  • First round reports from disciplinary groups
  • How the bombs worked
  • Atomic music
  • Complexity of researching Trumans decision
  • Unknown dangers of radiation

Sample Projects
  • Atomic Verse Nuclear Destruction in Postwar
    American poetry
  • Why the Persuasive Strategy of the Union of
    Concerned Scientists Failed
  • The Ideology of Strategic Defense Reagan, SDI,
    and American Culture
  • A Comparative Analysis of Non-Proliferation
    Treaties Rhetoric
  • Hero Images and the Atomic Bomb Reagans SDI
    Speech and Dr. Strangelove
  • The Ethical Possibilities for Citizen Identity
    Given Government Propaganda
  • The Post-Apocalyptic Nuclear Tradition in Video
  • The Narrative Function of Atomic Energy in
  • The Rhetoric of Civil Defense Announcements 45
    to 85
  • Absent and Undefended Minorities

More Papers
  • Dr. Atomic and Messengers in Apocalyptic
  • The Absence of Minorities and Marginalization of
    Women in Atomic Bomb Films
  • Adjusting Bomb News to Audience Sensitivities in
    The Stars and Stripes
  • Atomic Songs and the Religious Right
  • The Atomic Protest Music Tradition and Punk Rock

Survivors Stories and Disaster Policies
  • Focused Research Group

Welcome to ENGL 387.2
  • Survivors Stories
  • and Disaster Policies

2010 Natural Disasters
  • Haiti earthquake
  • Chile earthquake
  • Turkey earthquake
  • China snowstorm
  • Washington, D.C. snow
  • Pakistan floods
  • Queensland Floods

Deliberately Caused Disasters
They kept telling us that we are not human
beings and we are here to serve them Testimony
from unnamed boy
URGENCY 2007 Agreements Call for Disaster Plans
  • UN-sponsored Hyogo Protocol
  • ProVention Consortium Agreement
  • Recognized need in US
  • In 2005 New Orleans had no plan for evacuating
    citizens who had no private transportation, who
    were handicapped, or were special needs cases
  • Plans written in gender-free neutrality

So, is this a course for you?
  • In an era of disasters and grand challenges,
  • What relationship exists between humanities and
    social sciences and engineering?
  • What use are
  • close reading,
  • literary and language theories,
  • analysis of structure and style?

  • Survivors stories can be analyzed to guide
  • Gendered perspectives increase effectiveness
  • Add insights from diverse experience
  • Add capabilities of more people

E387.2 Is New Traditional
  • Organized as course AND on-going research project
  • Enough structure for comfort, enough freedom for
  • Three papers
  • Three writing hours
  • (for reflection)

Course Goals
  • Test models for analyzing survivors stories
  • Identify motivating elements that govern
    survivors eventual choices
  • Evaluate best practices in response
  • Understand the policy context
  • Recommend how gendered perspectives can be
    applied to new disaster policies

Overall Structure
  • Begin with story analysis Katrina, 9/11
  • Analyze best practices and existing approaches,
    US international cases
  • Read literature on mitigation policies and
    mainstreaming gender perspectives
  • Formulate our conclusions and recommendations

DESIGNING Arguments / Picturing / TEXTS
  • An introduction to Visual Argument

Three-part Course
  • Design Concepts and Historical Genres
  • Interpretive Approaches
  • Genre theory, Perception, Advertising
  • Lanhams Economics of Attention
  • How genres work
  • New Technologies
  • Small screens, Web pages, new media

Course approach
  • In-class exercises and interactions
  • Group discussions and reports from the front (not
    always satisfactory)
  • Projects design a stage set for a one-act
    absurdist drama, design a fashion blog for Rice
    University, Compare corporate web sites, and

Final Projects Presentations
  • The Scarlet Letters Changing Covers
  • Anime eyecatches as new visual genre
  • Dressing for Success Powerful Women Washington
    D.C. Politicians Wanna Bes
  • Three Web Worlds of Disney Stylistic Web
    Coherence and Audience Adaptation
  • Isaiah and Old Spice Audience Engagement

Newly Occupied Territories
  • Linking activity theory and genre theory
  • Involving students in thinking with our theories
  • Asserting our claims on knowledge
  • Using collaborative pedagogy and engaging
  • Showing rhetoric as an ethical tool

Where Are Your Territories?
  • What fields and interests keep you reading on
  • What did you major in as an undergrad?
  • What matters most to you?
  • What to do want to know much more about?

Pack Your Rhetoric Tools and Light Out!
Two Different Systems
  • Free-range Objects
  • Functional use, private or public ownership
  • Genres in cycle of production and consumption
  • Personal essay
  • Feature articles
  • Caged Objects
  • Managed collections
  • Letters, donation agreements, or acquisitions
  • Genres in system of museum collections, library,
    exhibition, loans, and de-accession or
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