Graduate Courses

English 65011/75011 Introduction to the Field: Perspectives on Theory, Research, and Practice

This survey introduces students to the LRSP doctoral major. It focuses on the study of writing from the perspectives of (a) antecedents in rhetorical theory, (b) historical and contemporary associations with schooling and with composition, (c) 20th century theoretical influences such as structuralism, rhetorics of inquiry, cognitive psychology, hermeneutics, sociolinguistics, semiotics, anthropology, postmodernism, and critical theory, (d) disciplinarity and professionalization, and (e) the functions and uses of writing as embedded in school and nonschool settings. In addition, the course helps students identify significant research questions in particular areas that can be pursued in their own research programs during their graduate careers.

English 65012/75012 Reading & Interpreting Research on Writing

This course focuses on how to critically read and interpret published research by examining the principal means through which knowledge is constructed in the field of writing. This primary focus incorporates three aims. First, in connection with close readings of published theoretical, historical, qualitative, and quantitative research, the course examines (a) the epistemological and methodological assumptions of scholarship in writing, (b) objects of study in writing research, (c) the building of knowledge claims, and (d) how the subjective and intersubjective positions of the writer(s) affect research and authoring activities. Second, using close readings of published research, the course (a) compares the multiple ways in which contemporary writing researchers use the term/construct theory and (b) explores such disciplinary practices as appropriating theories from other fields, merging or combining (sometimes disparate) theories, and theory-building. In connection with this second aim, the course looks for the explicit and implicit criteria that writing researchers use to legitimate and/or critique their own theories and those of other researchers. Third, the course helps students identify conceptual gaps or spaces in the field and significant research questions that emerge from them and that graduate students could pursue in their own research programs.

English 65022/75022 Rhetorical Theory: Greek & Roman

This course examines the classical Greek and Roman traditions in rhetoric and, to a lesser extent, their reappearance in contemporary rhetorical theories and composition pedagogies. The course incorporates two principal aims. The primary aim is to provide an introduction to the respective theories of speaking, writing, and language, and the philosophical assumptions about humanity, held by central figures of classical rhetoric (e.g., pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Isocrates, Quintilian, Tacitus). A secondary aim of the course is to explore issues directly related to the contemporary teaching and study of rhetoric and writing, such as contemporary reconfigurations, compressions, and expansions of the canons of classical rhetoric (invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery).

English 65023/75023 Rhetorical Theory: 19th & 20th Centuries

This course examines developments from the 19th and 20th centuries in rhetorical theory that have influenced contemporary pedagogical and rhetorical practices. The course examines 19th century developments such as the demise of classical rhetoric, the influence of faculty psychology on rhetoric and the rise of modes of discourse, the emergence of style as the primary focus of rhetoric, and the genesis and development of composition as an academic field. The course also examines 20th century developments such as the "recovery of rhetoric," the development of the "new rhetorics," and the extension of rhetorical analysis to epistemic concerns in all the human sciences. Additionally, the course explores both the deconstructive and constructive functions of modern rhetorics as they are applied in analyses of speech acts and genres, discursive formations and discourse communities, the rhetorical construction of knowledge, and the linguistic construction of consciousness.

English 85024 Domain Rhetorics & the Construction of Knowledge

This course examines disciplines and knowledge production as historically and socially situated practices that are realized through rhetorical, linguistic, and material processes and systems. Among the specific topics the course examines are (a) social construction of knowledge and reality, (b) the rhetoric of inquiry and the "linguistic turn," (c) rhetorical and social processes through which disciplinary boundaries are constructed, legitimized, institutionalized, and changed, (d) history and sociology of disciplinarity and knowledge, (e) subjective and inter-subjective phenomena and practices, (f) language and objectification, and (g) questions of relative and objective knowledge. These specific topics are explored within the context of particular knowledge domains and attendant practices as reflected in biology, physics, economics, history, cognitive and social psychology, political science, sociology, and anthropology.

English 85025 Theories & Systems of Writing & Representation

This course examines the history and contemporary use of scripts and other means of representing and constructing shared meanings. Taking an historical perspective, the course explores the implicit theories of representation in the (often co-occurring) development of scripts and other graphic means of representing and constructing meaning, traces those developments through the emergence of production technologies (e.g., inscription tools, moveable type, word processing, hypertext) and media (e.g., papyrus, paper, magnetic disks, electronic space). The course explores such contemporary questions and issues as (a) the nature of "text" in modern societies, (b) the appropriateness of theories and rhetorics of verbal, print-linguistic texts for understanding texts that employ multiple symbol systems, (c) what it means to be able to read and write texts that employ multiple symbol systems, and (d) the need to construct a rhetorical theory of multiple representations.

English 63031/73031 Schools of Linguistics

This course provides a basic understanding of the major trends in linguistic analysis and theory. The first part of the course will be spent on the basics of linguistic analysis and the major subfields in current linguistics, concentrating on the central questions, goals and methods of each. The better part of the course will be spent reading primary texts from representatives of various schools of thought. More specifically, this course surveys--through representative readings from key figures--major theories and methods of linguistic analyses associated with (a) pre-20th century linguistics, (b) Saussure, (c) the Prague School (Jakobson), (d) the British School (Firth, Halliday), (e) American structuralism (Bloomfield, Sapir), (f) generative, formalist, and universal grammarians (Chomsky, Lenneberg, Bickerton, Pinker), and (g) anthropological and sociolinguistic approaches (Whorf, Lucy, Weinrich, Lobov, Herzog, Hymes). Throughout, the course provides guided practice in applying the methods of analysis associated with different schools of linguistics to specific linguistic phenomena.

English 63032/73032 Functional Linguistics

This course introduces students to the development of functionalism in linguistics. This introduction consists of three parts. First, the course focuses on functional issues as they emerged through the work of linguists associated with the Prague School, both during its foundational years during the two decades before World War II and during its later reincarnation during the 1970s. In this, the course examines the idea of function as it occurs in the description of the different levels of the linguistic system (phonology, morphology, and syntax), and it concentrates specifically on the dichotomy of theme and rheme. Second, the course focuses on the development of systemic functional linguistics in the Firthian and Hallidayian tradition, with its principal emphasis on functional grammar (clause as message, exchange, and representation) and with its applications to discourse analysis (Halliday, Hasan & Martin). Third, the course examines functionalism according to the more formally oriented Dutch School (Dik, Nuyts). Throughout, the course provides guided practice in applying the methods of analysis associated with functionalist principles to specific linguistic phenomena.

English 85033 The Rhetorical Nature and Function of Extended Discourse

This course examines the rhetorical nature and function of extended written discourse from cultural, social, and psychological perspectives. Rhetorical discourse functions to organize behaviors and actions, constructs perspectives and attitudes, and is used by individuals and groups to accomplish goals through language. The course explores how written discourse(s) and attendant production and interpretation practices relate to and interact functionally with contexts in which written discourse is constructed and used. The interaction of written discourse and context will be studied within a constructive-functional framework of language and meaning. The topics and issues to be examined in this course include (a) language, representation, and mediation, (b) construction, function, and variation in language, (c) social, cultural, and psychological dimensions of discourse production and interpretation, (d) the function and form of discourse within micro and macro contexts, (e) the relationship between form and function, (f) discourse analysis as a form of social analysis, and (g) language and ideology. Throughout the semester, students will engage in projects in which they apply theoretical concepts to analyses of particular instances of written discourse drawn from a range of social contexts, both academic and nonacademic.

English 63034/73034 Literate Practices and Sociolinguistics

This course provides a basic overview of sociolinguistics, emphasizing particularly the contributions of sociolinguistics to understandings of literacy and literate practices, the use of language in classrooms, and bilingualism and multilingualism. Using the seminal work of Dell Hymes, John Gumperz, and Charles Ferguson as a springboard, the course explores--through readings in sociolinguistic theory and research and practical applications--a wide range of topics in sociolinguistics: (a) linguistic variation and social stratification (Lobov, Trudgill), (b) the ethnography of speaking (Basso, Frake, Jackson, Sherzer), (c) language in multilingual societies and language choice (Brown & Gillman, Ferguson, Gal, Gumperz, Myers-Scotton), (d) language and gender (Barrett, Hall & Buchholz, Ochs, Woolard), (e) language and world view (Gal, Hill, Pratt), (f) social networks (Nichols), (g) linguistic diversity in the U. S. (Crawford, Henderson, McKay & McGroary, Mendoza-Denton, Walters), and (h) language in classrooms (Cazden, Eckert, Heath, Milroy & Milroy, Moss & Walters). Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on using sociolinguistics to understand language practices in different situational and social contexts.

English 85041 Field Research Methods in Writing

This course focuses (a) on selected qualitative methods employed in conducting field research on the acts, functions, and uses of writing within particular communities of practice and in particular contexts and (b) on methods and procedures for analyzing and interpreting qualitative data. Specifically, the course has three practical dimensions. First, it teaches--through readings and guided practice--how to select, gain access to, and enter research sites; how to use observational techniques to collect data; how to construct maps and diagrams of research sites and site activity; how to write site and participant descriptions; how to take and organize field notes; how to conduct interviews of various types; and how to collect narrative data, in situ protocols, and retrospective accounts. Second, the course teaches an iterative and recursive method of analyzing and interpreting qualitative data based on the work of Garfinkel, Spradley, Glaser, and Strauss, shows how to combine various types of qualitative data (e.g., field notes, interviews, maps and diagrams, material artifacts) in analysis and interpretation, illustrates how to generate interpretive categories from qualitative data sets, and demonstrates the epistemological turns required in moving from data to interpretation. Third, the course attends directly to students' written presentations of their own quantitative research. At a more general level, the course explores such important issues and questions as the ethics of qualitative research, the constructive nature of research activity, the nature of qualitative data, the relation between data and knowledge claims and generalizations, and the limits of methodology and interpretation.

English 85042 Discourse Analysis

This course will explore and compare various approaches to discourse analysis and apply them to the linguistic analysis of discourse. The approaches to be surveyed include (a) speech act theory, (b) interactional sociolinguistics, (c) ethnography of communication, (d) pragmatics, (e) conversational analysis, and (f) variation analysis. These approaches will be explored in the contexts of the natural language of everyday explanations and narratives, conversational interactions, classroom discourse and the language of teaching and learning, and the discourse of workplaces. In addition to learning about various approaches and methods, students will also develop a critical stance toward discourse analysis as a research method. That is, the course will raise questions about the viability and appropriateness of discourse analytic methods in relation to specific research agendas, questions, and goals. In addition to completing various assignments that provide guided practice in applying the various discourse analytic methods introduced during the semester, students will design and carry out an extended discourse analytic project during the latter portion of the semester.

English 85043 Historical Research Methods in Writing & Rhetoric

This course identifies and explores a variety of methods available for the historical study of rhetoric and writing, including ethnohistory, archival research, new historicism, narrative theory, disciplinary and institutional historiography, and materialist histories of schooling, among others. In addition to specific commentaries on such methodologies, students will read and critically analyze a range of historical studies as examples of such research and as potential bases for studies of their own. As a class project, students will work through the design of one type of collaborative research project and, as individuals or as members of small groups, will produce a design for a study of their own. These projects may include, but will not be restricted to, library research.

English 65051/75051 Literacy: Functions, Practices & History

This course incorporates two principal aims. First, the course surveys and evaluates critically historical and contemporary studies of literacy from the standpoint of the three dominant metaphors (identified by Scribner, 1984) those studies variously employ to discuss the history, the functions, and practices of literacy: (a) "literacy as adaptation," (b) "literacy as power," and (c) "literacy as a state of grace." The studies examined that fall under "literacy as adaptation" focus on what is represented as functional literacy, which is operationalized through a focus on literacy skills in terms of proficiencies required for managing fairly mundane tasks associated with everyday life in different societies. The studies examined under the rubric of "literacy as power" take as their primary focus the role of literacy in advancing the economic interests, ideologies, and/or social mobility of particular groups or communities. The studies subsumed under "literacy as a state of grace" tend to see "great divides" of various types as distinguishing literate from illiterate or "less literate" peoples, "great divides" that manifest themselves in the association of literacy (for example) with being "cultured," with being "learned," with being endowed with higher mental capacities, and the like. Second, the course explores the ways in which the metaphors and the studies associated with them proffer inadequate understandings of literacy, the functions of literacy, and the benefits of literacy and then turns to other scholarship (e.g., Graff's The literacy myth, Heath's Ways with words, Scribner & Cole's The psychology of literacy, Street's Literacy in theory and practice, Barton's Literacy) that problematizes the research associated with the three metaphors and that seeks to develop more accurate understandings of literacy as social practice. Students will engage in a significant project on the history of literacy or on contemporary practices involving literacy.

English 65052/75052 Writing Activity as Social Practice

This course explores the implications of studying literacy generally and writing particularly as embedded activity--as activity that is nested within other activities (e.g., doing bench work in chemistry labs, treating medical patients, scheduling production in a factory) as well as in larger cultural practices (e.g., doing school, doing chemistry, practicing medicine). The course examines literacy as embedded activity from the perspectives of Vygotskian-based activity theory and contemporary theories of practice (e.g., Bourdieu, de Certeau, Sahlins). In addition, the course examines this activity and practice theory based perspective against a background of competing perspectives, particularly (a) a cognitive perspective that sees individual performance primarily in terms of underlying mental operations, representations, and structures that operate independently of social context, (b) a social perspective that sees individual performance as wholly constituted or determined by the use of language in social contexts, and (c) a sociocognitive perspective that insists on separating individual activity from the social context of performance by treating context and situation as merely external influences on performance. Students will begin (or continue) a field-based study of writing activity in a contemporary work site.

English 65053/75053 Writing Technologies 

During the thirty years that computer based writing technologies have been imported into the writing classroom, proponents have made a number of theoretical and pedagogical claims about this technology and its consequences for literate practices, for learning to write, and for larger cultural practices. This course examines critically these claims in order to begin identifying the conceptual components of a grounded theory for technology-enhanced literacy learning. The course works towards these global aims in four specific ways. First, the course examines various historical changes in writing technology (e.g. clay tablets, papyrus, the printing press, the computer) and the presumed changes in literate and cultural practices associated with specific technological changes. Second, the course examines the role newer writing technologies may have in shaping thought and in limiting or expanding the range of available forms of communication. Third, the course questions whether newer writing technologies have positive, negative, and/or neutral effects on social and cognitive dimensions of discursive practices. Fourth, the course explores claims about the impact of new writing technologies on schooling in general and on individual literacy learning in particular. To reinforce the critical and exploratory nature of the course, the students will conduct basic research that explores possible relationships between new writing technologies and human performance.

English 85054 Studies in Literacy and Community

This course extends and enlarges upon the emphases of English 65052/75052 (Writing Activity as Social Practice) by exploring and examining in greater depth particular ways in which literacy is embedded in activities and practices associated with workplaces that college graduates enter, with civic responsibilities that attend living in a democratic society and a world community, and with "getting on" in a world of everyday living. Viewed somewhat more specifically, this course examines how literate activity is nested and operationalized within workplace communities of practice (e.g., medicine, chemistry, law, marketing, accounting) defined in terms of identifiable and describable ways of knowing and ways of doing, within civic practices (e.g., voting, becoming an informed citizen, running local governments), and within practices and activities required simply to live in a complex society (e.g., grocery shopping, purchasing an automobile, applying for a mortgage). Through its examination of literacy as embedded activity, the course raises critical questions regarding (a) the multiple literacies hypothesis, (b) the ways and the extent to which situated performances construct literacy, (c) the ways and the extent to which literacy constructs situated performances and performance contexts, (d) the constructive and constructed nature of social context, (e) the transfer of literacy skills across performance contexts, and (f) the possible relations that may obtain among knowing, doing, and language. Student research projects will include engaging in a new or continuing study of writing and situated community practices.

English 85055 Nature and Relationship of Academic and Nonacademic Literacy

This course explores connections between literacy learning and formal schooling. This exploration focuses on published literatures associated with five broad topics. First, the course looks at studies of how preschool children learn and use literacy in home environments. Second, it examines published research on the nature of literacy instruction during the elementary and secondary years and on how that instruction affects the ways schoolchildren learn and use literacy. Third, the course examines instructional and curricular practices in literacy-related education, paying specific attention to underlying assumptions regarding the relation of school and non-school literacy. Fourth, the course examines local, regional, and national assessments of literacy with reference to their underlying assumptions about the nature and function of literacy, literate activity, and schooling. Fifth, the course, by focusing on the use of critical theory and critical ethnography in studies of schooling and literacy, explores such matters as hidden curricula, gender bias, racism, and implicit ideologies in educational practice affecting literacy learning. Students will engage in a significant site-based study of academic and/or non-academic literacy.

English 65057/75057 Semeiotics

(Cross-listed with MCLS 60020 and Phil 61055) An introduction to contemporary theories of semeiotics and to the application of those theories to linguistics, literature, translation, and technology. English 85060 Directed Readings in Writing & Rhetoric The topics covered under this course title will vary according to (a) the needs of students who need to make up deficiencies evident in their performances on one or more parts of the qualifying examinations for the Ph.D. and (b) the needs of students who require additional work before undertaking a particular dissertation project.