FALL 2014: Public Rhetoric: Write the World


We build our world around the things we love—food, films, books, beer, motors, music—and the people with whom we share them. And we build these worlds by sharing the things we love through all means of communication: we take pictures of our food, write reviews of books online, and endlessly debate our favorite songs in dorm rooms and at bars. And in this course, that is exactly what you will do: write about the stuff you love. But there is catch, of course. You must write about the things you love in ways that will help others to love them as well—no mere diary entries or talk among aficionados, you must produce public texts for unfamiliar audiences who might not yet share your love of cheese, craft beer, Carmen Sandiego, or Death Cab for Cutie. To engage such audiences, you’ll need to write persuasively and in media that grab that audience’s attention. Some students might produce podcasts, some might maintain a blog, and still others might film a series of video shorts. The goal of this course is for you to write in public so that your loves might become someone else’s loves—so that your world can be shared with others. Students in the course will produce a series of texts (loosely defined) devoted to a thing they love. The texts will be composed for a particular public and will be released on a regular basis (think in terms of a podcast episodes, magazine issues, or a television series). Students have complete creative control over their productions in terms of medium, style, and content. The only requirement is that these texts be public and for an audience that needs to be persuaded.