Wednesday, September 5

fall semester, 2012

here we are again, in the delightful throes of another autumn, another wonderland of academic adventuring. don't be jealous. you can go to grad school next year, if you want. and if you don't want, you can find a library and read some Aristotle or Ong on your own. I promise it's interesting stuff. check out Ong's Orality and Literacy, and then we can talk about it for a few hours sometime. really. I would love to.

my classes this semester are crazy-similar. they even have one textbook in common--a fat green anthology called The Rhetorical Tradition.

Theories of Argumentation with Dr. Booher (and Dr. Carter)
this is just what it sounds like. we're arguing about arguments: what they are, how they're made, what they're supposed to do, by what methods, and why these things might be worth studying. so much interesting debate. hopefully we don't have too much fun pulling apart the nature of reality, value, truth, knowledge... the ways we argue and the ways we analyze arguments betray the ways we see the world and what we esteem important. is there anything under that beyond inexplicable, irrational, personal human preference? I don't know.

Rhetorical Theory with Dr. Baake (and Dr. Booher)
similar arguments happen in this course. how do our perceptions shape our methods of communication, persuasion, influence, life, everything? should we be diligently chasing some universal objective essence, or just situating our poor selves within whatever context seems most useful at the moment? what're the best terms to use for talking about all of this, and where do those come from? are they good enough? what kinds of responsibilities do we have as rhetoricians? says who? why? there is a ton of theory already lying around (see that fat green anthology sprawled open on my bedroom floor, for some examples), but has any of it really answered these questions? will it ever? if not, why are we wasting our time?

Essentials of College Rhetoric with . . . me
I'm teaching two sections of this beautiful monster: English 1301-65 and English 1301-69. Sixty-seven little undergraduates file into my classroom on Thursdays and stare at me while I do my best to explain why on earth rhetoric is important to them and their futures. it's been fun so far, and I'm sure it's going to teach me a ton about why on earth rhetoric is important. getting to know sixty-seven undergraduates and helping them navigate their first college writing class will hopefully not kill me. I might even love it. and then....

I'll run away to get a PhD somewhere so I can teach rhetoric and writing to roomsful of undergraduates for ever and ever. maybe? this idea seems absolutely enchanting. but we ought to be wary of enchantment, oughtn't we? at any rate, we will see how one semester of the teaching gig goes. wish me luck.

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