English 550: Digital Rhetorics (Spring 2012)

Photo Credit: "Composition 5.01" by Burtonwood+Holmes

Aristotle describes rhetoric as the faculty of observing, in any particular case, the available means of persuasion. Digital technologies have expanded these available means, calling for new ways of understanding rhetorical theory and rhetorical expression. This course will investigate two emerging modes of expression: videogames and sequential art (comics). The course includes a discussion of the history of rhetoric and its contemporary applications, and students will then both analyze and produce videogames and comics. In the course of creating and critiquing digital objects and environments, we will also build new theoretical approaches for reading and writing digitally. We will be asking: How do we cultivate a rhetorical sensibility for digital environments? What new rhetorical theories do we need for digital technologies? What are the available means of persuasion when using such technologies? No specific technical expertise is required for this course.