In this graduate seminar, we approach contemporary genre theory as a point of connection between areas of English studies. Taking rhetoric as a dimension of all discourse, we explore genres as socially responsive typifications that are central to our ways of acting, understanding, and interacting as rhetorical beings. The course begins with a reconsideration of the relationship between literary and rhetorical approaches to genre before moving on to intensive introduction to rhetorical genre theory, exploring its claims that genres are not just ways we define and organize kinds of texts (i.e., genre as classification system), but also ways we rhetorically define and organize kinds of social actions mediated by texts broadly conceived (i.e., genres as conceptual system). We examine genre's role in the reading and writing of texts not only in terms of the patterning of form and rhetorical action but also corresponding issues of identity, ideology, and social structure.

Last offered Spring 2013.
Background image is of a DEC PDP-11/34 minicomputer, data drive storage cabinet, modem, a covered typewriter, and DECwriter terminal under a window with mustard yellow curtains open to show a sunny day. The photo was taken circa 1984 in the basement playroom of my childhood home.