I teach the following courses at UW-Madison on a regular basis:
CA 472: Rhetoric and Technology
Rhetoric and Technology is a course that explores the technologies of rhetoric and the rhetorics of technology. Over the course of the semester, students explore the shaping effect of various technologies on rhetorical practice, including developments like orality, literacy, alphabet, print, and mass media, and also explore how and why rhetoric may be understood as a technology. Students also investigate how the impacts of certain technologies have become fodder for public debate and controversy, with a focus on how technologies shape public policy, enable/constrain democratic participation, emerge from/contribute to social structures, and shape our understanding of the human body and mind.
CA 570: Classical Rhetorical Theory
This course is a survey in the major figures and developments traditionally associated with Classical rhetoric in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. In addition to reading the major figures, we explore such issues as the canonical status of the “rhetorical tradition”; women in the ancient world; contemporary application of classical texts; and controversies that have arisen in the field over the issue of historiography.
CA 610: Limits of the Human: The Rhetoric and Politics of Human Definition
All definitions are arguments. The definition of the human being is an argument that has fascinated thinkers from Aristotle to contemporary bioethicists, and it remains an argument with significant philosophical, theological, ethical, and political implications. Using perspectives derived from rhetorical studies, disability studies, science studies, bioethics, and even science fiction, Limits of the Human explores how the human boundary has been rhetorically constructed, enforced, and transgressed at different points in history.
CA 610: Rhetoric of Health
Rhetoric of Health is a special topics course in rhetorical theory that investigates how the concept of health is rhetorically constructed and deployed in a number of different contexts. Over the course of the semester, students explore how language and argument shape our understanding of health and how it is positioned in opposition to illness and disability. Topics include: the role of language and culture in the construction of biomedical knowledge; our complex lived experiences with illness (both physical and mental); the intricate intersections of race, gender, sexuality, disability and medicine; the political dimensions of epidemics and the “public” of public health; and many other topics. One of the recurrent topics of this course is to consider how non-experts interact with medicine and its technical vocabularies. Although the primary objective of the course is to understand the rhetorical and cultural dimensions of health and medicine, a secondary objective is for students to become better informed and more empowered patients and, for the very few students who might emerge on the other side of the stethoscope one day, more well-rounded health care professionals.
CA 966: Rhetoric and the Body
How is rhetoric an embodied practice? How does the body speak? How are our bodies affected by language and how does our language affect others? This graduate seminar is devoted to two intertwining strands: the role of the body in rhetorical theory, and the role of rhetoric in constructing the social, cultural, political, and fleshy bodies we inhabit. Over the semester, students explore a number of ways of thinking about embodied rhetoric and rhetorical embodiment, drawing on work from a number of critical theorists of the body and exploring how they might productively be put in conversation with rhetorical theory.