"I have also suggested that a playful, naive stance toward nonhuman things is a way for us to render more manifest a fugitive dimension of experience."

-Jane Bennett, "The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter" (366).
There are three major projects that correspond to the three phases of the course. For each kingdom students pick an object or project (i.e., an animal/body, an environment, a technology) to investigate. Each investigation should involve documenting the object (images, video, audio, description), analyzing the object in terms of course readings, and making a case for that object as a rhetorical agent or agency. Furthermore, and for at least one of these analyses, students “make” the object (or project). For example, a student could document and analyze the (the technological and/or bodily) process of cooking a meal or caring for an animal. A student might also (re)design a familiar space (e.g., the living room). Finally, students collect each object analysis in a portfolio, which includes an essay reflecting on all the objects and the general theme of nonhuman, non-symbolic rhetorical agency. In terms of a methodology for object analyses, we focus on seven, overlapping rhetorical processes: composition, production, distribution, assemblage, circulation, transformation, and consequentiality. With respect to the methods and composition of object analyses, we explore and employ a variety of strategies: it might very well be that traditional forms of description do not suit object analyses. For instance, academic prose or prose itself might not do the trick. Both the course's methodology and methods want the objects themselves to shine forth (even as they remain mysterious and fully unknowable).

In addition to course projects, students complete a variety of in-class exercises and participate in online discussions. To facilitate productive online discussion, students are assigned rotating forum roles. Students alternately contribute launch posts (which start the conversation), query posts (which directly address the launch post with a question or qualification), and extension posts (which extend the conversation by moderating differing viewpoints or following further a developing line of thought). The course calendar indicates which students are responsible for which posts (students are placed in forum teams to facilitate this).

Engl 404 Object Analysis Rubric