"We emerge from the world of Homer drunk with the feel of metals, woods and fabrics, euphoric with the sense of objects designed, manufactured, used, given, admired, and savored."

-Samuel C. Florman, The Existensial Pleasures of Engineering (109).

Phase One: Animals

M.C. Escher. Print Gallery. 1957.
This phase addresses the rhetorical work of bodies, human and nonhuman, examining how bodies rhetorically relate to one another. That is, how do embodied relations shape both humans and nonhumans alike? For instance, how do pets help shape the families of which they are so often a vital part? Additionally, how does human affect and physiology factor into rhetorical (inter)action?

Phase Two: Vegetables

We must here play rather fast and loose with the Linnaean taxonomy. In this phase we confront human and nonhuman environments, which this course treats in a similar fashion. The division between a human, or “built,” environment and a nonhuman, or “natural,” environment is a tenuous one indeed. Thus, students can analyze environments such as forests, farms, factories and familiar dwellings such as homes, dorms, cafeterias and classrooms as all rhetorical agents and/or rhetorical agencies that shape relations.

Phase Three: Minerals

As with Phase Two, we here again stretch the Linnaean taxonomy to include under “mineral” the technologies that we live with and alongside. Seeing technologies as rhetorical agents means questioning our traditional assumptions about such technologies as neutral tools that humans use to achieve their own ends. In the final phase of the course, we ask what ends technologies might possess in and of themselves and what human agencies are enabled (only) through technological relations.

English 404 Calendar (Fall '12)