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INTRODUCTION: This wiki -- powered by MediaWiki -- on Michael Russo's webspace, is an ever-growing collection of syllabuses, lesson plans, and course materials used in classes taught by Michael Russo. Unlike MediaWiki proper, editing is restricted. Some pages (notably syllabuses) are locked to prevent vandalism. Students are expected to regularly check course pages for information about course materials and upcoming assignments. All changes are permanently saved to each course's history file. If you have any issues navigating this wiki, send Michael a message (or talk to him in person).

Featured Class:


Post-Truth Rhetorics and Composition | link

Post-Truth Rhetorics and Composition, ENG 1030-062, Clemson University, focuses on critical thinking skills through the teaching of rhetorical strategies in oral, print, and digital environments. Students will learn to critically “read” a variety of texts in different mediums – including speeches, podcasts, films, news media, peer-reviewed journals, and more. Students will also compose three larger rhetorical projects based on issues and research raised in the reading assignments and the in-class discussions. These three big projects, along with other smaller assignments, explore the use of rhetoric as tools of persuasion and conversation.

We will also attempt to learn how rhetoric works through attention to persona, audience, and the classic appeals (pathos, logos, ethos, kairos). Rhetoric teaches us how we might persuade others -- and to these ends, we will pay close attention to cultural and individual assumptions, how languages and design cues work in effective argumentation, and the ethics of persuasion. This approach is meant to build a foundation for learning strategies concerning the different types of writing in shared worlds.

The class theme frames the concept of “post-truth” within rhetorical theory, referring to the classic triad of logos, ethos, and pathos. Borrowing from the rhetorician and scholar, Bruce McComiskey, we ask how rhetoric and argument function in a society where the value of reason is diminished and audiences allow themselves to be swayed by pathos and ethos. This scenario has serious consequences not only for our public discourse but also for the study of composition. Within this frame, students are free to explore their own subjects of interest, so long as such exploration meets the standards and expectations Clemson University.

Featured Textbook:


Everyone's an Author

Everyone's an Author, by Andrea Lunsford, published by Norton, is a required text in the class, Start Playing Around, Rutgers University-Camden. The book is required reading for all (2015-2016) Rutgers University-Camden undergraduates taking a composition course.

From the Publisher: "Everyone’s an Author focuses on writing as it really is today—with words, images, and sounds, in print and online—and encourages students to see the connections between their everyday writing and academic writing. It covers the genres college students need to learn to write—and teaches them to do so across media. It bridges the gap between Facebook and academic writing, showing how the strategies students use instinctively in social media can inform their academic writing. And it provides a strong rhetorical framework that guides students in the decisions they need to make as authors today.".

Courses List:

A list of current and past courses that I’ve taught or helped to teach. The following links to course syllabuses, readings, schedules, and other materials. Some of the links take you to other places. Those before 2014 are not included in this wiki.


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An Excerpt from "Justification"

The first step in successful argumentation is identification. Students might learn all of the stylistic tricks of the trade, but without an awareness of audience their arguments will always fall short. In order to identify with a specific audience, students need to be made aware of the signs and symbols through which that audience itself identifies. Burke called this system of signs and symbols the “terministic screen.” He describes the notion metaphorically:
When I speak of “terministic screens,” I have particularly in mind some photographs I once saw. They were different photographs of the same objects, the differences being that they were made with different color filters. (Burke 45)

Burke’s different colored filters produce different realities in which agents understand the world. The filters are composed of the very same assemblages of shared signs and symbols that shape identity. Different races, different cultures, and different individuals operate under different filters. To quote James Crosswhite, “it turns out that discourse is very different in different communities and different situations” (Crosswhite 37).

If the purpose of a composition course is to teach students to effectively engage with others, then assignments ought to attend to the terministic screens through which otherness operates. | Michael Russo, 2015