Fall 2016 Rhetoric 102 Course Descriptions


All Rhetoric 102 sections are designed primarily to teach students to use language clearly and effectively in order to analyze texts, to argue logically, and to use research methods and materials, and all sections require that students write a minimum of 7500 words in essays, including two research papers. However, professors use a variety of readings and thematic focuses to accomplish these goals. We offer below course descriptions to the various sections of Rhetoric 102 available this semester so as to give students extra information as they choose a section in which to enroll. Students are not in any way obliged to remain with their Rhetoric 101 professor; instead they should select a section of Rhetoric 102 that piques their interest. All sections of Rhetoric 102 are limited to a fourteen-student maximum enrollment.

RHETORIC 102 01, TR 10:00-11:20 AM, PROF. ROBBINS
RHETORIC 102 02, TR  12:30-1:50 PM, PROF. ROBBINS
RHETORIC 102 03, TR  2:00-3:20 PM, PROF. ROBBINS

This course, like all Rhetoric courses, is based on a faculty resolution that states, "All Hampden-Sydney graduates will write competently."  This statement implies that students will know how to research topics and present their ideas and the evidence that they have gathered. Because fiction can offer insights into our society, we will use a collection of short fiction from contemporary writers to find topics for research. There are short research papers required on a variety of topics, and a longer one at the end of the semester.  All the papers show that the student constructed clear arguments and gathered evidence to support them.

RHETORIC 102 04, MWF 10:30-11:20 PM, PROF. PERRY

In this section of Rhetoric 102 we will take a close look at what it is to write about a life - both one's own life and that of another.  To do this we will look at four memoirs, using books by Richard Nelson, Janisse Ray, Tracy K. Smith and James Galvin- which function either as traditional memoir (life-writing) or third-person biography/memoir.  We will also read plenty of additional essays and excerpts.  All of the reading (and thinking in class) will also take into account the importance of place when writing about these lives of ours.  In developing rhetorical and analytical skills, the class will write critically about the readings as well as writing some about our own lives and those close to us.  In addition to working on style and organization in their prose, students in this course will also learn to incorporate secondary sources into their work and to write researched essays.

RHETORIC 102 05, MWF 9:30-10:20 AM, PROF. KALE
RHETORIC 102 06, MWF 10:30-11:20 AM, PROF. KALE

A man makes a new friend who likes to burn down barns. A conjurer turns a runaway slave into a tree. A young couple, far from home, discusses an unnamed source of tension in their relationship. A soldier tosses the remains of his C.O. into a latrine.  A selection of strange, sad, and spectacular short stories will make up our class text for this section of Rhetoric 102.

Rhetoric 102 builds upon the key elements of the writing process that you learned in Rhetoric 101: critical thinking (invention), drafting (arrangement), and editing (style). Rhetoric 102 will also introduce you to research strategies and the fundamentals of employing primary and secondary sources in your papers to advance a thesis: asking questions, locating sources, summarizing information and ideas, incorporating sources in your essay, citing sources in parenthetical notes, and documenting sources in a bibliography.

In this section of 102 we will spend the semester reading and writing about short stories.  You will learn to analyze a text, devising an original interpretation of a story supported by textual evidence. You will also learn how to join the ongoing "conversation" about a work, situating your argument within the existing scholarship on your chosen story or stories. Our ultimate goal is to increase our appreciation and enjoyment of the short stories we read together, to use them as a starting point for thought-provoking discussions, to make persuasive arguments about the story's significance, and to share our findings with a community of readers and scholars outside our classroom walls.  

This is a reading-, research-, and writing-intensive course. Over the course of the semester you will be graded on a body of work totaling more than 7500 words. In addition to writing a minimum of two research papers, you will complete several shorter assignments and tests, an annotated bibliography, and two final exams. You can expect to work hard, but you can also expect to have fun; after all, the short story is a genre developed in response to the public's demand for entertainment.


Stephen King is perhaps the most recognizable name in popular fiction today; he has sold more books than any other living writer; his books have been made into numerous films, and the only time one of his novels went out of print is when he insisted that Rage be taken out of circulation (we'll discuss why). King is an excellent speaker who is in high demand; he has numerous honorary degrees and he maintains a high-traffic website. In many ways, he represents turn-of-the-century popular culture. This course examines a number of King's short stories in an attempt to answer the following questions and others: What is the appeal of the horror genre and of popular fiction in general? Is there a relationship between popular fiction and sociocultural anxieties? Can studying fiction help us to understand something about ourselves, as individuals and/or as a society?The objective of this course is to teach you on hand of Stephen King's short stories how to read and write critically and analytically. Students will be expected to complete two substantial research projects plus other shorter wiring assignments.

RHETORIC 102 08 MWF 8:30-9:20 AM STAFF