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Posthuman Writing

Advanced Argumentation

This upper-division writing course at the Univeristy of Florida surveys rhetorical theory and writing studies scholarship related to the rising interest posthumanism. This course raises questions like "Can animals reason?" "Do plants write?", "Do objects shape human perception?", and "Can we separate the digital from the material?" Using a diverse range of posthuman theories, we will trace histories of rhetoric and writing which counter or trouble those set forth by students of Aristotle and Descartes that deny agency to nonhumans. In doing so, this course considers writing beyond, after, and even in opposition to conceptions of humanism and the human.

Course Materials

    Required Texts
  • Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace.. Joseph M. Williams. Any edition.
  • Daily access to your university email.
    Open-Access eTexts
  • VWriting Posthumanism, Posthuman Writing. Sidney Dobrin (Ed.) Parlor Press, 2015 (optional print version, or digital version available through the library and off-campus access via UF VPN).
  • Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing. Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky (Eds.) Parlor Press, 2010 (Online at Writingspaces.org).
  • Web Writing Style Guide.. Matt Barton, James Kalmbach, and Charles Lowe (Eds.) Parlor Press, 2010 (Online at Writingspaces.org).

Course Outcomes

Content: Students demonstrate competence in the terminology, concepts, theories and methodologies used within writing studies and the posthumanities.

Communication: Students communicate knowledge, ideas and reasoning clearly and effectively across modalities. Students will participate in classdiscussions throughout the semester to reflect on assigned readings.

Argumentation: Students develop an understanding of the role of affect in posthuman argumentation, discovering how to analyze and discuss affective media as an argumentative form.

Research & Write: Students select a research topic which they will focus on throughout the semester. The ideal topic will connect projects to individual professional, civic, personal, or academic interests.

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Discussion Posts

Throughout the semester, students write analytical responses to readings, class discussions, or other relevant topics. Through discussion posts, students form networks of interests, conversations, and topics related to course content outside the classroom. Students are required to read and respond to classmates' posts.

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Hivemind Sessions

Students will compose as part of a long-form experimental group writing project over the course of 5 class periods. During each of the four writing sessions, students will be responsible for writing in various forms and in response to prompts. In the final session, we will revise the document in groups for clarity, cohesion, and style using the writing and editing skills we have developed all semester.

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Final Paper

The final assignment is an argumentative paper exploring a keyword, aspect, or application of posthuman writing. Papers will engage one of the numerous constellations of concepts within the larger framework of posthumanism (such as affect, anthropocentrism, cyborg feminism, animal studies, naturecultures, science studies, ecocriticism, and new materialism). Papers will build from proposals, annotated bibliographies, and class discussions to produce an argument concerning posthumanism and showcasing the writing skills we will practice all semester.

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We will be building a class corpus of infographics depicting the work of foundational posthuman figures. By the end of the semester, students are responsible for contributing an infographic documenting one figure relevant to posthuman writing. Examples may be found at https://thinkerthoughtinfo.tumblr.com.

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Discussion Leaders

In groups of three, students will lead a 30 minute discussion of one scheduled reading. Students will compose a group discussion plan which they will submit one week prior to discussion. Discussion plans include definitions of keywords/ideas, a summary of the reading, 10 discussion questions, and multimedia text(music, images, video, ect.) to pair with the reading. Students will individually submit a reflection after the discussion.