English 5361-270: Theories of Invention


Instructor: Dr. Amy Koerber

Office: 363-D

Office hours: T-Th 1:30-3:00 p.m., and by appointment

Phone: 806-742-2500, ext. 251



Course meetings: Th 6-7 p.m. Lubbock time (central time zone)

in the English Department MOO


English 5361 is a survey of rhetorical theories from the 5th Century B.C.E. to the present. As a survey course that aims for broad historical coverage, we will study how rhetoric has been theorized and practiced in each of the following periods: Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Nineteenth-Century, and Modern/Postmodern.


The intended outcome of this course is to improve your competence as a technical communication practitioner and/or researcher through writing, reading, and talking about questions such as these:

Class Format will include synchronous sessions in the English Department MOO (log in at and asynchronous interaction through WebCT (log in with your e-raider username and password at Our weekly MOO sessions will take place 6-7 p.m. Lubbock time (Central time zone). Other course materials, including weekly lectures notes, assignment guidelines, and an online gradebook, will also be available through WebCT.

Each week you will be expected to read one or more assigned texts and post a WebCT response to these texts in preparation for our Thursday MOO sessions. In addition to the assigned texts noted in the syllabus, you will also be expected to read weekly lecture notes. I will post these in WebCT no later than Friday at 11 p.m. for the following Thursday MOO session.

Required texts include the following:


Assessment will be based on a 1000-point scale, as indicated in the table below.



940-1000 points


900-939 points


870-899 points


830-869 points


800-829 points


770-799 points


730-769 points


700-729 points


600-699 points


0-599 points



Course requirements and point totals are listed below.


1 course paper (15-20 pages, double-spaced), written in 2 stages (400 points total: 200 for each draft)

Weekly WebCT postings (100 points)

MOO session summary (150 points)

Presentation (100 points)

Take-home final (150 points)

Participation (100 points)


Course Policies are as follows.


Attendance: Class attendance is required. Excessive unexplained absences will reduce your final course grade.


Assignments: You must complete all required assignments (listed below) to receive a passing grade in the course. Late papers are not accepted unless you make prior arrangements with me.


Plagiarism and Academic Honesty: Do not turn in someone else's work as your own. All work must be done by you. Failing to adhere to these guidelines constitutes plagiarism and/or academic dishonesty.


Failure to document sources and/or correctly integrate material into your written assignments is also considered plagiarism. Whenever you incorporate material from an outside source, whether electronic or print, you must document the source of this material and you must quote, paraphrase, or summarize the material correctly.


Any form of plagiarism or academic dishonesty will result in an automatic "0" for the assignment. At the instructor's discretion, it may also result in an "F" for the final course grade and punishment by the university.


Extenuating Circumstances: If at any time during the semester, personal crises prevent you from performing to the best of your abilities in the course, please notify me as early as possible. Before making exceptions to any of the policies stated in this syllabus, I have the right to request appropriate documentation. This might include letters from physicians, counselors, and/or academic advisors.


Disabilities: Students with documented disabilities can expect instructors to make appropriate accommodations. Please contact me early in the semester if this applies to you.


Course calendar: (subject to change—pay attention to announcements at the top of each week’s lecture notes.)


What you should have done before class

What we will do in class

Th 9-1

(week 1)

Read 1-59 in BH (Introductions, Gorgias, Anonymous, Aspasia)

Read 25-34 in LCC (Poulakos)

Introduce class

Topic: Classical rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 9-8

(week 2)

Read 67-71, 75-79, 80-87, 138-68, 169-240 in BH (Isocrates, Plato, Aristotle)

Read pp 79-100 in LCC (Farrell)

Topic: Classical rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 9-15

(week 3)

Read 283-343, 359-428 in BH (Cicero, Quintilian)

Read 52-64 in LCC (Leff)

Topic: Classical rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 9-22

(week 4)

Read 429-49, 450-85, 540-52 in BH (Medieval rhetoric intro, Augustine, Pizan)


Topic: Medieval rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 9-29

(week 5)

Read 555-80, 736-47, 761-79, 780-88 in BH (Renaissance rhetoric intro, Bacon, deScudery, Sor Juana)

Topic: Renaissance rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 10-6

(week 6)

No class meeting:

Paper draft #1 due Sunday, Oct. 9 at 11 p.m.


No class meeting:

Paper draft #1 due Sunday, Oct. 9 at 11 p.m.


Th 10-13

(week 7)

Read 791-813, 814-27, 898-946 in BH (Enlightenment rhetoric intro, Locke, Campbell)

Read 35-51 in LCC (Hariman)

Topic: Enlightenment rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 10-20

(week 8)

Read 983-99, 1000-1030, 1045-60, 1171-80 in BH (19th century intro, Whately, Grimke, Nietzsche)

Topic: 19th-century rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 10-27

(week 9)

Read 1181-1205, 1295-1347 in BH (modern/pm intro, Burke)

Topic: Modern/postmodern rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 11-3

(week 10)

Read 1372-1409, 1432-70 in BH (Perelman, Foucault)

Read 441-63 in LCC (McKerrow)


Topic: Modern/postmodern rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 11-10

(week 11)

Read 1520-42, 1582-1604 in BH (Cixous, Anzaldua)

Read 563-90 in LCC (Blair, Brown, & Baxter)

Topic: Modern/postmodern rhetoric

Discuss readings

Th 11-17

(week 12)

No reading assignment:

Paper draft #2 due Sunday, Nov. 20, at 11 p.m.

Presentations (Note: we might have to extend tonight’s MOO session to get through presentations)

Th 11-24



Th 12-1

(week 13)

Last day of class: Presentations

Last day of class

Presentations (Note: we might have to extend tonight’s MOO session to get through presentations)

Finals week

Take-home final due Sunday, Dec. 11, at midnight

Take-home final due Sunday, Dec. 11, at midnight