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"Rhetorics of Rhythm" focuses on sea-changes in communication, collaboration, and creative production. A capstone course for your study as an undergraduate, this course is intended to provide space for you to experiment with your writing and advance your research projects. Communities of writers today increasingly deploy digital and "musical" techniques such as sampling and mixing to share and transform information and ideas, and the figure of "rhythm" provides a handle for our increasingly informatic biosphere. Our readings and our own writing will draw a magnifying glass on the terminology and concepts that seem to haunt rhythm and give it so much promise, and by further focusing our attention on the role and function of rhythm in diverse narratives and rhetorical practices, both ancient and emergent, we will review global definitions, concepts and discourses of rhythm, remixing them toward sustainable practices of persuasion, inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and commons-formation as we go. As we carefully read and query selections from primary and secondary source materials— Ancient Greek musical practice, Indian Tala, disciplines of Yoga, the rhetoric of science and technology, peer writing, and a broad spectrum of rhythmic arts with emphasis on the "sonic"—we will compose, together, multimedia projects attuned to contemporary and densely interconnected digital ecologies.

For starters, informal writing exercises using words, images, sound, and, most importantly, links, will unfold on a common medium, our course wiki. As we amplify and experiment with rhythms we sample from the arts and scientific inquiry, and trace tropes of interactivity and security that form the warp and woof of technological development, we will also look, for guidance and models, to the interconnectivity and fundamentally rhythmic practices of peer-to-peer networks as we form clusters, where mixtures of common goals and specialized interests will coalesce as group projects. This process will provide rehearsal in perennial but often neglected rhetorical effects, foster techniques for navigating the assemblages of technology and community that articulate our everyday experiences, and hopefully teach us how to delay, embed, jam, divert, and remix rhythms in our own lives.


Although we will read a lot, we will mostly write, and write mostly about music so as to incorporate musicality, through rhythm, into our own writing and projects.


get started, write away




Acquire and read the books for the course in time for our discussion of them.

Attend and Contribute to classroom discussions and exercises. More than three unexcused absences will result in a failing grade.

Post at least four significant blog posts per week to this wiki. This means you will need regular and reliable internet access.

Complete a proposal and a semester project DueDates in a timely fashion.

Collaborate openly and effectively with your peers towards a FinalProject.

Open a tab for this wiki in your browser whenever you are online.


Prosody Workshops, Peer-Review, and Response-able Participation


We will dedicate a portion of each IDH 4000 class meeting to workshopping our writing as it happens. Because our course is premised on the idea that rhythms emerge by means of frequent and dynamic exchanges students will be expected to visit our recent changes page and revise pages in common, daily. In-class participation will depend on staying in tune with our wiki's activity during the week, by reading and responding to each others' writing. Although daily blogs, responses to peer blogging, and early versions of working drafts need not be “polished,” our early-and-often uploads should address the issues of the day, as well as address and solicit feedback from your peers. Under no circumstances will I accept a “final” version of a major assignment, proposal, or final project unless I have seen a regular rhetorical process. Students show up to class on the day an important draft is due without having posted draft work the night before will be counted absent.



Attendance, Participation, and Grades


Attendance in this course is required. While it is understood that emergencies / University-sanctioned activities may arise which result in your missing one or more classes, frequent absences will negatively affect your final grade. As a rule, one or two absences will have little impact on your final grade, assuming you participate enthusiastically when you are in class and realize you are responsible for all material covered during the missed class(es). In the event that your prepared attendance, or lack thereof, becomes a problem, I will ask you to meet with me to discuss our options. These options may include a failing grade or a lower grade than you might have earned had you attended classes regularly. In short: show up prepared to talk and write about the wiki's recent changes.


Participation--timely wiki posts, prepared attendance, and peer-grading performance--will account for 33 and 1/3% of your final grade, unit assignments another 33 and 1/3%, and final projects will fill out the scale.


IDH 4000 will rigorously pursues an evaluation process known as peer-grading. Response-able and consistent interaction in wiki will help us create rubrics for each unit assignment, and each student will perform and benefit from multiple evaluations for each unit assignment. The instructor will in turn grade these performances, and will also, where necessary and at his discretion, override any "off-the-mark" peer-assigned grades.



Information Management


Please back up everything you write for this course. You should either write your wiki posts in a word processor and save before posting. Or, if you like the feel of writing directly in wiki, cut and paste your work to an open word processing window, saving a back-up version in this way as you proceed. Information technologies carry a trace of instability, so it is always good to have redundancy in your writing process: make copies and put them in different places!


Freedom of Speech and Cognitive Liberty


As you will see, classrooms and wikis are both spaces devoted to free inquiry. This is a rhetorical space, one where composers are response-able to each other: they think and write in response to each other, and not to a preconceived notion of each other. Assume the best in those you study with and be generous with your respect, and you will teach them to respond in kind.



The First Amendment of The United States Constitution



Religious observance absence policy


Students who find a IDH 4000 meeting time in conflict with a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.


Disability access policy


In my capacity as instructor in IDH 4000, I will do everything I can to make fully available the educational resources we use and create in section 601. Any student with a disability should be encouraged to meet with the instructor privately during the first week of class to discuss accommodations. Each student must bring a current Memorandum of Accommodations from the Office of Student Disability.

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