Laura Thain's blog

Problems in the Descriptive Mode

Four-item list entitled Mental Work Cited

Although teaching a descriptive unit is an essential foundation for good writing, many instructors find summary tedious to teach, and especially difficult to present to students in interesting, innovative ways.  In my class, we learn how to adopt the descriptive mode as historiography, giving students a chance to both practice good summary and question the processes by which summary is produced and presented in a common rhetorical context.   Nonetheless, students are usually anxious to move on to analysis as we wrap up the first unit.

Why Teach Popular Culture?

Photo of South Austin Museum of Popular Culture

This semester, I have taken great pleasure in teaching The Rhetoric of Celebrity to a group of enthusiastic and talented students.  In my office hours a few weeks ago, a student who came in to discuss a recent assignment with me began our conversation by asking if “all rhetoric teachers had to be so young.”  

“Well,” I answered, “most of us are graduate students, so we don’t have our PhDs yet.  We’re generally in our twenties and thirties.”  


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