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Rhetoric and Composition

The Rhetoric and Composition Program supports the college-wide commitment to the teaching of writing. Writing is one of the primary skills needed at Oberlin and is also necessary for almost any occupation to which an Oberlin graduate might aspire. Beyond these practical values, writing serves as one of the most essential tools for inquiry in a liberal education. All Oberlin students are strongly encouraged to pursue the goal of writing well.
Writing Requirement. The writing requirement applies to all students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The requirement also applies to all transfer students and double-degree students. Students changing divisions from Conservatory to College or becoming double-degree candidates are also subject to the requirement. The Rhetoric and Composition Program administers the requirement.
The writing requirement is usually satisfied in either of the following ways:
1. By a score of 710 or better on the SAT II Writing Test or by a score of 5 on the English Language/Composition or Literature/Composition Advanced Placement Examination.
or
2. By certification of proficiency in writing from two different Oberlin College instructors who have taught the student in specially designated "writing intensive" or "writing certification" courses in two different departments or programs. One of these may be a private reading course or a Winter Term course (by approval of the Rhetoric and Composition Program Director).
Under special circumstances students may apply to satisfy the requirement either by submitting work done for writing intensive courses at other institutions transferred for credit by Oberlin College OR by taking a writing proficiency examination provided by the Rhetoric and Composition Program. Members of the Rhetoric and Composition Program will judge whether such work merits writing certification. Students who have unusual difficulty completing the Writing Requirement should contact the Director of the Rhetoric and Composition Program as soon as possible to determine the best means of satisfying the requirement.
Students are strongly urged to take at least one step toward achieving writing proficiency as soon as possible, preferably during their first year.
Students seeking information about the Oberlin Conservatory writing requirement should consult "Requirements for Graduation" in the Conservatory section of this catalog.
Writing Certification Courses. Courses that bear the designation WR are those in which a substantial amount of writing (approximately 15 pages) is required but which do not devote special attention to instruction in writing except at the instructor's option. Instructors will evaluate papers for writing ability and will decide, at the end of the course, whether the student is to receive a writing proficiency credit, independent of the course grade. To fulfill the graduation requirement, students need to earn two certification credits from writing-certification or writing-intensive course work in two different departments.
Writing Intensive Courses. Courses that bear the designation WRi are those in which substantial essay writing (approximately 15 pages) is assigned and writing pedagogy is stressed to a significant degree. The normal expectation is that the instructor will introduce the student to the methods of writing papers for the discipline in which the course is offered. Several papers will be assigned during the course; students will receive detailed evaluations of their writing skills as well as content; some time will be devoted to the discussion of student writing, both in class and in conferences; and a certain amount of rewriting/revision will normally be expected. Although there is an emphasis on writing instruction in these courses, students may earn a certification credit if the instructor judges their work to be proficient.
A list of criteria for evaluating writing proficiency is available from the Rhetoric and Composition Program Director in King 139.
Students enrolled in the two-semester sequence of Rhetoric and Composition 100 followed by another Rhetoric and Composition course, other than RHET 107, will earn one of their two required proficiency credits by virtue of passing both courses. In all other cases, a passing grade will not necessarily result in a writing proficiency credit; certification will depend on the instructor's appraisal of the student's writing ability.

Major. No major is offered in Rhetoric and Composition, but students with such interests might consider majoring in English or Creative Writing. The Individual Major is another alternative.

Minor. Students may earn a minor in Rhetoric and Composition by completing approved programs of study. Such programs will consist of at least 15 credit hours, including: one Rhetoric and Composition colloquium, one 200-level Rhetoric and Composition course, RHET 481, a course in English language history or linguistics, and a private reading in a topic of rhetoric and composition of the student's choosing. Interested students are advised to consult the director.
Tutor Training. Students interested in training to be peer tutors in writing should consider taking RHET 481, listed below.
Seeking Writing Assistance. Members of the Rhetoric and Composition Program will be glad to consult with students interested in working on their writing at any level or with any faculty member seeking advice about working with students to improve their writing.
Winter Term. Staff members will be available to sponsor Winter Term Projects in writing.

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Writing Courses for First- and Second-Year Students

RHET 100 and the Rhetoric and Composition Colloquia are intended for first-year or sophomore students desiring an introduction to college-level writing. The use of writing as a tool for learning is emphasized through a combination of class discussion and individualized instruction. These courses are not open to juniors, seniors, or fifth year students except by consent of the instructor.
100. Basic Writing 3 hours
3HU, WRi
A course designed to help first-or second-year students who feel they lack experience in using basic writing skills in English. Instruction focuses mainly on methods of composing and revising, as well as critical reading and thinking skills. This course is recommended for students with an SAT-V score below 580. Note: Students who pass both RHET 100 and another Rhetoric and Composition course other than RHET 107 automatically receive one of their two required proficiency credits. This course is not open to students who have taken a Rhetoric and Composition colloquium (RHET 111-119) or 200-level course except by consent of instructor. CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 14.
Sem 1 RHET-100-01 MWF 9-9:50 Ms. Cooper
RHET-100-02 MWF 3:30-4:20 Ms. Cooper
Sem 2 RHET-100-01 MWF 9-9:50 Ms. Cooper
111-119 Colloquia in English Composition for First- and 3 hours
Second-Year Students
3HU, WRi
Courses for first- or second-year students desiring instruction in college writing. Emphasis is on writing itself (i.e., invention, arrangement, style, drafting/revising) and developing critical skills in thinking and reading through exploring interdisciplinary topics. Workshop/discussion format is emphasized. Recommended for first- and second-year students who have passed RHET 100 or who have an SAT-V score above 580 but who do not feel prepared to take other Writing Certification or Writing Intensive courses taught across the curriculum. For full course descriptions see section entitled "Colloquia for First- and Second-Year Students." CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 15.
Sem 1 RHET-111-01 MWF 1:30-2:20 Staff
Special Topics in English Composition
RHET-111-02 MWF 2:30-3:20 Staff
Special Topics in English Composition
RHET-111-03 TuTh 8:35-9:50 Staff
Special Topics in English Composition
RHET-116-01 TuTh 11-12:15 Mr. Podis and Mr. Saaka
Literary Reflections of the British Empire and Commonwealth
Sem 2 RHET-111-01 TuTh 8:35-9:50 Staff
Special Topics in English Composition
RHET-111-02 MWF 2:30-3:20 Staff
Special Topics in English Composition
RHET-112-01 MWF 1:30-2:20 Ms. Cooper
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Issues in Writing
RHET-115-01 MW 3:30-4:20 Mr. Podis
Entering Discourse Communities: Writing for College and Beyond

 

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Writing Courses for Students Beyond the First Year

Rhetoric and Composition courses at the 200-level are intended for students beyond the first year who feel that their writing skills need improvement. Issues in disciplinary discourses and composing/revising for a range of writing tasks are emphasized through a class discussion and workshop format.
201. Writing in the Sciences 3 hours
3HU, WRi
A course designed for students interested in developing their composing/revising skills for writing in natural science and mathematics disciplines or interpreting science topics for readers of general science issues. This course is not open to first-year students except by consent of the instructor. CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 15.
Sem 1 RHET-201-01 TuTh 3-4:15 Ms. Cooper
202. Advanced English Composition 3 hours
3HU, WRi
A workshop designed for juniors and seniors in all fields who wish to develop their writing and rhetorical skills. Issues in contemporary cultural studies will form the topics of inquiry for the course; these may include identity politics, the challenges of representing or appropriating other cultures, and the difficulties of writing and communicating within diverse communities. Emphasis will be on composing, developing, and editing a range of writing tasks. CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 15.
Sem 2 RHET-202-01 TuTh 1:30-2:45 Ms. McMillin

 

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Other Courses of Interest to Student Writers

107. Practicum in Journalism 1 or 2 hours
1 or 2HU
This course is open only to students who will be working for an approved journalistic publication on campus during the fall or spring semesters. Interested students should consult with the instructor or with the editor of the respective publication. Students can earn a maximum of 4 hours credit toward graduation (a maximum of 6 hours credit for editors). CR/NE grading. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Enrollment Limit: 90.
Sem 1 RHET-107-01 To be arranged Ms. Cooper
Sem 2 RHET-107-01 To be arranged Ms. McMillin
481. Teaching and Tutoring Writing Across the Disciplines 3 hours
3HU, WRi
A course in which students will tutor at the writing desk in the library or assist one of the writing-intensive courses offered in various disciplines while studying composition theory and pedagogy. In the process of learning how to help educate others, students work toward a fuller understanding of their own educational experiences, particularly in writing. Juniors or seniors who write well, regardless of major, are encouraged to apply in King 139. Identical to ENGL 399. Consent of instructor required. Enrollment Limit: 12.
Sem 1 RHET-481-01 TuTh 3-4:15 Mr. Podis
Sem 2 RHET-481-01 TuTh 3-4:15 Mr. Podis
995. Private Reading 1-3 hours
1-3HU
Consent of instructor required.

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The following are Writing Certification courses offered in various disciplines during
2001-2002.
This list is as complete as possible at the time of publication. For more current information students should check the primary course listings in specific departments or ask the instructor.
African American Studies
131 Traditional African Cosmology
181 Education in the Black Community
203 African History from Earliest times to the 19th Century
204 African History
208 Slavery and Freedom in the Western Hemisphere
209 Society and Politics in the Modern Caribbean
219 The Freedom Movement: Civil Rights and Black Power
235 Government and Politics of Africa
244 Modern African Literature
321 Black Feminist Thought: An Historical Perspective
336 Pan-Africanism Political Perspective
343 Langston Hughes and the Black Aesthetic
346 Contemporary African American Literature: 1960 ­ Present
385 Black Pedagogy
450 Senior Seminar
500 Junior Honors Project
501, 502 Senior Honors
First Year Colloguium
118 Ritual and Performance I: The world according to the Yoruba
and their descendants in the New World
First and Second Year Colloquium
120 The Caribbean and the Wider World
Anthropology
110 The Idea of the Folk in American Culture History
288 Immigrant America: Then and Now
353 Culture Theory
408 Seminar on Current Issue in Anthropology: Museums, Ethics, Postmodernism
Art
131 Traditional African Cosmology
222 Greek and Roman Sculpture
267 Art since 1960
268 Roots of Modernism: The Avant-Garde in Fin-de-Siecle France
361 Modern Seminar: The Femme Fatale and Other Forms of Female Identity in Twentieth-Century Film
Biology
013 Colloquium: Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Biology, History, and Misery
205 Community Ecology
302 Developmental Biology
326 Vascular Plant Systematics
411 Seminar: Conservation Biology
414 Seminar: Reporting in the Biological Sciences
Chemistry
163 Origins and Treatment of Cancer
Classics
100 Myth and Hero in the Greek Epic
206 Greek and Roman Drama in Translation
210 Greek and Roman Mythology
Comparative Literature
265 Anglophone Literatures of the Third World
329 Literature and the Land: Writing Nature in Russia and America
Creative Writing
201 Poetry/Prose Workshop
310 Poetry Workshop
320 Fiction Workshop
330 Playwriting Workshop
380, 381 Intermediate Writing Projects
480, 481 Advanced Writing Projects
East Asian Studies
JAPN 116 Traditional Japanese Literature in Translation
EAST 121 Chinese Civilization
EAST 122 Modern China
EAST 131 Traditional Japan to 1868
EAST 132 Modern Japan, 1868 to Present
Economics
209 Economic Development
219 Labor-Management Relations
224 Law and Economics
317 Industrial Organization
342 Monetary Theory
441 Seminar: Economics of Labor and Welfare Policy
491 Honors Program
English
201 Chaucer
207 Sixteenth- and Seventeeth-Century Poetry
212 Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature
216 Studies in Shakespeare
220 Romantic Literature
228 Modern British and Irish Fiction
230 Reading and Writing Poetry
239 History and Structure of the English Language
255 In Search of America: Early American Writing in the Information Age
257 The Re-making of "America" and "Americans": American Literature at the Turn into the Twentieth Century
261 Humor and Twentieth-Century African-American Literature
265 Anglophone Literatures of the Third World
272 American Cinema: The Possibilities of Art in the Entertainment Business
282 Survey of Drama
283 Modern Irish Drama
302 Studies in Medieval Literature
304 Shakespeare and the Forms of Tragedy
315 Eighteenth-Century Fiction
317 Nineteenth-Century Novel
327 Modern Drama: Ibsen to Pirandello
332 Modern Poetry II: Imagism to Postmodernism
336 Shakespeare and His Contemporaries
353 American Literature: 1825-1865
360 Representing Blackness, Whiteness, and Citizenship in American Fiction
366 Nature and Transcendentalism
372 Contemporary Literary Theory in American Culture
376 Screening Spirituality
386 Narrating the Nation: Historical and Literary Approaches to Nationalism
391 George Eliot and Virginia Woolf
393 James Joyce
395 Poetry Workshop
396 Non-Fiction Workshop
397 Fiction Workshop
398 Playwriting
400 Seminar: Literary Sympathies and Social Consciousness
405 Seminar: Philosophical Issues in Shakespeare
406 Seminar: Post-Colonial Criticism: Theory & Practice
433 Special Topic: Imagining History
434 Seminar: Africana Literary Theory and Theorizing
435 Seminar: Nature Writing in America
449 Senior Project
453 Honors Project
455 Honors Project
924 Culture and Politics in Modern Britain
925 British Theater
History
I. Introductory Courses
105 Chinese Civilization
106 Modern China
107 Russian History I
108 Russian History II
131 Jewish History From Biblical Antiquity to 1492
132 Jewish History From Spanish Expulsion to the Present
159 Traditional Japan to 1868
160 Modern Japan, 1868 to Present
II. Colloquia for First- and Second-Year Students
117 National Schizophrenia in Japan and Sub-Saharan Africa
148 The Collision of Cultures in North America, ca. 1500-1700
III. Topical Courses
Topical Courses in European History
201 History of Science from Antiquity through the Scientific Revolution
233 Jewish Memoirs and Memory: Writing The Self In Jewish Society
234 Good & Evil: Decision-Making in the Holocaust
Topical Courses in American History
252 American Environmental History
253 Recent America: The United States Since World War II
254 Radical Tradition
260 Asian American History
263 The American Civil War and Reconstruction
264 Aliens and Citizens
265 American Sexualities
270 Latina/Latino Survey
Topical Courses in Latin American History
294 The United States and Latin America
IV. Colloquia
European History Colloquia
316 Cultural Reactions to Modernization
American History Colloquia
323 Liberty and Power, Democracy and Slavery in Jacksonian America
328 American Mixed Blood
Asian History Colloquia
344 Colloquium: Gender, Marriage, and Family in China
Methodology Colloquia
367 Narrating the Nation: Historical and Literary Approaches to Nationalism
V. Research Seminars
451 Japan in the Post-World War II International Arena
 
First and Second Year Colloquia
117 National Schizophrenia in Japan and Sub-Sajaran Africa 1945-present: Tradition, Modernity and the Modern Novelist
Jewish Studies
131 Jewish History from Biblical Antiquity to 1492
132 Jewish History from the Spanish Expulsion to the Present
233 Jewish Memoirs and Memory: Writing the Self in Jewish Society
234 Good & Evil: Decision-Making in the Holocaust
Philosophy
105 Philosophy and Values
109 Morality, Meaningful Life, Problematic Self
206 Theory of Knowledge
208 Metaphysics
210 Existentialism
245 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
348 Seminar: Naturalism, Rationality, and Morality
Politics
103 Political Change in America
110 Revolution, Socialism and Reform in China
131 Problems of Political Theory
132 Colliquium: Explaining Social Power: Classical and Contemporary Theories
202 American Constitutional Law
212 The Political Economy of Development in Asia
216 The Political Economy of Advanced Capitalism
218 Marxist Analysis of Society and Politics
305 Seminar: The Presidency
310 Topics in Comparative Politics
313 Seminar: Socialist Reform and Crisis in China
Psychology
205 Psychology of Close Relationships
216 Developmental Psychology
302 Developmental Psychology Laboratory
303 Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology
410 Seminar in Sociocultural Psychology
420 Seminar: Explorations in Cognitive Neuropsychology
500 Teaching Assistant
Religion
103 Introduction to Religion: Material Religion
208 The New Testament and Christian Origins
250 Medieval Jewish Thought and Culture
251 Judaism in the Modern Period: Tradition and Crisis
258 Introduction to the Talmud: Argument and Interpretation
334 Seminar: Mysticism in Christianity
338 Seminar: Selected Topics in Early Judaism and Christianity
343 Seminar: Selected Topics in Modern and Contemporary Religious Thought
365 Seminar: Selected Topics in Women and Religion
384 Seminar: Selected Topics in African American Religious History: The Black Theology Movement
401 Senior Honors
Russian
321 Tolstoy and Dostoevsky
326 Literature of Dissent from Stalin to the Present
329 Literature and the Land: Writing Nature in Russia and America
330 Russian Theater: Imperial to Improvisational
Sociology
123 Deviance, Discord, and Dismay
124 Classics of Sociology
211 Social Research Methods
233 Gender, Social Change, and Social Movements
271 Sociology of Law and Legal Institutions
273 Criminology, Delinquency, and Legal Policy
282 Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory
330 Global Feminisms
446 Seminar on the City, Environmental and Social Policy
Theater and Dance
118 Ritual and Performance I
150 Dance History: Cross-Cultural Approaches to Dance
203 Physical Mindfulness: Embodying Contemplative Practice
250 Dance History: Dance in the 20th Century
332 Continuing Contact
Women's Studies
WOST 100 Introduction to Women's Studies
WOST 233 Gender, Social Change, and Social Movements
WOST 330 Global Feminisms
ARTS 268 Roots of Modernism: The Avant-Garde in Fin-de-Siecle
ARTS 361 Modern Seminar: The Femme Fatale and Other Forms of Female Identity in Twentieth-Century Film
ENGL 391 George Eliot and Virginia Woolf
HIST 265 American Sexualities
HIST 270 Latina/Latino Survey
HIST 344 Colloquium: Gender, Marriage, and Family in China
RELG 365 Seminar: Selected Topics in Women and Religion
 
The following are Writing Intensive courses offered in various disciplines during 2001-2002.
Creative Writing
340 Nonfiction Workshop
East Asian Studies
JAPN 320 The Avante-Garde in Japanese Literature
English
119 Media and Memory
121 To Be Announced
124 The Sense of Time and Place
125 Shakespeare and History
131 Forms of Dialogue
134 Novels of Development
142 Fictions of Authority
146 Art and Authenticity: Reading U.S. Minority Literatures
148 Pedagogies of Empire
155 W.B. Yeats and the Irish Renaissance
177 Ways of Seeing, Ways of Knowing
181 Middle Passage and Migration in the African-American Imagination
188 To Be Announced
399 Teaching and Tutoring Writing Across the Disciplines
History
Colloquia for First- and Second-Year Students
112 The Bourgeoisie and the Making of Modern Europe
119 The 1960s
141 The Gilded Age
145 Water in American History
149 Approaches to World History
Colloquia
European History Colloquia
308 Heresy and Orthodoxy in Medieval Europe
American History Colloquia
327 Borderlands
331 Colloquium in Asian American History
338 Colloquium in U.S. Urban Environmental History
Research Seminars
407 Research Seminar: European Cultural and Intellectual History
First and Second Year Colloquia
112 The Bourgeoisie and the Making of Modern Europe
119 The 1960s
141 The Gilded Age
145 Water in American History
148 The Collision of Cultures in North America, ca. 1500-1700
149 Approaches to World History
Jewish Studies
353 Moses Maimonides: Philosophy & Law
Neuroscience
332 Neuroendocrine Research Methods
Psychology
303 Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology
Religion
RELG 117 The Sacred and the Other
RELG 339 Seminar: Religion, War, and Peace
JWST 353 Seminar: Moses Maimonides: Philosophy and Law
RELG 371 Seminar: Islam and Modern Social Change
Rhetoric and Composition
100 Basic Writing
111-119 Colloquia in English Composition for First- and Second-Year Students
201 Writing in the Sciences
202 Advanced English Composition
481 Teaching and Tutoring Writing Across the Disciplines
Sociology
406 Seminar: Gender and the State in the Middle East
Women's Studies
300 Feminist Research Methodologies
402 Seminar: Visible Bodies and the Politics of Sexuality
405 Seminar: Gender and the State in

 

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