Course Schedule

Home Course Description Texts Assignments and Grades Schedule

This schedule will be updated frequently, so check it daily.

Date In-Class For Next Time

Jan 17

Introduction to the course and each other. Navigate syllabus–main site and Canvas. Look over these various definitions of rhetoric and watch this video (weird ways animals communicate)

Jan 22

Welcoming video: Elephant play.

Discuss rhetoric as a human art or science and weird ways animals address and appeal to each other. Discuss final project, the Rhetorical Bestiary Entry. Begin thinking about this now and gather materials throughout the semester. (Note updated schedule: no class Wed, Jan 31.)

Introduce yourself, your relation to rhetoric, and your relation to animals on the Discussion Forum on Canvas. Read “What I learned from Tickcling Apes,” by primatologist Frans de Waal.

Jan 24

Aristotle’s vertical Scala Naturae + Cartesian presumptions of modern rhetorical theory. Frans de Waal on Colbert. Counter-point to de Waal: Sue Savage-Rumbaugh on apes that write. Read Kennedy’s “A Hoot in the Dark” and Davis “Some Reflections on the Limit” (under Files on Canvas site)

Jan 29

Discuss Kennedy (example of human ritualized socializing: millennial whoop) + discuss Reading Response Assignment.  Work on Reading Post #1 on Kennedy

Jan 31

No class today. Complete and post to canvas Reading Post #1. Video: Secret Life of Crows. Read the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness

Feb 5

Reading Post 1 Due. Videos: Introduction to Alex the Parrot;  Communicating with Alex; Griffin vs the toddlers. Discuss Reading post assignment questions. If you have not responded to a peer’s reading post, do so by the end of the day. Sign up for presentation partners. Read Hawhee, “Toward a Bestial Rhetoric” and “Zoostylistics After Aristotle.”

Feb 7

Discuss Hawhee. Video: How do dogs ‘see’ with their noses? Complete Reading Post #2 on either piece by Hawhee

Feb 12

Reading Post 2 Due. Spend some time (15 mins) individually with presentation software: Google Slides, Prezi. Meet up with your group to discuss your rhetorical animal presentation–divide up work, make a plan, and begin work on that plan. Read Davis and Muckelbauer +  Video: Crows at play, Quick reads: Prairie dog language + Con Slobodchikoff on animal language

February 14

Discuss Davis and Muckelbauer.  Complete Reading Post #3 on Muckelbauer or Davis

Feb 19

Reading Post 3 Due. Discuss argument paper assignment; watch Derrida on “the animal,” and discuss the issue with the singular designation. Work on argument paper: Narrow a topic into a claim and think about evidence for claim. Quick read: Fish Feelings.

Feb 21

Discuss argument paper and peer reviewing process. 15 minutes to workshop paper concept: explain to each other your claim, purpose, and proof you’ll offer for that claim–give feedback. Complete argument paper and self-anaysis, and upload on Canvas for peer review by 10 am on Monday. Don’t be late to class, please!
M Feb 26 Peer review argument paper Read Goat accents and Gorilla smarts

Feb 28

Discuss paper questions; meet with group to finish up presentation preparations. Submit final argument paper–revised clean copy!–on canvas exactly where you uploaded the first version.

Mar 5

Argument Paper Due. Begin Presentations

Mar 7

Finish Presentations.  View Rat tricks + mirror self-recogntion in a few animals: DolphinsOrangatans, elephants, magpies, apes. Over the break, think again about your Rhetorical Bestiary Entry. Decide on a species. Begin gathering sources and materials for that project.

Mar 12




Mar 14



Read Keeling “Feral Rhetoric” and Gray “Vultures”

Mar 19

Discuss readings. Discuss video argument and begin brainstorming. (Free writing followed by partner idea jamming.) Complete Reading Post #4 on either Keeling or Gay. Decide on a topic for your video argument.

Mar 21

Reading Post #4 Due. Intro to iMovie and Moviemaker. Time to work with software. Work on video argument + self analysis.

Mar 26

Questions about video argument. Time to work. Video: monkeys insist on fairness. Quick read: Monkeys count Video argument + self analysis

Mar 28

Discuss self-analysis. (Example–more elaborate than necessary.)  Video argument self analysis: in pairs, explain to your partner

  • your claim (not topic)
  • your purpose: what do you want your argument to persuade your audience to do, feel, or believe?
  • what each image you’ve chosen does to help prove your claim or move your audience in the desired direction.

What references you’ll list under the References section

Submit your self-analysis with URL to video argument at the top to canvas for peer review by 10 am on Monday.



Apr 2

Peer review video argument.


Submit final video argument URL with self-analysis to canvas.



Apr 4

Video argument Due. View argument videos. Extra video: Whale language Safina: Read selection from Safina’s Beyond Words (this basically is the first 30 pages of the book).

Apr 9

Discuss reading. Complete Reading Post #5 on Safina

Apr 11

Reading Post #5 is Due. Discuss Rhetorical Bestiary Entry. Introduction to StoryMaps. Read Marder’s “What is Plant Thinking” + Videos: Can a plant remember? Do trees have friends? Video: the Wood Wide Web.

Research for Entry


Apr 16

Discuss Marder. Watch: Do plants respond to pain? Can a plant count? Questions about entry research. Complete Reading Post #6 on Marder; ramp up research on the species for your “entry.” You should now have a folder jammed with content from research, including multimedia files. If you haven’t already, you should begin composing the narrative for your entry in a doc file.

Apr 18

Reading Post #6 Due. Discuss organization of “entry.” Workshop narrative portion. Time to keep working. Begin composing your entry in StoryMaps.

Apr 23

Time to work on your project. Meet with me Keep working

Apr 25

Project work. Meet with me. Complete StoryMapped entry and upload URL to Canvas for peer review by Monday at 10am.

Apr 30

Peer review entries  Revise entries and resubmit on canvas by TH at noon.

May 2

Debriefing. Questions. Final thoughts.

May 3

Entries Due.

Course Description Texts Assignments and Grades Schedule