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

Problematic Koko video

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

Wunderpus photogenicus video +

Discuss Kennedy (example of human ritualized socializing, p 17: millennial whoop) + discuss Reading Response Assignment.

 Work on Reading Post #1 on Kennedy

Jan 31

No class or office hours today. Complete and post to canvas Reading Post #1, due by 8pm Sunday night. Video: Secret Life of Crows (1 hour). 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. Read Hawhee, “Toward a Bestial Rhetoric” and “Zoostylistics After Aristotle.”

Feb 7

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

Feb 12

Reading Post 2 Due. Spend some time (15 mins) individually with presentation software:

You may also use Powerpoint online if you have an online account.

Meet up with your group to discuss your rhetorical animal presentation:

  • jam about possible rhetorical animals
  • divide up preliminary work (perhaps to do some preliminary research on what’s available on various animals)
  • make a plan for a followup

Close with: Video: Crows at play

Read Davis (“Creaturely”) and Muckelbauer +  Quick reads: Prairie dog language + Con Slobodchikoff on animal language

February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day. Discuss Davis and Muckelbauer. Time to meet in groups briefly. Confirm animal species for presentation. Video:  Frog the Rooster.  Complete Reading Post #3 on Muckelbauer or Davis. Read over your argument paper assignment.

Feb 19

Reading Post 3 Due. Terrifying bat. Discuss argument paper assignment; arguable claims; free-writing + looping for paper topic, then arguable claim; watch Derrida on “the animal,” and discuss the issue with the singular designation. Work on argument paper: Narrow a topic into an arguable claim and think about evidence for that claim. Quick reads: Fish Feelings, and Fish Feel Pain.

Feb 21

Eating together… Discuss argument paper and peer reviewing process. 30-40 minutes to workshop paper concept: explain to each other your arguable claim, purpose, and the evidence you’ll offer for that claim–group offers specific, constructive feedback and suggestions. 20 minutes to process feedback and work on paper alone. 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. Work on paper revisions and rhetorical animal presentation.

Feb 28

Dog teaches brother to “sit.”  Affectionate Moray Eel. Discuss paper questions; meet with group to finish up presentation preparations. Schedule presentations. Think about applying for the rhetoric honors program. Submit final argument paper–revised clean copy!–on canvas exactly where you uploaded the first version. Finalize presentations. One group member submits URL for presentation to canvas.

Mar 5

Argument Paper Due. Begin Presentations. Groups 4, 5, 3, 6, and 2.  View Rat tricks video

Mar 7

Finish Presentations.  Groups 7, 1, and 8.

Two sharing videos: crow + dog

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

SPRING BREAK Read Keeling “Feral Rhetoric” and Gray “Vultures”

Mar 19

Welcome back videos: Atún the duck + Dolphin intelligence.

MLA Works Cited: A Quick Guide.

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. Workshop:

  1. Articulate your claim to your group for feedback. Narrow it down; make it tight.
  2. Search for images and storyboard (on paper or in editor) your photo slideshow to support your claim.
  3. Time to familiarize yourself with iMovie or Moviemaker (or your choice of video editing software).
Work on video argument + self analysis. If you’re revising Argument Paper, upload to Canvas (same place as before) by class time Monday.

Mar 26

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

Mar 28

Videos from Maddie: jumping spider in the mirror; humpback whale saves diver from shark.

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: bored Cockatoo. Quick read: Whale language.

Safina: Read selection from Safina’s Beyond Words (this basically is the first 30 pages of the book).


Apr 9

Videos: Desert Rain Frog; Mossy, the rescue squirrel

FYI: Trimble Prize

Discuss reading.

Complete Reading Post #5 on Safina

Apr 11

Reading Post #5 is Due. Video: Can a plant count?

Discuss Rhetorical Bestiary Entry. Introduction to StoryMaps. Time to create an account and play with the software. Back to invention: Worksheet for Rhetorical Bestiary Entry.


Read Marder’s “What is Plant Thinking” + Videos: Can a plant remember? Do trees have friends? Video: the Wood Wide Web.

Research for Entry: move through the worksheet to clarify your Entry task. Begin composing the introduction in a doc, if you haven’t already.


Apr 16

Discuss Marder. Watch: Do plants respond to pain? Ways Plants Defend Themselves. Discuss Marder together, then in groups. Questions about entry research. Quick read: Plant Consciousness. More on knocking plants out. Listen to”Smarty Plants” by Radiolab. 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 communication narrative section for your entry in a doc file.

Apr 18

Reading Post #6 Due. Workshop introduction and communication sections. Discuss Rhetorical Implications section. Time to keep working. Begin composing your entry in StoryMaps.

Apr 23

Time to work on your project. Meet with me Keep working. If you’re revising your video argument, upload a clean copy of your self-eval with URL at the top, right over your last one on Canvas by class time Wed.

Apr 25

Video argument revisions due. 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 on Canvas (put all your remarks inside the rubric or in the comments block). Please remember to do the course evaluation online.  Revise entries and resubmit on canvas by TH at noon.

May 2

Debriefing. Questions. Final thoughts.

May 3

Entries Due at 10 a.m.

Course Description Texts Assignments and Grades Schedule