ENG 181 Post OIF/OEF Literacy: Reflection on Syllabus Outcomes and FYC Objectives

The one major revision I have made in the syllabus since last spring is the refocusing of the course as a whole toward a specific set of learning outcomes to an overarching theme. As opposed to looking at issues of authorial voice authenticity arguments to style within the greater context of current, contemporary, and passed rhetorical philosophical and critical traditions as the course had previously been set up to do, this new delineation allows for these areas of evaluation to exist more closely tied to a specific nexus. The shifting of the class to cover the topic of post operation enduring freedom and operation Iraqi freedom literacies allowed me to begin to interrogate different linguistic constructs prevalent in the presentation, defense, and overall articulation of policies related to these conflicts across different administrations with different political ambitions and constituencies. This provided a very interesting way into analysis of rhetorical positioning as well as shifting ground on an issue as the issues themselves remain similar while different administrations soft and positioning in relation to them shifted tremendously. Is also provided a great example of argument shelling and the plethora of debates for and against the conflict as well as the countless discussions across the media as well as between White House staffers, United States generals, press officials, and international dignitaries present a great opportunity for access to all levels of the debate in which argument shelling will be an effective tool not only to understand the rhetorical positions and discourses being wielded but also to comprehend breakdown and counter they always present fallacious reasoning such discussions entail.

In keeping with this theme the reading selection also has to shift accordingly. However, and this allows me to incorporate different genres of literature in which I am particularly interested at the present time such as poetry from native Arabic speaking authors as well as the prose and poetry from returning veterans of these wars and nonfiction works by female authors living with him indigenous populations of the societies describing the social, religious, political, economic, and gender driven disparities which constitute their reality and provide a type of discourse, authorial voice, description, and textual specificity that is decidedly non-Western in both its composition and texture.

As with some of the research we have been viewing concerning code blending code meshing across linguistic traditions in the classroom, this new focus of the course will address some of these issues are more global scale by considering how literacies spanning English and Arabic arise following periods of conflict in these geographic and historically Arabic cultural spaces. Some of the latter texts they will be viewing in the course will include poems and short stories written in Arabic which entail a great deal of Western rhetorical position, thought processes, images, and poetic tropes as well as a number of poems from returning veterans of these wars the rely heavily upon the Arabic tradition as well as the metaphysical and epistemological heritage of Persian or Arabic thinkers despite their decidedly Western stylistic formal conventions and content.

Again, the portfolio assignment will be key in tracking these different literacies and their varied modalities throughout the semester. By using the argument shells as the scaffolding through which all the assignments of significant length dealing with writing analysis are to be organized and constructed the students will be able to readily track how different conventions and cultural heritages utilize different argumentative forms and rhetorical structures. By seeing these argument shells move from one genre to the next – from Western political discourse and mass media to the indigenous political poetics of Darwish, Adonis, and al-Bayyati— students will become further aware of how authorial voice and argument style are interdependent and construct a continuum of contexts, audiences, rhetorical positions, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and political capital.

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