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English Graduate Concentration in Writing History and Theory - WHiT
English Graduate students at the Ph.D. level can elect to take the concentration in Writing History and Theory (WHiT) as part of their graduate coursework. The WHiT program, developed by the Department of English in 2000, can function as a primary or secondary concentration: You can elect WHiT as your main area of study -- or you can pursue the concentration as secondary or supplemental to some other area of graduate study in English.
For further details about the WHiT Concentration, contact Athena Vrettos, Director of Graduate Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org .
The concentration in Writing History and Theory examines the practice of "writing" as historically, culturally, and technologically situated. Students will study rhetoric theory and history, the history of writing and publishing practices, linguistics and semiotics, and digital communication theory. The program focuses on the relationship between textual features (e.g., word-image interface, lexical and grammatical choices, document design) and global and rhetorical issues, such as text production and circulation, copyright, audience, ethics, and rhetorical effect. The aim of the program is to develop a deeper understanding of the way that writing functions in disciplines, in organizations, in institutions (like business and academia), in society, and in cultures more generally.
Students will take a core course in rhetoric theory (ENGL 501), which will function as an overview course for the program. They will also take at least two courses in three general areas: history of writing, digital writing, and linguistics and semiotics. While providing students with a theoretical and historical background to the study of writing, the WHiT concentration also requires practical courses in writing and teaching designed to prepare teachers and professional writers.
For Ph.D. students, the WHiT concentration will prepare them for an academic job market that, increasingly, calls on them to teach in a number of areas (composition, literature, linguistics, technical writing) and, increasingly, in computer-networked environments.
Students electing the WHIT concentration must fulfill the departmental requirements for their graduate English program (see Graduate Studies in English). To fulfill WHiT requirements, students take five graduate courses from areas A, B, and C below. At least three of the five courses must be at the 500-level.
A . 1 core course: ENGL 501, Theories of Rhetoric
B. 2 courses from two of the three areas below:
- a course in the history of writing (e.g., ENGL 524G, the construction of authorship; the history of the book; a history of rhetoric course)
- a course in digital writing technology (e.g., ENGL 487, digital theory and writing)
- a course in linguistics/semiotics (e.g., ENGL 401, linguistics; ENGL 410, history of the English language; ENGL 479, semiotics)
C. 2 courses from below, at least one of which must be from the "Teaching" category.
WHIT Course Offerings - 2003-2004
Projected WHIT Course Offerings - 2005