SYLLABUS: The Rhetoric of Space and Place in Atlanta

The Rhetoric of Space and Place in Atlanta


In this course, we are investigating the rhetoric of the built environment–interior, exterior, and digital. Places–parks, classrooms, social media sites–are rhetorical. That is, they are created for purposes, audiences, and contexts. Through rhetorical analysis, we can learn about their functions, who is welcome (and not welcome) within them, who built them and why. Rhetorical analysis also gives us a means to explore how the rhetoric of the built environment expresses and influences social relations such as class, gender, race, age, and disability.

Throughout the semester, in the reading summaries, multimedia annotated bibliography, built environment descriptions, and built environment analysis, students will explore the built environment of Atlanta. You will learn to analyze how the built environment employs the five rhetorical modes–linguistic, aural, visual, spatial, and gestural–to communicate information about its purposes, its creators, its users, and the social and historical context from which it emerges and with which it engages. You will also learn how to use these five modes in your own academic research and composition process. Think of everything we do in this course–reading, research, writing, documenting, note-taking, etc.–as the multiple stages and processes in a single, semester-long project, culminating in the built environment analysis and contributing to a collaborative archive of information about the rhetoric of space and place in Atlanta.

This course builds on writing proficiencies, reading skills, and critical thinking skills developed in ENGL 1101. It incorporates several research methods in addition to persuasive and argumentative techniques. A passing grade is C. Prerequisite: C or above in ENGL 1101. Projects will integrate a focus on academic writing with multimodal composition strategies designed to prepare students for working with and creating multimedia texts.

By the end of this course, students will be able to: Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources; identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation; use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences; integrate others’ ideas with their own; use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences; critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats; produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement; and reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.


Robin Wharton - English, Georgia State University

Robin Wharton – English, Georgia State University