Recent Courses

FSSY 146: Doc Talk: Language & Medicine

This course explores the role of language in constructing, experiencing, treating, and understanding the states we call “health” and “illness.” We will ask questions such as: Why do we fight cancer but mend broken bones? When (and how) do some experiences (e.g., sadness, hunger) become symptoms of disease? Why do doctors ask where it hurts rather than when or how? Is there a difference between saying that a patient is “med compliant” and that she has “taken her prescription medicines”? To answer these questions (and to ask many more), we will read primary research on medical language, visit several of Cleveland’s nationally renowned cultural institutions, and discuss the symbolic and social meanings of a variety of medical terms, images, objects, and patterns of communication.

ENGL 310/410: History of the English Language

This course explores the cultural, political, and linguistic forces that have shaped the English language from its Indo-European past to its modern-day present and its potential future(s). Many seemingly ordinary words – gossip, knight, she – and much-maligned constructions – could/couldn’t care less; like, you know – have complicated histories and important stories to tell about the development of the language. This course will investigate these (and other) stories as it traces the general sound, word, and grammatical changes the language has undergone in its transitions from Old to Middle to Early Modern to Modern English.

ENGL 400: Rhetoric & the Teaching of Writing

This course provides an intensive training in the theory and pedagogy of composition at the college level; it is especially designed for Case graduate students interested in teaching writing in the English department and/or through SAGES First and University Seminars. The focus of this course will be on gaining an understanding of major themes in composition research and scholarship in order to develop a set of coherent, historicized pedagogical practices. The course will introduce major theoretical approaches to composition and rhetoric, and it will examine a variety of topics related to writing pedagogy. We will ask questions such as: What is the role of writing in college students’ overall academic achievements? How do reading practices shape writing performances? What kinds of evaluation and feedback produce the best results for students? How do the politics of diversity and access shape composition instruction? What are the major professional concerns of composition faculty? Throughout the semester, we will devote significant class time to putting theories of and research on writing to work, developing and articulating our own individual teaching philosophies.

ENGL 506: Professional Communication – Theory & Practice

English 506 is a graduate seminar in technical and professional communication theory and practice. We will survey key historical and contemporary practices that constitute the field of technical and professional communication (TPC); explore how TPC practices involve the formation, ordering, and circulation of knowledge/power relationships; examine the roles of disciplinarity, expertise, and genre knowledge in the practice of TPC; and develop pedagogical strategies to teach professional communication to undergraduates.

ENGL 524: Rhetoric of Health & Medicine

The Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (RHM) is a field of inquiry concerned with the use of symbols to persuade and create meaning within the practices, institutions, and media of health care. RHM finds its disciplinary roots in the rhetoric of science, writing studies, professional and technical communication, and the medical humanities, more generally. This seminar will examine the history of this sub-field of rhetorical studies, interrogate the range of (inter)disciplinary methodologies it comprises, and explore the potential scholarship it inspires. We will read recent articles and monographs that represent a variety of approaches to RHM including: professional and technical communication, visual rhetoric, ethnographic and participant-observation, quantitative and qualitative studies, and discursive/linguistic analysis.