In this course, we learn about how writing varies across the globe. By this, I mean the assumptions about how and why writing is used to achieve specific outcomes; what kinds of audience-writer relations are assumed; the types of information that are most relevant and persuasive; how to best organize a paragraph, document, website, or manual; and what kinds of writing style are “clear,” “coherent,” and “natural.” We first explore the differences between stereotyping and generalizing and the need to ethically and validly compare cultures. Next, we learn and apply a framework for comparing cultures using common human thresholds of interaction. Third, we learn how to connect these thresholds to writing patterns, which helps us understand the cultural values of American writing, our own personal writing, and how both sets of patterns might work in other cultural systems. We also pay particular attention to writing and culture in our U.S.-Mexico border region.
This course explores intercultural rhetoric and professional communication, preparing graduate students to teach, practice, and research rhetoric in intercultural contexts. In the course, we first examine a framework of intercultural inquiry, exploring the pros and cons of cross-cultural comparison, generalization, and cultural stereotyping. Next, we learn a common set of variables or threshold of experiences that all humans share and that correspond to distinct rhetorical patterns. These cross-cultural variables include: I/other relations; application of rules; time/temporal orientation; use of context in communication; language, orality, writing, and communication technologies; leadership/authority; relationship to nature; and uncertainty avoidance.
Armed with this knowledge, graduate students are prepared to identify how these variables surface in rhetorical patterns across the world and how they interact cross-culturally, a process that denaturalizes many commonly held assumptions (such as clarity, directness, and coherence) about U.S.-American rhetorical patterns.
We also pay particular attention to writing and culture in our U.S.-Mexico border region, exploring issues of border rhetoric and border cultural theory from an intercultural (U.S.-Mexico) perspective, not the dominant (Rio-Grande and up) perspective.
This course introduces students to the extensive research and theory of second language (L2) teaching and learning and then grounds this work in L2 writing with the goal of helping researchers and writing instructors understand the unique characteristics and needs of L2 writers. The course examines curriculum development, writing program administration, and institutional policies, especially as related to the needs of L2 writers in academic writing and professional communication courses here at NMSU. Next, the course examines the roles of new communication technologies in L2 writing instruction and research. Finally, it specifically explores issues of Generation 1.5, bilingualism, and Spanish-dominant writers along the U.S.-Mexico Border.