Reflections on the Western Front (WW I), Part 1

My spouse and I took a tour along part of the Western Front of WW I in Belgium and France this month. I did not, as I had hoped, post reflections along the way, as it turned out to be more work bicycling 40-70 km per day than I thought it would, especially on chilly, rainy days. I posted the following materials, making up Part 1 of my reflections, on Facebook during the journey. I’m gathering them here for friends and colleagues who are not Facebook “friends.” Part 2 and maybe subsequent parts will come later. (All photos are ours, Read More …

LMC3408: Design in progress, Part I

I’m teaching a “new prep” in the fall–that is, I’m teaching a class for the first time. This post is about my efforts to develop the course and shows some preliminary work, on which I’d be very interested to read your comments. The course is LMC 3408 Rhetoric of Technical Narratives (Fall 2016, Section D, listed for graduate credit as LMC 6215 Issues in Media Studies, section BL). The theme for the course is “Technical and Professional Presentations and Posters.” After teaching LMC 3408 this way a couple of times, I’m hoping to get a presentations course on the books at Georgia Tech Read More …

Law and rhetoric panels at #RSA16

Updated 5/27, 3:30p.m. EDT: Added session today at 3:30. Below is a list of concurrent sessions at the Rhetoric Society of America conference that have an overt focus on law and rhetoric. If you are giving a talk focused on law and rhetoric in a session not listed here, please add it in the comments! If you are giving one of these talks, and your presentation, slides, handout, etc., are available on the web, post a comment with the link. And finally, if I’ve messed up any of these titles or presenter names (which are taken verbatim from RSA program), please Read More …

“The Structured Writing Group: A Different Writing Center?” published

My short piece with Christopher Soper has appeared in the spring 2016 issue of The Second Draft. The full issue is available here on the Legal Writing Institute page for The Second Draft. You can find the text of our article here: The article describes the objectives, development, and some preliminary results of a program I led with Chris at the University of Minnesota Law School in academic year 2014-15. We wanted the “Structured Writing Group” (SWG) project to achieve some outcomes traditionally associated with writing centers: first, improving the student writing process by facilitating collaboration with a writing expert; and second, Read More …

Perhaps too many conferences? But external deadlines are nice

I submitted proposals, either jointly or on my own, to present at five conferences next spring and summer. So far, four of the five have been accepted, and I have not yet heard on the fifth, but I’m almost dreading it will be accepted, too. I posted about RSA 2016 and CCCC 2016 before. The new acceptances are from the Legal Writing Institute conference in Portland in July and the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference in Seattle in March–the abstracts for those presentations appear below. There are pros and cons of having so many conferences on the horizon. One the Read More …

RSA 2016–La même chose: Lawyers’ use of exemplary reasoning in persuasive writing

My proposal to speak at the Rhetoric Society of America conference here in Atlanta in May 2016 has been accepted. Here is the abstract: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, the more the stay the same. The French proverb counsels one not to expect too much from change. But what does it mean to s(t)ay “the same”? The question is of crucial importance in the law, where the Principle of Justice demands that a court should treat a situation today “the same” way that previous courts have treated “the same” situation in the past. Read More …

CCCC 2016 in Houston: New/now cognitivism proposal accepted

The organizers have accepted the roundtable proposal that I spearheaded for the 4Cs in Houston in April 2016. “New/now cognitivism: Strategies for theory and ‘literate action’” will include presentations from five scholars: Deborah Rossen-Knill, University of Rochester; Erin Williams, University of Saint Francis; Airlie Rose, UMass-Amherst; Jose Gomez, University of Texas, El Paso; and me.  Dr. Peter Elbow, Professor Emeritus at UMass-Amherst, will chair the roundtable. In my talk, titled “Relevance, cognitive environment, and audience,” I’ll offer a cognitive model for analyzing rhetorical performance by explaining the writer’s and audience’s “cognitive environments.” As used here, this concept originated with Sperber and Wilson (1995) Read More …