December 15, 2014

Writing Studies Collaborates with UMMC on OpenNotes Project

During fall semester 2014, Dr. Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch and a team of Writing Studies students collaborated with Dr. Craig Weinert, MD, to conduct interviews with hospitalized patients regarding the sharing of doctors' progress notes (OpenNotes) at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Students interviewed patients about what they understood about their condition from the notes, what they liked or disliked about the notes, and how they felt reading about themselves as patients. Preliminary results indicated that patients strongly favored receiving the notes, citing reasons such as having a reference of the hospital stay, feeling more assured of the care they were receiving, and feeling more involved in their care.

May 20, 2014

Professor Mary Schuster receives Arthur "Red" Motley Exemplary Teaching Award

We are thrilled to announce that Professor Mary Schuster has been awarded the Arthur "Red" Motley Exemplary Teaching Award for 2013-2014.

The Motley Award "recognizes faculty of the college who are outstanding teachers of graduate and undergraduate students.

The Motley award acknowledges faculty who:
* inspire and care,
* make themselves approachable,
* show an interest in individual students' well-being and in programs for the benefit of students generally,
* give of themselves generously in advising, counseling, and directing projects, and
* create an active classroom atmosphere.
Such faculty provide a model to undergraduate and graduate students through their own research and teaching, and leave an impression by their efforts which alumni recall with appreciation and esteem."

Congratulations, Mary! And thank you to the students and former students, both graduate and undergraduate, who wrote letters for Mary's nomination.

April 1, 2014

Reconstructing Oratorical Performance Space in Ancient Greece

Graff IAS flyer

April 22, 2014, 3:30pm
Best Buy Theater, Northrop
Richard Graff, Writing Studies & Literacy and Rhetorical Studies, U of M; 2013 IAS Residential Fellow

February 11, 2014

Upcoming publications by Prof. Anne Lazaraton

Based on her very productive sabbatical last year, Professor Anne Lazaraton has two papers forthcoming: one in Language@Internet and the other in the Journal of Pragmatics. "Aaaaack! The active voice was used!: Language play, technology, and repair in the Daily Kos weblog" is one great title!! Congratulations, Anne!

Writing Research Across Borders (WRAB)

The department is proud of the amazing presence we'll have at this year's Writing Research Across Borders (WRAB) conference! We're pleased to be able to support our faculty and graduate students to attend this prestigious meeting in Paris. Congratulations to PhD students Ashley Clayson, Kira Dreher, Brian Larson, Molly Li, Michael Madson, Timothy Oleksiak, Rachel Tofteland; to instructors Bill West and Kimberly Thomas-Pollei; and to Professors Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch and Christina Haas.

October 2, 2013

Internet Activism

Please join us at noon on October 21st, 2013 for presentations by Laura Gurak, John Logie and visiting scholar Constance Kampf on the topic of Internet activism.

"Art Interrupting Business, Business Interrupting Art: Re(de)fining the Interface Between Business and Society" -- Constance Kampf, Business Communication, Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University

"Dark Days: Understanding the Historical Context and the Visual Rhetorics of the SOPA/PIPA Blackout" -- John Logie, University of Minnesota

"Trust and Internet Activism: from Email to Social Networks" -- Laura J. Gurak, University of Minnesota

This event will be held in Nolte 229. All are welcome.

July 31, 2013

Graff awarded IAS Residential Fellowship

Richard Graff has been awarded a residential fellowship through the U of M Institute for Advanced Studies, for Fall 2013.

Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) residential fellows comprise faculty, graduate students, and outside scholars who spend a semester or year in residence at the IAS. Together they constitute a supportive interdisciplinary intellectual community in which fellows work intensively on their own research and creative projects and meet regularly to discuss their work and exchange ideas.

Fellows in Residence
Each year up to twelve University of Minnesota faculty members are selected as Residential Fellows. Fellows are released from all teaching obligations during the tenure of their fellowships and are in residence at our offices in University Park Plaza, where they can benefit from the community of scholars and share their work across disciplines.

Residential fellows description:

Graff participates in NEH Summer Institute

Last month, Richard Graff participated in a 3-week summer institute through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Office of Digital Humanities, "Humanities Heritage 3D Visualization: Theory and Practice".

This NEH Summer Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities took place from June 17, 2013 - July 6, 2013. The three-week institute was hosted by the Center for Digital Initiatives (CDI) at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

This summer institute brings together twenty scholars working in the humanities who have research or teaching projects that would benefit from real-time visualization in a game engine, published as standalone applications, web players, or on mobile devices. Participants are provided with a conceptual roadmap to the difficult but intellectually productive issues that surround the academic use of game engines, including the balance of immersion with accuracy, strategies for storytelling and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) in "serious" games, and questions of power and appropriateness in using video game conventions to represent non-contemporary or non-Western cultures. Participants will also receive hands-on training in the digital toolbox for creating game engine content, a basic workflow that they would be able to use in their own projects and bring back to their home institutions.

In addition to the regular participants, the institute brings together an impressive group of lecturers who specialize in the use of 3D visualization and game engines as research tools in the digital humanities, the institute creates an important resource in the form of a community of scholars--which allows for future collaborations between individuals and universities.


April 23, 2013

Schuster published in TCQ

Professor Mary Schuster co-authored an article in the latest issue of TCQ:

"'Standing in Terri Schiavo's Shoes': The Role of Genre in End-of-Life Decision Making," Technical Communication Quarterly 22 (April 2013): 195-218, by Mary Lay Schuster, Ann Russell, Dianne Bartels, and Holly Kelly-Trombley. DOI:10.1080/10572252.2013.760061

March 7, 2013

WRIT 4501 Usability course featured on Hennepin University Partnership web site

librarypic.jpgWRIT 4501, Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication, is featured on Hennepin University Partnership web site's home page. The picture is from the Minnesota Librarian Association conference in October 2012, where Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch presented on this project with three students from Writing Studies and with Amy Luedtke from Hennepin County Library. Pictured from left to right are: Georgina McNiff (S&TC undergrad), Mary Frances Hull (MS/CERT), Xanthe Walker (MS/CERT), Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, and Amy Luedtke. We are continuing this collaboration with Hennepin County Library again this semester.

February 6, 2013

Armfield, Li, and Gurak accepted to IPCC

Dawn Armfield, Molly Li, and Laura Gurak were accepted into the 2013 IPCC conference this summer in Vancouver. Their panel is titled "The Global Reach of Visual Communication: Pitfalls and Potentials."

February 4, 2013

Richard Graff Presents at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Richard Graff presented "Spaces of Oratorical Performance in Ancient Greece: Reconstruction, Interpretive Visualization, and Assessment" at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign last week.

January 30, 2013

Schuster and Reyman win CCCC Award

Congrats to Mary Schuster and Jessica Reyman for winning the 2013 CCCC Technical and Scientific Communication Award in the category of Best Original Collection of Essays in Technical and Scientific Communication for "Special Issue: Technical Communication and the Law" in Technical Communication Quarterly. Jessica and Mary edited this collection for the journal.

August 16, 2012

Breuch and Larson to present at Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication

Dr. Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch and PhD student Brian Larson will present a talk titled "Analysis and Impact of Student Research Writing in a Technical and Professional Writing Course" at the conference of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication at Michigan Technological University in September 2012. Their project focuses on "research writing," or the ways in which undergraduate students interpret, evaluate, and communicate research findings in a written report. They will share preliminary findings of an analysis of 30 student research reports in a technical and professional writing course at a large public institution.

June 13, 2012

Professor Haas wins Ellen Nold Award

At the annual Computers and Writing conference, recently held in Raleigh, North Carolina, Professor Christina Haas received the Ellen Nold award for best article on computers and writing, published in the journal Research in the Teaching of English.


May 11, 2012

Breuch and Rendahl to be published in Computers and Composition

Congratulations to Merry Rendahl and Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, whose article "Toward a Complexity of Online Learning: Learners in Online First-Year Writing" was accepted by Computers and Composition. The article will appear in 2013.

May 2, 2012

University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections First Fridays

This Friday (May 4) Bernadette Longo will be speaking on Edmund Berkeley with Charles Babbage Institute archivist Susan Hoffman for a First Friday presentation. Please pack your lunch and join us if you can.

March 21, 2012

Bernadette Longo Awarded ACM Fellowship

Bernadette Longo has been awarded a 2012 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) History Committee Fellowship to continue developing a biography of computer pioneer and ACM founder Edmund Berkeley. She plans to have the manuscript completed by the end of the year.

Congratulations Bernadette!

February 6, 2012

Congrats Carol, Lee-Ann, and Elaine!

Congratulations to Professor Carol Berkenkotter, Associate Professor Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, and Professor Elaine Tarone (SLS, CARLA); each recently received a University of Minnesota Imagine Fund Grant:

Carol Berkenkotter: "Symptoms in Search of a Concept in a Victorian Asylum: Three Case Histories."
Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch: "Writing Assessment of Student Research Reports in WRIT 3562W, Technical and Professional Writing."
Elaine Tarone: "A research agenda on second language learning by pre-literate adults."

September 22, 2011

Current Research in Writing Studies - September 28th

Our first Current Research in Writing Studies event is September 28th from 11:45-1:30 in Nolte Center 140.

Presenting are:

Kim Thomas-Pollei, "Rhetoric, Medicine, and Emerging Scientific Knowledge: Scottish Medical Education in the Late Eighteenth Century"

Anne Lazaraton, "And worst of all, habeus was corpsed": Language play in the Daily Kos Weblog using a passive voice frame

Please attend if you can!

March 21, 2011

Practicing Science, Technology and Rhetoric: The North-South Divide in an Emerging Global Order

Colloquium on Technology, Culture, & Communication

Description. This colloquium will highlight work being done at the University of Minnesota exploring the interdependent and global nature of contemporary science and technology practices. Participants will explore how those who work within institutions of science and/or employ emerging technologies, like (but not limited to) new information and communication technologies (ICTS), frame political, economic, cultural, and environmental arguments about the impacts of their practices on "others". In particular, we will focus on how the diffusion of contemporary science and technology practices plays out in transnational projects that span the divide between countries in the global North and South.

See full description and call for participation

No fee to register.

Thursday, April 28: Institute for Advanced Study Thursday at Four presentation in Nolte 125
Friday, April 29: Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change sponsored in Studio E Rarig Center

Please contact Bernadette Longo ( for additional information.

March 11, 2011

Schuster and Propen win John R. Hayes Award

Congratulations to Writing Studies professor Mary Schuster, and RSTC alumna Amy Propen. Their article, "Understanding Genre Through the Lens of Advocacy: The Rhetorical Work of the Victim Impact Statement" won the John R. Hayes Award for Excellence in Research for 2010 from Written Communication.

The award was presented February 17th at the Writing Research Across Borders conference in Fairfax Virginia.

Propen, A. D. & Schuster, M. L. (2010). Understanding genre through the lens of advocacy: The rhetorical work of the victim impact statement. Written Communication, 27(1), 3-35.

November 5, 2010

World Usability Day: Thursday, November 11

Please note an upcoming event, Usability Day, which will be held next Thursday, Nov 11 in Walter Library 402. As part of the event, Stuart Blessman and Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch are giving a presentation titled "Search Engine Optimization." Stuart is a student in our undergraduate major in Scientific and Technical Communication.

More info is available at the University's Usability Services website.

Please attend if you can!

2:30 - 3:15 p.m. | 402 Walter Library
Presentation: "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)"
• Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Writing Studies
• Stuart Blessman, Student, Scientific and Technical Communication

October 25, 2010

Writing Studies Parlor

The Parlor Committee would like to invite everyone to this year's first event.

Who: Professor Haas
What: "Building and maintaining contexts in Interactive Networked Writing:
An examination of deixis and intertextuality in Instant Messaging"

Where: Nicholson Hall Room 201
When: Wednesday November 3rd, 12pm

Parlor is a time for graduate students and professors to share their research with the Writing Studies community through presentation and discussion. If you are interested in presenting at a Parlor, please get in touch with Ed Hahn, Timothy Oleksiak, or Tom Wright.

September 3, 2010

Summer Publications

Joe Weinberg, along with Maxwell Harper, Joe Konstan, and John Logie, published "Question Types in Social Q&A Sites" in the July issue of First Monday.

Joe Weinberg's review of Gunther Kress's book Multimodality was published in the fall issue of Kairos. The webdesign of his review was done by Dawn Armfield.

Keith Harms was also published in that issue of Kairos with a review of the book Going Wireless.

June 29, 2010

Bernadette Longo awarded Imagine Fund Special Events grant

Associate Professor Bernadette Longo has just been awarded an Imagine Fund Special Events grant for her proposal "Symbols, Cell Phones, and Mirrors." The review committee, noting that this round of the competition was "especially intense," called Professor Longo's proposal "intriguing, well presented, and innovative." Congratulations, Bernadette!

June 3, 2010

John Logie on "The Current Presents: Sampletown"

Associate Professor John Logie appeared (around the 27 minute mark) on "The Current Presents: Sampletown" last month, speaking about how the music industry's copyright lawsuits shaped hip-hop and sample-based music.

Listen to the show:

May 13, 2010

Professor Carol Berkenkotter's book is reviewed in the journal Iberica

Professor Carol Berkenkotter's book, Patient Tales: Case Histories and the Uses of Narrative in Psychiatry, is reviewed in the journal Iberica. The reviewer, Francoise Salager-Meyer, is a well known applied linguist & discourse analyst of medical discourse.

Download Review (pdf)

May 10, 2010

Writing Studies at RSA

The Department of Writing Studies, along with the U of M's Department of Communication Studies, is pleased to be hosting and coordinating local arrangements for the Rhetoric Society of America's 14th Biennial Conference to be held in downtown Minneapolis, May 28-31, 2010. Organized in 1968, RSA has grown to become the preeminent rhetorical studies society in the United States. The society's broad mission is "to gather from all relevant fields of study, and to disseminate among its members, current knowledge of rhetoric, broadly construed; to identify new areas within the subject of rhetoric in which research is especially needed, and to stimulate such research; to encourage experimentation in the teaching of rhetoric; to facilitate professional cooperation among its members; to organize meetings at which members may exchange findings and ideas; and to sponsor the publication of such materials." The conference theme is "Rhetoric: Concord and Controversy," and invites participants to deliberate on a set of perennial questions: Does rhetoric civilize? Or does it repress and control? Or both? Does it express the self? Or dissolve it into a cultural miasma? What is the price of community gained through the language of social control? What is the limit of dissent expressed through the language of difference and personal liberation? Where do diversity and sameness meet on the human tongue and in the human condition?

Good luck to all the Writing Studies / Rhetoric faculty, graduate students, and alumni presenting at this year's RSA Conference!

Faculty Presenters:
Carol Berkenkotter, Patrick Bruch, Richard Graff, Laura Gurak , John Logie, Bernadette Longo, Mary Lay Schuster

RSTC Alumni Presenters:
Smiljana Antonijevic, David Beard, T. Kenny Fountain, Cristina Hanganu-Bresch, Erin Wais Hennen, Constance Kampf, Krista Kennedy, Joseph Little, Marianallet Mendez, Gretchen Perbix, Amy Propen, Andreea Ritivoi, Greg Schneider

Current and Incoming Graduate Student Presenters:
Paul Anheier, Dawn M. Armfield, Robert Baron, Joseph Bartolotta, Stephen Brasher, Timothy R. Dougherty, Ed Hahn, Elizabeth Kalbfleisch, Matthew Kaplan, Trent Kays, Aaron Little, Timothy Oleksiak, Tad Patterson, Jacqueline Schiappa, Kimberly Thomas-Pollei, Maggie VanNorman, Drew Virtue, Jeff Ward, Joshua Welsh, Mary Jo Wiatrak-Uhlenkott, Matthew Williams

Download a detailed, printable list of presentations by U of MN faculty, students and alumni.

April 20, 2010

The Opportunities and Challenges of Social Media in the Food Industry

Dr. Gurak and graduate student Dawn Armfield are speaking at The Food Industry Center's upcoming symposium on April 28th. Since the event is a week from this Wednesday, we encourage people to register as soon as possible. UMN students can register for free by contacting Lisa Jore at 612.625.7019 or emailing

The Opportunities and Challenges of Social Media in the Food Industry
The Food Industry Center 2010 Spring Symposium

Will Social Networking come to dominate marketing strategy?
What motivates people's fascination with social networking?
How has social marketing been used to promote and change healthy behavior?

Please join us for a discussion of these questions and more on Wednesday, April 28th (8:00 am - 4:30 pm) in the Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs on the University of Minnesota Campus.

Event information and the agenda are available in the attached flyer. Online registration is available at

We hope you can join us!

April 19, 2010

Prof. Berkenkotter selected for Imagine Fund award

Prof. Carol Berkenkotter has been selected by the Imagine Fund to receive a 2010-11 Annual Award of $4,000. The award will provide Berkenkotter with the opportunity to travel to London's Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine, where she will finish collecting psychiatric case histories from Ticehurst Insane Asylum (from 1899-1917.) Berkenkotter will also travel to Cambridge, to the Cambridge Library to visit the Charles Darwin archive. Darwin's correspondence with well-known Victorian alienist, James Crichton Browne is at this archive. The purpose for gathering this material is for writing a new book on Victorian psychiatry in the age of Darwin.

December 9, 2009

Writing Studies Parlor: December 11th

Please join us this Friday, December 11, 2009 in 345 Nicholson Hall from 12:30-1:30. We will be treated to presentations on the theme of "Computers and Culture."

Dr. Bernadette Longo -- "Human + Machine Culture: Where We Work"

Joshua Welsh -- "Brainstorming Open Source Software"

Writing Studies students and faculty to present at RSA

Writing Studies PhD students Mary-Jo Witrak-Uhlenkott, Matthew Willaims, Timothy Oleksiak and Writing Studies professor Pat Bruch along with English PhD student Lucia Pawlowski were invited to present at the Rhetoric Socieity of America's 2010 conference in Minneapolis, MN. A general description of their panel follows:

Inventing the Department: Rhetorics of Access in Writing Studies

As RSA convenes, we pause to remember the 25th anniversary of David Bartholomae's essay, "Inventing the University." As Bartholomae argues, the university should illuminate the performative nature of rhetoric by asking students to "try on the peculiar ways of knowing...that define the discourse of our community." But as Tom Fox suggests in Defending Access, the rhetorics valued in the university frequently invite students to participate in discourse communities in ways that keep critical attention away from the violence of the rhetorical system itself. The concerns for both Fox and this panel center on enabling students to critically grapple with writing as it welcomes, denies, or discourages participation in the university. Specifically, we focus on the rhetorics promoted by the new Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota as these rhetorics relate to the goal of critical participation.

November 23, 2009

Professor Christina Haas to Join the Faculty

We are very pleased to announce that Chris Haas will join the Writing Studies department in fall, 2010. Her articles have appeared in the prominent journals in composition and writing studies--Journal of Business and Technical Communication, College Composition and Communication, Research in the Teaching of English, and Written Communication. Her work also includes studies of writing in the workplace and classroom. One focus of Professor Haas's research has been, to cite the title of her book, Writing Technology: Studies in the Materiality of Literacy. She has charted the path of digital technologies from word processing, digital writing, hypertext, web environments, new media language, and most recently to instant messaging.

She has also been the editor of the internationally recognized journal, Written Communication, since 2004. That journal will be re-located to the University of Minnesota next year.

In spring semester, 2011, Professor Haas will teach a graduate seminar on Literacy: Theory, History, Practice.

We welcome her to the University of Minnesota!

November 18, 2009

Prof. Richard Graff to Present at CNES Colloquium

'Vocal Stylings: The Orator's Voice in Classical Typologies of Prose Style'
presented by Professor Richard Graff
Department of Writing Studies

***Friday, November 20th, 3:30pm***
110 Nicholson Hall

Abstract: In this presentation, Professor Graff will discuss the close linkage between (verbal) style and voice in Greek and Roman treatises on rhetoric and literary criticism. This linkage takes two main forms. First, several authors (e.g., Aristotle, "Demetrius", Dionysius of Halicarnassus) remark on how certain stylistic features of the written oratorical text compel an animated (or monotonous) vocal presentation in reading or recitation; here, the text's style controls its manner of vocal delivery (speaking rate, intonation, etc.). Second, the style of individual orators was regularly characterized in terms of its fullness or weakness of "voice". Although this is a metaphorical use of the term, often such characterizations appear to project known (or presumed) qualities of a given speaker's actual, physical voice back onto the style of his texts. This latter procedure, though suspect on several levels, contributed both to the hardening of a traditional evaluation of the styles of Isocrates, Demosthenes, and other Attic orators, and to the evolution of the theory of style-types (kharakteres lexeôs, genera dicendi).

This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by:

Classical and Near Eastern Studies
University of Minnesota
245 Nicholson Hall
216 Pillsbury Dr SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5353
F: 612-624-4894

October 20, 2009

The Modern Rhetoric Project: October 22-24th

* To what extent is modern rhetorical theory a rearticulation or transformation of classical rhetorical theories?
* To what extent is modern rhetorical theory a rupture from its classical roots in response to social, aesthetic or technological changes?
* Can we use modern rhetorical theories to generate contemporary rhetorical criticism?

The Institute for Advanced Study is hosting a Colloquium on Modern Rhetoric October 22-24th. Organized by RSTC alumnus, David Beard, this event features presentations from an international faculty in composition, communication and rhetorical studies, including work by RSTC faculty members Richard Graff, John Logie, Art Walzer and Alan Gross, among others. PhD candidates Kim Thomas-Pollei and Liz Kalbfleisch are also participating.

For more information, visit

September 9, 2009

Upcoming Conference Presentations

Joe Weinberg and John Logie have collaborated with Max Haper and Joe Konstan of the Computer Science department to present at the Internet Research 10.0 - Internet: Critical conference for the Association of Internet Researchers in Milwaukee, WI in October. Their paper, The ABCs of DEF is a study of Q&As on websites with an Aristotelian approach.

Mary Jo Wiatrak-Uhlenkott has been accepted to present at two conferences this fall. In October, she is scheduled to present on the identity of the feminist composition community at the 2009 Feminisms and Rhetorics conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing. She is also scheduled to present at the National Women's Studies Association conference in November. The focus of the panel she is on is the politics of memory and the history of domestic violence.

March 2, 2009

Bernadette Longo: Facebook: not just for students

Bernadette Longo, was recently interviewed for a story in the Daily about how University faculty are using Facebook, a social networking site.

Faculty frequently use Facebook for networking, but not many have brought the site into the classroom. Associate Professor Bernadette Longo, who teaches in the Department of Writing Studies, is an exception. This semester, she integrated a Facebook group into her Information Design class and asked her students to join.
The group, called “First Step Initiative,” is centered around an organization by the same name, which works with women entrepreneurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The group has 109 members globally. Longo’s students are able to share information with people around the world via Facebook, but the site’s other opportunities are still unknown, Longo said. Since Facebook is still relatively young, teachers are still figuring out how it can be used to educate students, Longo said. “Who doesn’t love Facebook?” she said. “We don’t exactly know yet the full potential. It seems like it has a good structure for working with people in the whole world.”

Read the full article:

February 4, 2009

Laura Gurak: Retro Lingo

Professor and Chair, Laura Gurak, was recently interviewed for a story in the Star Tribune about words that haven't kept up with evolving technology.

"We press buttons to make a phone call, yet we still call it "dialing" a number.... It's similar to a concept called "semantic bleaching" in the linguistic world.

"What they mean is that the original concept gets bleached out from its original meaning.... The word is rooted in a literal meaning, and that's the way we become used to describing it. So when the technology changes and automates some of that or takes it away from some of the hands-on experience, those phrases or words become metaphoric."

Read the full article:

October 21, 2008

Professor Berkenkotter's New Book Available

Patient Tales: Case Histories and the Uses of Narrative in Psychiatry

patienttales.gifIn this engrossing study of tales of mental illness, Carol Berkenkotter examines the evolving role of case history narratives in the growth of psychiatry as a medical profession. Patient Tales follows the development of psychiatric case histories from their origins at Edinburgh Medical School and the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary in the mid-eighteenth century to the medical records of contemporary American mental health clinics. Spanning two centuries and several disciplines, Berkenkotter's investigation illustrates how discursive changes in this genre mirrored evolving assumptions and epistemological commitments among those who cared for the mentally ill.

During the asylum era, case histories were a means by which practitioners organized and disseminated local knowledge through professional societies, affiliations, and journals. The way in which these histories were recorded was subsequently codified, giving rise to a genre. In her thorough reading of Sigmund Freud's Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, Berkenkotter shows how this account of Freud's famous patient "Dora" led to technical innovation in the genre through the incorporation of literary devices. In the volume's final section, Berkenkotter carries the discussion forward to the present in her examination of the turn from psychoanalysis to a research-based and medically oriented classification system now utilized by the American Psychiatric Association. Throughout her work Berkenkotter stresses the value of reading case histories as an interdisciplinary bridge between the humanities and sciences.

University of South Carolina Press | Amazon

October 6, 2008

Bernadette Longo: OIT-DMC Faculty Fellow

From Bernadette Longo--

"For the next three semesters, I will be working with OIT-DMC staff as one of five UMN faculty fellows exploring opportunities in emerging learning environments, asking how we can incorporate these innovative environments more intentionally into UMN courses and programs. We have been working on this topic since August and it promises to be an exciting adventure.

"We have established a blog to invite people from UMN and anywhere else to join this exploration. We hope you will add your ideas and comments there. We are exploring a real issue that will impact the learning environment at UMN and your voice can make a difference.

"Please check the blog regularly because we will be adding posts and continuing the conversation there. And tell your friends!"

Congratulations Bernadette!

John Logie: Web comment sections, a form of free speech?

Associate Professor John Logie was recently interviewed by KARE 11 for a story about free speech and readers' comments on websites.

"Polite society depends on people not necessarily saying everything that pops into their heads," says professor John Logie, who studies the internet at the University of Minnesota.

Logie notes there's no easy solution for dealing with such rhetoric.

"I'm torn," he says. "On the one hand, there's the sort-of libertarian impulse to say, 'The more discourse, the better.' On the other hand, I wouldn't return to a site that is filled with that kind-of rhetoric.

Anonymity may be one reason people behave this way, although Logie argues it's just the perception of anonymity. Powerful search engines make it easier to uncover commenters' identities."

Read the full article and watch the video at

September 23, 2008

Laura Gurak: Teen Tech Experiment

Prof. and Chair Laura Gurak was recently interviewed for a story about teens and cell phone use.

Teen Tech Experiment: Can teens survive without their cell phones?

The history of the Boys and Girls Clubs goes back about 150 years. ... "I don't
know what they're going to do with their time," says Laura Gurak, a professor at
the University of Minnesota. ... "They're increasingly mobile, they increasingly
want immediate communication and they want to use multi-media technologies,"
says the U of M's Christine Greenhow.

To view:

September 5, 2008

Carol Berkenkotter: So, What Are U Working On?

Professor Carol Berkenkotter was featured in the latest issue of "UWomen," a special section in the Minnesota Women's Press.

April 2, 2008

Writing Studies at CCCC

Faculty, Instructional Staff, Graduate Students, and Alumnae from the Department of Writing Studies and the Center for Writing are presenting at this year's CCCC Convention in New Orleans.

Bernadette Longo, along with her co-editors Blake Scott and Katherine Wills, will be receiving their NCTE Outstanding Book award at CCCC this year for their collection Critical Power Tools. Congratulations, Bernadette!

Resisting Neoliberal Reality in the Writing Center: Durable, Democratic Networks in Long-Term Tutoring Practices, Relationships, and Program Development
Chair: Tom Friedrich, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Speakers: Tom Friedrich, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “Long-term Tutoring Relationships as Durable, Democratic Networks: Using Hermeneutic Study of the Essence of Long-term Tutoring to Guide Program
Kirsten Jamsen and Katie Levin, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “‘What makes a good writing center citizen?’: Two Case Studies of How Long-term Tutoring Relationships Change Writers and Tutors�?
Candance Doerr, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “Graduate Tutors and Dissertation Writers as Network Reality: Distributed Democracy or Social Reproduction?�?

Rhetorics and Realities of Change: Reflections on Theory and Practice from a New Department of Writing Studies
Chair: Patrick Bruch, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Speakers: Donald Ross, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “Rhetorics and Realities of Writing as a Campus-wide Initiative at Minnesota�?
Thomas Reynolds, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “Rhetorics and Realities of First-Year Composition at Minnesota�?
Tim Gustafson, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “Rhetorics and Realities of Teacher Development at Minnesota�?
Lee-Ann K. Breuch, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “Rhetorics and Realities of Assessment at Minnesota�?

Bodies, Water, and Money: Epideictic Rhetoric and the Rhetoric of Images in Science

Chair: Ken Baake, Texas Tech University, Lubbock
Speakers: T. Kenny Fountain, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, “Whole-Body Gifts: Epideictic Display and Anatomy Memorial Services�?
Fawn Musick, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, “Making Meanings through Visual Rhetoric in the Medical School Cadaver Lab�?
Derek Ross, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, “Sociopolitics and Dam Tourism: Glen Canyon and Hoover Dam as Recreational Areas�?
Ryan Hoover, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, “Scientists, Visual Rhetoric, and Grant Applications: Striking a Balance between Simplicity and Effectiveness�?

Institutions and the Writing In and Writing Out of Voice
Chair: Anthony Arrigo, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Speakers: Katy Southern, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Writing Histories of the Overlooked: Gender, Status, and the Historical Record�?
Anthony Arrigo, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, “Puny Hands: The Rhetorically Constructed Identity of Hoover Dam Laborers in Early 20th Century Popular Science Texts�?

Rhetoric Department Alumnae
Jennifer Novak, Denver University, CO, “Shaping Future Biomedical Practices: Kairos, Tools, and the Rhetoric of Medicine�?

Open Source and Free Software Users Group
Co-Chairs: Clancy Ratliff, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Charles Lowe, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI

Not Just a Bullet on an Outcomes Statement: Taking Civic Literacy Seriously

Chair: Clancy Ratliff, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Clancy Ratliff, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, “What Can Composition Learn from Bloggers’ Civic Writing? Tapping Into the Agora�?

March 12, 2008

The Rhetorical Tradition Meets the World Wide Web and Contemporary War Images

Richard Graff recently presented "The Rhetorical Tradition Meets the World Wide Web and Contemporary War Images": A Reconfiguring Rhetorical Studies event at UMD (with Marguerite Helmers).

Several dozen students and faculty from three departments were present.

January 3, 2008

Book co-edited by Prof. Longo wins NCTE Award

The edited collection Critical Power Tools: Technical Communication and Cultural Studies (ed. Blake Scott, Bernadette Longo, and Katherine Wills) has just been announced as the the winner of the 2007 NCTE Award in Technical and Scientific Communications for the Best Collection of Essays on Technical and Scientific Communication. The award will be presented at the ATTW Conference (part of CCCC) on April 2, 2008 in New Orleans. Congratulations to Bernadette and her co-editors on this important recognition.

December 28, 2007

America's Great Gun Game

McDowell, E. E. (2007). America’s great gun game : gun ownership vs. Americans’ safety : an outline of the need for increased federal gun legislation. New York : iUniverse.

mcdowell_bk.jpgMore than 30,000 American deaths are caused each year by firearms, and more than 230,000,000 guns exist in the United States today. America's Great Gun Game: Gun Ownership vs. Americans' Safety presents two sides of the gun issue- the gun control advocates, the silent majority; and the gun rights supporters, the vocal minority. Author Earl E. McDowell urges the silent majority to become the vocal majority as he tackles the controversial topics of gun control and concealed carry laws.

Unlike other volumes on the gun issue, America's Great Gun Game challenges the National Rifle Association's interpretation of the Second Amendment by citing the opinions of Supreme Court justices, the president of the American Bar Association, state and federal legislators, and former U.S. presidents. McDowell traces attempted presidential assassinations and presents a detailed account of the gun movements from 1922 through 2000, assessing which side won the gun game for each movement. Gun Game is unique, as it also reports statistics on how guns affect women and children and which women's and children's organizations support gun control.

America's Great Gun Game presents McDowell's thoroughly researched argument in favor of stopping the proliferation of guns throughout the United States and the increasing need for federal gun control legislation.

Profits from the book will be contributed to women’s and children’s pro-gun control organizations.

Earl E. McDowell, Ph.D., is a professor of scientific and technical communication and was the director of graduate studies for the MS program in Scientific and Technical Communication from 1991 to 2005 at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of the awarding winning textbook: Interviewing Practices for Technical Writers, Baywood Press. His book Research Methods in Scientific and Technical Communication, Burgess Publishing, focuses on experimental and survey research. He also has published over 50 articles in communication journals.

The Scientific Literature: A Guided Tour

Harmon, J. E., & Gross, A. G. (2007). The scientific literature a guided tour. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

gross_book.gifThe scientific article has been a hallmark of the career of every important western scientist since the seventeenth century. Yet its role in the history of science has not been fully explored. Joseph E. Harmon and Alan G. Gross remedy this oversight with The Scientific Literature, a collection of writings—excerpts from scientific articles, letters, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, and magazines—that illustrates the origin of the scientific article in 1665 and its evolution over the next three and a half centuries.

Featuring articles—as well as sixty tables and illustrations, tools vital to scientific communication—that represent the broad sweep of modern science, The Scientific Literature is a historical tour through both the rhetorical strategies that scientists employ to share their discoveries and the methods that scientists use to argue claims of new knowledge. Commentaries that explain each excerpt’s scientific and historical context and analyze its communication strategy accompany each entry.

A unique anthology, The Scientific Literature will allow both the scholar and the general reader to experience first hand the development of modern science.

[From the University of Chicago Press]

October 31, 2007

Dr. Kastman Breuch receives Alumni Recognition Award

On October 18, 2007, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Ph.D., received an Alumni Recognition Award from the department of English at Iowa State University, where she graduated with her Ph.D. in 1998. The alumni awards are reserved for a select group of ISU graduates who have developed innovative methodologies or taken novel approaches to the application of their knowledge and who have distinguished themselves with outstanding accomplishment in their respective fields. Breuch was honored for her accomplishments including her book Virtual Peer Review: Teaching and Learning about Writing in Online Environments from SUNY Press (2004), her work with online tutoring, online writing instruction, and usability of online interfaces at the University of Minnesota.

October 19, 2007

Dr. Berkenkotter's book to be published by the University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina Press has accepted for publication Professor Berkenkotter's book, Patient Tales: Cases Histories and the Uses of Narrative in Psychiatry.

Patient Tales is a study of the evolution of psychiatry's case histories from their first mid- 18th century appearance in medical records in the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary to the published case narratives in the American Journal of Psychiatry between 1968-2002.

October 1, 2007

Arthur Walzer Published in Rhetorica

An essay by Art Walzer was published in the most recent issue of Rhetorica, the journal of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR). Title: "Blair's Ideal Orator: Civic Rhetoric and Christian Politeness in Lectures 25-34," Rhetorica 25 (Summer 2007):269-295. Art presented a version of the paper at the ISHR conference in Strasbourg in July 2007.

August 28, 2007

Bernadette Longo on MPR

In Minneapolis, city statistics indicate that Northside residents have higher rates of obesity and related health problems than the city as a whole. A lack of grocery stores in North Minneapolis appears to be part of the problem -- government studies show that a shortage of full-service grocery stores can be linked to poor nutrition and obesity.

August 22, 2007

Victoria Marie Mikelonis

Victoria Marie Mikelonis, St. Paul, Minnesota, died Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, at 60 years of age. Born in Dubois, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of the late Anthony J. and Victoria Baranowski Mikelonis.

Professor Mikelonis received her Ph.D. in Language and Literature from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1975. After teaching at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan, she joined the University of Minnesota’s Department of Rhetoric as a faculty member in 1980. Most recently Professor Mikelonis was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Bachelor of Science in Scientific and Technical Communication degree. She taught courses in international and intercultural communication, grant proposal writing, technical writing, and metaphor and schema theory. A popular and respected scholar and teacher, both in the department and across the University, Professor Mikelonis’s classes were always filled to capacity. Her research focused on the challenges of intercultural communication in a digital age; she spearheaded national institutes on technical communication. Professor Mikelonis is the author of numerous publications, including the book Grant Seeking in an Electronic Age.

Involved in funded research, she wrote grant proposals funded by the United States Agency for International Development for the Environmental Training Program and for the Center for Nations in Transition at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs. These proposals led to her many trips to Central and Eastern Europe, where she developed training materials and taught in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Above all, Professor Mikelonis mentored countless numbers of colleagues and students across the profession, always working to meet and exceed the need at hand. Her “can do? spirit was contagious, and her friendship will be greatly missed.

She is survived by two sons, Anthony Jamil Mikelonis and Theodore Samar Mikelonis, both of St. Paul, Minnesota; two brothers, Eugene C. Mikelonis of Liberty Township, Ohio, and Robert J. Mikelonis of Erie, Pennsylvania; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by a brother, Albert Mikelonis. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Saturday, August 18th at Saint Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church in Dubois, Pennsylvania. A Memorial Mass will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, August 24th, at the Church of St. Andrew, 1051 Como Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota. The Rev. Fr. Patrick Ryan officiating. A reception in the church hall will follow immediately after the mass.

Memorial donations may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice or to the Victoria Mikelonis Undergraduate Memorial Fund in Scientific and Technical Communication. Checks should be made out to the University of MN Foundation (V. Mikelonis Undergraduate Memorial Fund in the memo line) and mailed to the University of Minnesota, Dept. of Writing Studies, 180 Wesbrook Hall, 77 Pleasant St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

June 27, 2007

The Viability Of The Rhetorical Tradition

The Viability of the Rhetorical Tradition reconsiders the relationship between rhetorical theory, practice, and pedagogy. Continuing the line of questioning begun in the 1980s, contributors examine the duality of a rhetorical canon in determining if past practice can make us more (or less) able to address contemporary concerns. Also examined is the role of tradition as a limiting or inspiring force, rhetoric as a discipline, rhetoric's contribution to interest in civic education and citizenship, and the possibilities digital media offer to scholars of rhetoric.

--From SUNY Press

Richard Graff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing Studies.
Arthur Walzer is a Professor in the Department of Writing Studies.

This book is available on and from other retailers.

Virtual Peer Review: Teaching and Learning about Writing in Online Environments

Offers a thorough look at peer review in virtual environments.

In a reassessment of peer review practices, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch explores how computer technology changes our understanding of this activity. She defines "virtual peer review" as the use of computer technology to exchange and respond to one another's writing in order to improve it. Arguing that peer review goes through a remediation when conducted in virtual environments, the author suggests that virtual peer review highlights a unique intersection of social theories of language and technological literacy.

--From SUNY Press

Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing Studies.

Dr. Kastman Breuch's book is available on and from other retailers.

Starring the Text: The Place of Rhetoric in Science Studies

Grossweb.jpg Starring the Text: The Place of Rhetoric in Science Studies firmly establishes the rhetorical analysis of science as a respected field of study. Alan G. Gross, one of rhetoric’s foremost authorities, summarizes the state of the field and demonstrates the role of rhetorical analysis in the sciences. He documents the limits of such analyses with examples from biology and physics, explores their range of application, and sheds light on the tangled relationships between science and society. In this deep revision of his important Rhetoric of Science, Gross examines how rhetorical analyses have a wide range of application, effectively exploring the generation, spread, certification, and closure that characterize scientific knowledge. Gross anchors his position in philosophical rather than in rhetorical arguments and maintains there is rhetorical criticism from which the sciences cannot be excluded.

Gross employs a variety of case studies and examples to assess the limits of the rhetorical analysis of science. For example, in examining avian taxonomy, he demonstrates that both taxonomical and evolutionary species are the product of rhetorical interactions. A review of Newton’s two formulations of optical research illustrates that their only significant difference is rhetorical, a difference in patterns of style, arrangement, and argument. Gross also explores the range of rhetorical analysis in his consideration of the "evolution of evolution" of Darwin’s notebooks. In his analysis of science and society, he explains the limits of citizen action in executive, judicial, and legislative democratic realms in the struggle to prevent, ameliorate, and provide adequate compensation for occupational disease. By using philosophical, historical, and psychological perspectives, Gross concludes, rhetorical analysis can also supplement other viewpoints in resolving intellectual problems.

Starring the Text, which includes fourteen illustrations, is an updated, readable study geared to rhetoricians, historians, philosophers, and sociologists interested in science. The volume effectively demonstrates that the rhetoric of science is a natural extension of rhetorical theory and criticism.

--From Southern Illinois University Press

Alan Gross is a Professor in the Department of Writing Studies.

Dr. Gross' book is for sale on and from other retailers.

April 13, 2007

Peers, Pirates, & Persuasion

John Logie, Associate Professor in the Department of Writing Studies, has recently published his book, Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion: Rhetoric in the Peer-to-Peer Debates. peerspiratespersuasion.jpg

"Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion: Rhetoric in the Peer-to-Peer Debates investigates the role of rhetoric in shaping public perceptions about a novel technology: peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. While broadband Internet services now allow speedy transfers of complex media files, Americans face real uncertainty about whether peer-to-peer file sharing is or should be legal. John Logie analyzes the public arguments growing out of more than five years of debate sparked by the advent of Napster, the first widely adopted peer-to-peer technology. The debate continues with the second wave of peer-to-peer file transfer utilities like Limewire, KaZaA, and BitTorrent. With Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion, Logie joins the likes of Lawrence Lessig, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Jessica Litman, and James Boyle in the ongoing effort to challenge and change current copyright law so that it fulfills its purpose of fostering creativity and innovation while protecting the rights of artists in an attention economy.

"Logie examines metaphoric frames—warfare, theft, piracy, sharing, and hacking, for example—that dominate the peer-to-peer debates and demonstrably shape public policy on the use and exchange of digital media. Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion identifies the Napster case as a failed opportunity for a productive national discussion on intellectual property rights and responsibilities in digital environments. Logie closes by examining the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the “Grokster? case, in which leading peer-to-peer companies were found to be actively inducing copyright infringement. The Grokster case, Logie contends, has already produced the chilling effects that will stifle the innovative spirit at the heart of the Internet and networked communities."

--from Parlor Press

John Logie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing Studies.

Dr. Logie's book is for sale on and from other book retailers.

April 3, 2007

Bernadette Longo receives President’s Faculty Multicultural Research Award

Bernadette Longo has been chosen to receive a President’s Faculty Multicultural Research Award to encourage and support research on issues related to people of color, particularly in a North American context. Her project, Nation Building as a Metaphor for Community Development in North Minneapolis, is based on her ongoing community-based research on food security, health disparities, and communication in North Minneapolis neighborhoods.