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Perspectives on Writing and Rhetoric (2012)

A Symposium Honoring Jeanne Fahnestock

Event Information

March 9, 2012
9:00 - 4:00 PM
2115 Tawes Hall

Schedule & Session Information


8:30 am  Coffee
9:00 am  Opening Ceremonies

  • Introductions, Jane Donawerth, University of Maryland 
  • Welcome, Kent Cartwright, Chair, Department of English, University of Maryland
  • Encomium, Shirley Logan, Director of Writing, Department of English, University of Maryland

9:30 to 11:15 am 

Session 1: Teaching Writing, Teaching Rhetoric

  • Moderator: Adam Lloyd

11:30 am to 12:45 pm.   

Session 2: The Classical Tradition

  • Moderator: Martin Camper, University of Maryland

12:45 to 1:45 pm 

Catered Luncheon

1:45 to 3:00 pm

Session 3: Science and Popular Argument 

  • Moderator: Lindsey Dunne, University of Maryland

3:15-4:00 pm  Honoring Jeanne Fahnestock

  • Moderator: Linda Macri, Director of Academic Writing, University of Maryland
  • Ira Berlin, University of Maryland
  • Marie Gigante, University of Maryland
  • Shirley Logan, Director of Writing, University of Maryland
  • Michael Marcuse, University of Maryland Emeritus
  • Leigh Ryan, Director of University of Maryland Writing Center
  • Marie Secor, Pennsylvania State University Emerita

4:00-5:30 pm  Reception

Session 1: Teaching Writing, Teaching Rhetoric

Elizabeth Driver, Director of Maryland English Institute
"Hotties on Campus: Rhetorical Appropriateness and the English Language Learner"
The challenges of using appropriate register in communication are often magnified when speaking a language other than one's native tongue. This presentation considers these challenges and how they might be addressed in an ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom.

Barbara Cooper, Howard Community College
"At the Brighter Margins: Teaching Writing to the College Student with AD/HD"
The special challenges and needs of the college writer with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) have largely been neglected by composition studies. Dr. Cooper will share her research on how impairment in executive functions of the brain affect writing in the college student with AD/HD. To help chart a successful course for this student, she will offer tactics and methods of good composition pedagogy that can help the individual writer with AD/HD and, at the same time, help all student writers.

Jonathan Buehl, Ohio State University
"Style and the Professional Writing Curriculum: Teaching Stylistic Fluency through Science Writing"
Dr. Buehl will describe a professional writing course that uses style to teach students about science and science to teach them about style. He explains how a focus on style provides a conceptual framework and practical resources for approaching processes and challenges related to producing scientific prose for experts, creating understandable documents for non-expert decision makers, and developing engaging popularizations. By treating style in each of these domains, students develop a stylistic fluency they can transfer to other settings.

Karen Wink, U. S. Coast Guard Academy
"The Rhetoric of Commentary on Student Compositions"
Comparing commentary in podcasts and written marginalia by multiple instructors for students' papers, Dr. Wink will summarize the results, considering commentary and revision as rhetorical situations with specific constraints and examining to what extent students are influenced by the instructor's discourse, through expectations for revision, investment in the topic, the specificity of commentary, and the degree of students' agency.

Session 2: The Classical Tradition

Sonya Brown, Fayetteville State University
"Beyond Plagiarism: Paraphrase and Power"
In her paper Dr. Brown re-examines the role of paraphrase in writing pedagogy to illuminate its potential as a rhetorical skill worthy of greater classroom and textbook attention. Paraphrase is not a neutral restatement because the writer/paraphraser is a medium between source and reader, affecting the audience's identification with the material, often profoundly. Additional analysis of and practice with paraphrase are likely to improve students' sentence level skills (especially as copia), as well as increasing their understanding of the dynamics between writers research, and readers.

Stan Dambroski, Federal Government Speechwriter and University of Maryland University College
"Intersections of Rhetoric, Linguistics, Criticism: Developing our Understanding of Vividness"
Dr. Dambroski will examine ideas about the creation of vividness in discourse, from ancient to contemporary theories, analyzing linguistic features of Ernest Hemingway's story "Soldier's Home" as the source of vividness in the reading experience.

William FitzGerald, Rutgers State University, Camden
"Artes Orandi, Medieval to Modern: Contemporary Prayerbooks in Historical Context"
Dr. FitzGerald argues that the primary focus of prayerbooks--to motivate and model authentic communication with the divine--constitutes a profound but undervalued site of rhetorical education. In his paper he reads contemporary exemplars of the genre (by Karl Rahner, Richard J. Foster, and James Washington) through the lens of the tradition of the artes orandi stretching back to the Middle Ages, and reviews the development and defines the features of the genre.

Session 3: Science and Popular Argument

Heather Brown, Monmouth University
"Saving Lives, Saving Souls: Spiritual Conversion in Abortion Narratives"
In this paper, Dr. Brown identifies the rhetoric of spiritual conversion as articulated in the autobiographies of of two pro-choice, abortion clinic employees turned pro-life activists: Norma McCorvey, better known as “Jane Roe” of landmark Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, and Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. 

Wendy Hayden, Hunter College
"From the Personal to the Professional: Self-Reliance and the Rhetoric of the 'Coming Woman'"
In this paper Dr. Hayden analyzes Lille D. White's 1893 address entitled The Coming Woman, examining the transition from the focus on women's sexual oppression to the focus on women's economic oppression in nineteenth-century free-love feminism.

James Wynn, Carnegie Mellon University
"Critical Exposure: Reporting on Radiation Risks in the Digital Age"
Exploring the news media's use of fallout maps to report on the radiation risks of nuclear accidents, Dr. Wynn investigates how the internet has transformed communications about technological risk. Comparing Fukushima (the first nuclear accident during the digital age) to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, Dr. Wynn suggests that the internet has encouraged more comprehensive explanations of the causes and consequences of risk and permits a greater variety of information types and sources. He further considers the risks and benefits of granting easy access to "scientific" information that may be used to support non-authoritative perspectives on risk.

Organizers & Planning Committee

Linda Coleman, Jane Donawerth, Jessica Enoch, Michael Israel, Shirley Logan, Linda Macri, Karen Nelson, Leigh Ryan, Vessela Valiavitcharska, Scott Wible

For more information contact: Jane Donawerth, Shirley Logan, Leigh Ryan (,

Conference Visitor Information

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