R1B - 001 | CCN: 22144

The Craft of Writing

Water = Life, Silence = Death: Rhetoric in Social Movements

Instructor: Lilith Acadia

4 Units

When does a rebel or writer become a hero, or an uprising or aesthetic become a social movement? Why are some revolutionaries fanatics, and others dreamers? Why are some movements successful, while others fail? Are social movements undemocratic or necessary for democracy? Are they always utopic?
This course examines rhetoric within and around social movements. We will interrogate the boundaries and characteristics of these movements through intellectual, aesthetic, physical, spiritual, and political frames, examining films in addition to theoretical, literary, and historical texts. We will discuss "movements" as diverse as Ayotzinapa, Berkeley Free Speech Movement, #BlackLivesMatter, Black Panthers, Colonize Outer Space, Daesh, Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, Idle No More, and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.
To engage students’ individual commitments, each student will choose two social movements to study for two research projects. Assignments and in-class work aim to develop analytical techniques such as textual analysis, argument construction, and bringing multiple texts into conversation. In accordance with the University of California’s Reading and Composition (R&C) 1B requirement, this course offers rigorous training in analytical reading, thinking, writing, and research. It will reinforce skills from the 1A and introduce research methodologies, preparing students for successful academic careers across disciplines while presenting approaches from the field of rhetoric. To conclude the semester, students will produce a 10-12 page research paper in lieu of a final exam. Students will also give two presentations: one on an assigned text, the other on the rhetoric of a contemporary movement.