RHE 309K: Rhetoric of Freaks and Geeks (Spring 2019)

Spring 2019. TTH 3:30-4:45pm. Parlin 6. University of Texas at Austin.

309K Syllabus (Spring 2019)

What makes the garage-band burnouts portrayed by Seth Rogen and Jason Segel on Freaks and Geeks (1999) so freaky? Why are the Bill Haverchuks of the world historically picked last? Using Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s critically acclaimed television series Freaks and Geeks as a broad framework for the course, we will survey an intersectional array of well-known outsiders in popular culture. These outsiders, as we will see, reflect broader themes and trends related to marginalization. Thus, we will discuss processes of marginalization in society, as well as core concepts and themes, and we will explore how rhetoric contributes to their positions as outsiders. Meanwhile through your major assignments this semester, you will: (1) rhetorically analyze a cultural text that makes an influential argument about one of the types of freaks or geeks from our survey; (2) research and write about a freak and/or geek of your choice—human or nonhuman, fictional or nonfictional, singular or plural; and (3) advance an argument in a persuasive video essay about your freak and/or geek.

Assignments and Grading

Major Projects (60%):

1. Mapping Essay (revision and peer review are mandatory): 20%

2. Rhetorical Analysis Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory): 20%

3. Persuasive Essay (revision is encouraged, and peer review is mandatory): 20%

Other Assignments (40%):

1. Blog Posts: 20%

2. Timeline Presentation: 5%

3. Persuasive Presentation: 5%

4. Participation: 10%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Kidd, Dustin. Pop Culture Freaks: Identity, Mass Media, and Society.

Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical: Analyzing and Composing in a Multimedia World.

Additional readings will be supplied by instructor.