RC Qualifying Exam Guidelines
Rhetoric & Composition PhD Qualifying Exam Guidelines
To take an area examination in composition and rhetoric, you are expected to do the following:
● Complete required coursework and, by the end of your second year, select two faculty members to direct your exam areas and a moderator who will keep time during your exam as well as participate in discussion.
● Complete core readings from the four major areas listed below and develop, in consultation with your examiner, a module of individualized readings. The core and module constitute one area exam. (Approximately 48-50 texts.)
● Relevant to RC students only: The second exam area is designed in consultation with a second advisor and should reflect your research interests as you move toward the dissertation. (Approximately 48-50 texts.)
● Approximately two weeks prior to taking exams, submit to your committee a double-spaced, six-to-eight-page rationale that describes the central themes and/or critical viewpoints made available in each area of study, articulates interrelationships between areas, and addresses the overall relevance of the exam to your future work.
● Prepare for the writing portion of the exam, for which you have two options:
o Four Day Option: Receive your questions for both areas of exam on agreed-upon day and return your responses via email four full days later. So, if you receive questions at 9am on Monday, you return responses at 6pm on Thursday.
o Two Day Option: Receive exam #1 on the morning of agreed-upon day and return it 9 hours later via email. One to three days later, take exam #2 in the same manner.
Students are expected to produce 24-40 pages of exam writing at the end of the exam period (double-spaced, 12” font, and 1” margins). For option one, students might aim to produce 6-10 pages per day. For option two, students compose essay(s) totaling 12-20 pages each exam day.
Please note that sample lists, exam questions, and rationales are available on the Rhetoric and Composition Canvas site.
EXAM AREA DEVELOPMENT
RC Doctoral Students (Approximately 100 texts total)
Non-RC Doctoral Students (Total number of texts dependent on field requirements)
● Exam Area One with one faculty member: Core readings + module(s) (48-50 texts)
● Exam Area Two with second faculty member: List developed with faculty member (48-50 texts)
● Exam Area One with one faculty member: Field specific for creative writing, literature, and/or cultural studies
● Exam Area Two with RC faculty member: RC core readings + module(s) (48-50 texts)
The core readings are intended to familiarize you with major debates and issues in the field and establish context for understanding the field’s formation and development. These readings in four areas support your individualized reading module (or set of smaller modules) that you develop based on your interests and in consultation with your advisor. For the core area exam, select at least 6 texts from each of the following four areas:
Qualifying Exam Core Readings in Rhetoric & Composition
Disciplinarity (pick 6)
Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle, editors. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Utah State UP, 2015.
Beaufort, Anne. College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction. Utah State UP, 2007. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Berlin, James A. Rhetoric and Reality: Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1900-1985. SIUP, 1987.Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Bullock, Richard, and John Trimbur, editors. The Politics of Writing Instruction: Postsecondary. Boynton/Cook, 1991. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Kynard, Carmen. Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacies Studies. SUNY, 2014.
Miller, Benjamin. Distant Readings of Disciplinarity: Knowing and Doing in Composition/Rhetoric Dissertations. Utah State UP, 2022.
Palmeri, Jason. Remixing Composition: A History of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy. SIUP, 2012. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Ruiz, Iris D., and Raúl Sánchez, editors. Decolonizing Rhetoric and Composition Studies: New Latinx Keywords for Theory and Pedagogy. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Schell, Eileen E. Gypsy Academics and Mother-Teachers: Gender, Contingent Labor, and Writing Instruction. Boynton/Cook, 1998.
Sirc, Geoffrey. English Composition as a Happening. Utah SUP, 2002. Follow the link to access both print and electronic versions.
Strickland, Donna. The Managerial Unconscious in the History of Composition Studies. SIUP, 2011. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Rhetorical Theory (pick 6)
Bitzer, Lloyd F. “The Rhetorical Situation.” 1968. Readings in Rhetorical Criticism, edited by Carl R. Burgchardt. Strata, 1995, pp. 58-67. Many copies of multiple editions are available from OhioLINK
Bizzell, Patricia, and Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. Bedford, 1990. (selections)
Blankenship, Lisa. Changing the Subject: A Theory of Rhetorical Empathy. Utah SUP, 2019. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 1990. Follow the link to access multiple editions of both print and electronic versions.
Carey, Tamika L. Rhetorical Healing: The Reeducation of Contemporary Black Womanhood. SUNY P, 2017. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
Carter, Christopher. The Corruption of Ethos in Fortress America: Billionaires, Bureaucrats, and Body Slams. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.
Gries, Laurie. Still Life with Rhetoric: A New Materialist Approach for Visual Rhetorics. Utah State UP, 2015. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Lunsford, Andrea, editor. Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition. U of Pittsburgh P, 1995. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Nunley, Vorris. Keepin’ it Hushed: The Barbershop and African American Hush Harbor Rhetoric. Wayne State UP, 2011.
Ratcliffe, Krista. Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness. SIUP, 2005. Follow the link to access both print and electronic versions.
Ritchie, Joy, and Kate Ronald, editors. Available Means: An Anthology of Women’s Rhetoric(s). U of Pittsburgh P, 2001. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Royster, Jacqueline Jones. Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change Among African American Women. U of Pittsburgh P, 2000. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Sheridan, David M., Jim Ridolfo, and Anthony J. Michel. The Available Means of Persuasion: Mapping a Theory and Pedagogy of Multimodal Public Rhetoric. Parlor, 2012. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
Smitherman, Geneva. Talkin and Testifyin: The Language of Black America. Wayne State UP, 1977. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Yergeau, Melanie. Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness. Duke UP, 2018. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Methods & Methodologies (pick 6)
Bazerman, Charles, and Paul Prior, eds. What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices. Routledge, 2003. Follow the link to access both print and electronic versions.
Brandt, Deborah. The Rise of Writing: Redefining Mass Literacy. Cambridge UP, 2014. Follow the link to access electronic versions.
Geisler, Cheryl, and Jason Swarts. Coding Streams of Language: Techniques for the Systematic Coding of Text, Talk, and Other Verbal Data. The WAC Clearinghouse/UP of Colorado, 2019.
LaFrance, Michelle. Institutional Ethnography: A Theory of Practice for Writing Studies Researchers. Utah State UP, 2019. Follow the link to access electronic versions.
Martinez, Aja Y. Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory. NCTE, 2020. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
Middleton, Michael, Aaron Hess, Danielle Endres, Samantha Senda-Cook. Participatory Critical Rhetoric: Theoretical and Methodological Foundations for Studying Rhetoric in Situ. Lexington Books, 2015. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
Moss, Beverly J. A Community Text Arises: A Literate Text and a Literacy Tradition in African-American Churches. Hampton P, 2003. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
Nordquist, Brice. Literacy and Mobility: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Agency at the Nexus of High School and College. Routledge, 2017. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
Prior, Paul, and Jody Shipka. “Chronotopic Lamination: Tracing the Contours of Literate Activity.” In Writing Selves/Writing Societies: Research from Activity Perspectives, edited by Charles Bazerman and David R. Russell. The WAC Clearinghouse, 2003, pp. 180-238.
Pritchard, Eric Darnell. Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy. SIUP, 2016. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK
Ramsey, Alexis E., Wendy B. Sharer, Barbara L’Eplattenier, and Lisa Mastrangelo, eds. Working in the Archives: Practical Research Methods for Rhetoric and Composition. SIUP, 2019. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Restaino, Jessica. Surrender: Feminist Rhetoric and Ethics in Love and Illness. SIUP, 2019. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. 2nd ed. Zeb Books, 2013. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK.
Writing Pedagogy (pick 6)
Arroyo, Sarah J. Participatory Composition: Video Culture, Writing, and Electracy. SIUP, 2013.
Bartholomae, David. Writing on the Margins: Essays on Composition and Teaching. Bedford, 2005. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
DeJoy, Nancy C. Process This: Undergraduate Writing in Composition Studies. Utah State UP, 2004. Follow the link to access both print and electronic versions.
Durst, Russel. Collision Course: Conflict, Negotiation, and Learning in College Composition. NCTE, 1999. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK.
Condon, Frankie, and Vershawn Ashanti Young, editors. Performing Antiracist Pedagogy in Rhetoric, Writing, and Communication. CSU Open Press, 2017. Request additional copies from OhioLINK.
Elbow, Peter. Everyone Can Write: Essays Toward a Hopeful Theory of Writing and Teaching Writing. Oxford UP, 2000. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans. Myra Bergman Ramos. Herder and Herder, 1970.
Inoue, Asao. Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future. Parlor Press, 2015.
Lewiecki-Wilson, and Brenda Jo Brueggemann, editors. Disability and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Sourcebook. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
Lunsford, Andrea, and Lisa Ede. Writing Together: Collaboration in Theory and Practice. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Request additional copies from OhioLINK
McKee, Heidi A., and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, editors. Digital Writing: Assessment and Evaluation. Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State UP, 2013.
Rose, Mike. Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America’s Underprepared. Free Press, 1989. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK.
Shaughnessy, Mina. Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing. Oxford UP, 1977.
Tobin, Lad. Writing Relationships: What Really Happens in the Composition Classroom. Boynton/Cook, 1993. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK.
Wysocki, Anne Frances, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L. Selfe, and Geoffrey Sirc. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Utah State, 2004. Additional copies can be requested through OhioLINK