Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy


Ohio State's program in RCL has a proud history as a national leader in scholarship and teaching, from the foundational work of scholars like Edward P.J. Corbett, through the work of alumni like Robert Connors and Andrea Lunsford, and now expanding ever further through the investigations of current students and faculty. In its support of scholarship on cultural theories and practices of reading, writing, composing, communicating, and consuming media, RCL is a rich and diverse part of the English department community.

Students in class.Rhetoric scholars at OSU ask how discourse works, and students in rhetoric enjoy a wide range of options for the study of rhetorical culture as shaped by class, race, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, and local context. We take up historical investigations into rhetorical practices; theoretical exploration of rhetorical situations, functions, norms, and boundaries; critical analysis of rhetorical strategies and choices within and across texts; and pedagogical inquiry into the transmission of expressive and receptive abilities. All these modes of inquiry help us to understand how discourse works across the genres and technologies of cultural production.

New students study composition in class.Composition scholars at OSU concentrate on areas of pedagogy (critical, feminist, and collaborative pedagogical theories, for instance), institutional histories of composition studies, and composition theory. They may perform quantitative and/or qualitative analyses in order to study the writing process in academic contexts or outside the academy. Compositionists at Ohio State also study and teach business and technical writing, first-year writing, basic writing, and advanced composition.

Literacy Studies scholars investigate the practices, processes, and aims of reading and writing, recognizing that they vary—sometimes widely—depending on language, mode of communication, and social, cultural, political and economic context. Coursework in literacy studies grounds, complements, and extends the interdisciplinary educational experience of students whose professional goals or academic interests concern or involve understanding the production, expression, and comprehension of meaning. Learning and research opportunities include studying the acquisition, uses, and consequences of literacy; exploring literacy in specific historical or social contexts; investigating critically the profusion of new literacies; and evaluating and redeveloping communication to meet new and emerging needs.

In addition to our academic research and productions, RCL at OSU is truly a scholarly community.  In addition to participating in English departmental functions, our RCL Faculty, staff, and students also meet regularly to review and revise RCL curricula, discuss recent research, and socialize casually.