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2018-19 Calendar

Visit this link for the updated calendar description and list of courses.

Summer Courses 2019

Good writing happens only through revision. But before you can revise, you need to see your writing afresh. How can you escape the "intractable subjectivity" (Joseph Williams) of composition? How can you learn to edit yourself? This course teaches ways to detach from a draft, review it on different levels, identify possible issues, and strengthen weak spots. We will draw on both professional editorial strategies and long-standing writing advice to help us evaluate both content and expression. Writers in different genres (scholarship, journalism, fiction) will visit the class to share their revision strategies. Each student will need a piece of writing to work on, one that the student wants to improve. It could be an essay or report from an earlier term, a short story, a personal statement, or a media article. Course assignments will include applying self-editing strategies to this text.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 FCEs
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


Lecture: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-4

Room: TBA


INI 211H1F

This introductory course focuses on the process and craft of creative writing. Students will study short fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry by established writers, and learn to respond to works-in-progress by their peers. A variety of activities will help students generate, develop, and revise a portfolio of original creative work.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 full-course equivalents.
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities or Social Science course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
Method of instruction: lecture/discussion

May-June 2019

Lecture: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-4

Location: TBA


INI 300H1F

Aims to teach students to recognize the rhetoric of the professional workplace and to communicate strategically and ethically using written and oral discourse appropriate to business, government, and not-for-profit organizations. Case study analysis using ethical reasoning models is a central component of the course.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 full-course equivalents.
Exclusion: INI300Y1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities or Social Science course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
Method of instruction: lecture/discussion

May-June 2019

Lecture: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-1

Location: TBA





Program Enrolment

The Writing and Rhetoric Minor is now a Type 1 program. You may sign up for the program directly through ROSI.

Students may take INI courses even if they do not wish to enrol in the Writing and Rhetoric Program.


First Year Courses

INI 103H and 104H count toward Writing and Rhetoric Minor requirements, whether or not they are taken in first year.

First-year students who are interested in enrolling in the program in second year (or a later year) should take one or both of these courses in first year. (Upper-level students are also welcome to take first-year courses.) Any course that counts toward program requirements may be taken before a student formally enrols in the program.



Faculty News

Roger Greenwald, retired instructor in the Writing and Rhetoric program, has just won the 6th annual Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Award for his Song of Songs suite.

The winners of the 6th annual Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Awards are:

Michael Fraser for The Day Breakers suite: Emerging author, $1,500

Roger Greenwald for Song of Songs suite: Established author, $1,500

And those who made the short list:

Seasons - A Suite of Six Poems by Sally Quon

a.e. by Kerry Gilbert

White Raven Poem by James Dunnigan

Yarrow’s Offering by Carole Harmon

20 Ways to Die Alone by Elizabeth Rhett Woods

What Might This Be by Gregory Betts

Titch by Kate Marshall Flaherty

Yellow by Bruce Meyer

From the judges, and editors at Exile: Congratulations to all!



Daniel Adleman was recently invited to speak at a UNESCO event celebrating the donation of Marshall McLuhan's library and archive to the Fisher Rare Book Library. The topic of his talk was the important role of "the Toronto School of Communication Theory" (especially McLuhan, Innis, and Havelock) to the history of digital rhetoric. A version of his paper will appear in a forthcoming essay collection.

Another recent essay, "The Medium is the Massacre," about the significance of rhetorical media environments in Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, will appear in a forthcoming essay collection entitled Utopia and Dystopia in the Age of Trump (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019


Prof. Cynthia Messenger recently taught a grad class in MSL 2301H, a Museum Studies course at U of T. Through an examination of ekphrasis, a term from Greek rhetoric, Prof. Messenger explored the relationship between word and image in the museum. She discussed with students the rhetoric the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa is using in their wall text reference to the controversy over Chagall’s The Eiffel Tower. And she explored the use of the essay in wall text in the very recent exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts titled “From Africa to the Americas: Picasso Face-to-Face, Past and Present.” In addition, Prof. Messenger worked with students on in-class writing exercises in response to a press release and an exhibit review related to the decorative arts.
Prof. Messenger has a longstanding interest in the fine and decorative arts. She first published on ekphrasis in the mid-1990s, and she taught a course on Word & Image in the Writing and Rhetoric Program for many years.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018  7-9 pm
Innis Town Hall

An evening with cultural theorist Larry Grossberg: I’ve seen the future, baby/it is murder”:  Intellectuals and the ‘American’ nightmare
In partnership with the McLuhan Centre and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)



Writing & Rhetoric

@ Innis College

The Writing and Rhetoric minor reflects the belief that strong skills in critical thinking and written communication are central to a liberal education. The mission of this unique minor is to facilitate the intellectual and academic development of undergraduate students and to provide them with a powerful tool that will prove useful in graduate schools, professional schools, and the workplace. This non-remedial program responds to the University's repeated calls for initiatives that address the written communication skills of students from across the disciplines.

Innis College has played a leading role in providing writing instruction at the University of Toronto for over thirty-five years. Innis College's Writing and Rhetoric Program is built on a foundation of long-standing Innis courses in academic and creative writing and on more recently mounted courses in professional writing, rhetoric, and media. The Writing and Rhetoric Program draws on relevant U of T courses in a range of disciplines. The program's design reflects three interrelated themes.


Writing Studies as a discipline involves more than instruction in composition skills. Writing is related to rhetoric, logic, reasoning, and critical thinking. Writing is therefore most fruitfully studied, not in isolation, but in a multidisciplinary program such as the one Innis has designed. One of the main goals of the program is to ensure that students graduate with exposure to various modes of writing and with well-developed written communication skills. (Graduates of the new program could pursue postgraduate degrees in rhetoric, professional writing, medicine, law, communications, management, creative writing, journalism, and media studies, to name several possibilities.)


One of the oldest disciplines in the liberal arts, rhetoric is an evolving area of scholarship that has illuminated the making of meaning in a large number of academic fields. Today's "rhetoric" reaches well beyond notions related to the art of persuasion. Contemporary definitions of rhetoric focus on the relationship between discourse and social forces. For the purposes of the program, rhetoric will signify the patterns of communication identifiable in a variety of disciplines and environments. Students will be taught to recognize and use rhetorical strategies in their written work. The program is committed to the ethical use of rhetorical strategies, and therefore ethical decision-making is a component of program offerings.

Critical Thinking:

Innis writing and rhetoric courses all strive to teach students that good writers have learned to read and think critically. One of the tenets of the Writing and Rhetoric Program is shared by many of the University's Arts and Science disciplines: that problem-solving and creative, persuasive, and effective writing depend on the ability to analyze discourse critically. Students in the program will learn to identify strengths and weaknesses in the texts they study. They will learn that the critical analysis they engage in when they write is intimately connected to the rhetorical strategies they adopt, the emphases they impose, the tone they create, and the organizational plan they choose.


Innis College Awards