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PWR 1EB: Changing the Story

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neon light stating we are all made of stories in color


Winter 2022: Sec1 TTh 1:30PM-3:15PM; Sec2 TTh 3:30PM-5:15PM

Spring 2022: Sec1 TTh 1:30PM-3:15PM; Sec2 TTh 3:30PM-5:15PM

Units: 4

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP)

Prerequisite: None

Course Feature: WR-1 requirement

Who gets to tell or define THE story? At the company’s recent Connect Conference, Mark Zuckerberg said about Facebook that “today, we're seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people.”[1] It was all part of a strategy to create a new narrative through the launch of a new company name, an effort to rewrite the company’s existing story while building a new story based on what Zuckerberg hopes will become the company’s future. 

The concept of changing the story to drive a different narrative is not limited to the corporate world, the world of technology or politics.  We have many labels for these types of narratives, including reconciliation, reunification, disruption, counternarrative, etc.  Additionally, while deep seeded stories and narratives can be intractable and difficult to change, our current world, filled with a wealth of information, carries with it a “poverty of attention”[2] that can facilitate the development of “new” stories or narratives.

In this course, we will examine the rhetoric of speakers, politicians, filmmakers, YouTubers, influencers, bloggers, corporate executives, athletes and journalists as they attempt to rewrite the past and the present in order to reframe the future.  We will question the efficacy of these attempts at changing the story through different platforms, as well as the permanence and deep-seeded nature of these new stories.  In your own research, you will be able to develop questions that can range from the effectiveness of platforms (printed media, film, social media, etc.) in the process of changing the story, to how individual speakers are able to advocate for a new narrative notwithstanding the deep seeded nature of the established understanding.

Major Assignments


Rhetorical Analysis

(1500-1800 words; 5-6 pages) In this assignment, you will analyze a text of your choice that makes an attempt at changing the story.  Choices may range from statements or other communications made by athletes, corporations, organizations or world leaders.

Texts in Conversation Essay

(1800-2400 words; 6-8 pages) This assignment will set the stage for your research project. After choosing a topic related to changing the story or changing the narrative, your will examine how different speakers, platforms, or attempts at changing the story inform your selected topic on changing the narrative.

Research-Based Argument

(3600-4500 words; 12-15 pages) This assignment will build on your Texts in Conversation Essay in order to produce a well-supported (research-based), complex and focused argument drawing from a variety of sources.  


[1] Pardes, Arielle. “Facebook's Name Change Goes Meta.” Wired, Conde Nast, 28 Oct. 2021,


[2] DAWSEY, ELI STOKOLS and JOSH, et al. “Trump's Twitter Feed Traumatizes Washington.” POLITICO, POLITICO LLC, 5 Jan. 2017,