One core aspect of the AnBryce Scholars Initiative is that the students take part in an immersive travel experience. Usually, this means a trip to London with partners from Writing and Rhetoric, as well as the Center for Social Concerns (CSC); though, it has also meant a trip to Washington, D.C., when students are unable to travel abroad. The London Study Abroad experience is currently in its fourth year. According to our director, Dr. Paulette Curtis, its purpose is "to offer our students an experience that would introduce them to the knowledge, communication skills, and perspectives they will need to succeed in a global, interconnected world."
The London Program owes a great debt to Patrick Clauss (Writing and Rhetoric), Rosie McDowell (CSC) and the London Global Gateway and London Undergraduate Program. First Year students travel to London during Spring Break. Before they go, they must enroll in the university Writing and Rhetoric, taught by Prof. Patrick Clauss. Below is the curriculum description:
In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton observes that “a danger of travel is that we may see things at the wrong time, before we have had an opportunity to build up the necessary receptivity, so that new information is as useless and fugitive as necklace beads without a connecting chain.” de Botton’s point applies not only to travel in the literal sense, physically going from one location to another, but also travel in a metaphoric sense, the kind of travel a scholar undertakes while moving through a complex research and writing process.
How might one build up such a necessary receptivity, ensuring that new information and new experiences are not “useless and fugitive . . . without a connecting chain”? The study of rhetoric offers answers: Rhetoric—understood here as the science of argumentation (privileging logos) and the art of persuasion (privileging ethos and pathos)—trains one to be a skilled researcher, speaker, and writer. Additionally, within the liberal arts tradition, the study of rhetoric also trains one in ways of knowing, of being receptive to how seemingly disparate information, old and new, fits together. Thus, in this section of Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric, specifically designed for AnBryce Scholars, we will travel together, literally and metaphorically. As we do, we will cultivate our receptivity to the rhetorical worlds around us. Ultimately, our goal is to become accomplished and cosmopolitan arguers. Consistent with the missions of the University Writing Program and the AnBryce Scholars Program, we will research, speak, and write with integrity, compassion, and wisdom (also known as arete, eunoia, and phronesis).
A few words about argument: In everyday speech, we typically use “argument” to mean a disagreement or quarrel with others. In Writing and Rhetoric we will use “argument” in relation to the ways we use symbols, like language, to affect thinking and/or actions. When advertisers try to persuade me to buy their products, they are arguing with me. When a student tries to convince her friend to share class notes, she is arguing. When you compose essays for this class and others, you are arguing. In academic arguments, especially important at the University, we reason with others by advancing claims and supporting those claims with evidence. Academic arguments involve more than simply taking a position and supporting it; academic arguments also involve a sensitivity to the different ways issues are viewed by diverse audiences or communities. Further, academic arguments adhere to important levels of ethical standards: truthfulness, courage, judgment, accountability, and respectfulness. As members of the Notre Dame community, we have a special responsibility to understand and practice ethical argument, no matter where or how those arguments take place.
One thing that may be worth noting in the above text: Because my training is in argumentation, rhetorical theory, and classical rhetoric, I do a fair amount with Aristotle in my WR course, including teaching students the Aristotelian concepts and practices of arete, eunoia, and phronesis. These are fancy terms for, in order, integrity, compassion, and wisdom--the same values that I saw mentioned on the AnBryce Scholars website at some point.
- Patrick Clauss
Dr. Paulette Curtis developed the Washington, DC program to provide an immersive experience to those who are unable to travel abroad. Extensive planning and help from the AnBryce Foundation, as well as Anthony and Beatrice Welters, results in a wonderful trip that gives the students a much better understanding of the workings of our capital.
As a global city, we hoped that DC would provide interesting points of contrast to London, as well as serve as a fascinating experience in its own right. Given DC's deep history, wonderful monuments and architecture, and socioeconomic disparities, DC provided a really important experience in the ways that global cities function"
- Dr. Paulette Curtis
Students take a personalized tour of the Capitol, attend lectures at Georgetown University, and learn about the gentrification of predominantly African American U Street. They also visit the AnBryce Foundation headquarters in McLean, VA.