Southern Utah University has always valued its surrounding area's history and diversity. The University offers a myriad of classes on culture, diversity, inclusion, and the like, and it just added another. The Southern Paiute and Native American Rhetoric class (ENGL 4160), taught by Dr. Julia Combs, is providing students with the unique opportunity to better understand the language and culture of the Southern Paiute people that reside in southern Utah.
“The real purpose of the class is to learn to listen rhetorically, to learn what kinds of communication are valuable to the group, and learn how to be better allies in their efforts to preserve their culture,” said Dr. Combs, English professor and director of SUU’s Writing Center. “To set aside biases and listen to what someone is saying and why they’re saying it. I think the students are really benefiting from this kind of cultural enrichment.”
Knowledge-keepers, or Elders, from the Southern Paiute tribe, are invited to the class to teach about their culture and their language, and each student’s job is to practice rhetorical listening–a way of critically thinking while remaining open to new ideas surrounding people, culture, and language.
Dr. Julia Combs's research focuses on the history of rhetoric, particularly feminist rhetoric of the seventeenth century, the rhetoric of place and space and writing in the disciplines. Book an interview via her profile link above.
Julia Combs Associate Professor of English
Specializing in the history of feminist rhetoric, seventeenth century rhetoric, and international writing centers