The Hub of the Universe

In an 1858 column published in The Atlantic Monthly Oliver Wendell Holmes half-humorously proclaimed Boston’s State House to be the “Hub of the Solar System,” an audacious brag that civic boosters soon upgraded by nicknaming Boston “The Hub of the Universe” (source).

We’re putting that claim to the test this semester, with many of you here in person, and others spread across the globe, linked by the connective tissue of the “World Wide Web” (a more recent metaphor, to be sure). In person students will be going on a series of excursions in and around the city, while those joining us remote will engage via Zoom on tours led by Prof Rhodes. It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s an improvement on last year’s all-remote summer semester.

A few years back, Boston University borrowed Holmes’ “Hub” for its revision to distribution requirements. Under the BU Hub, Rhetoric 103 had an Oral Communication component, while Rhet 104 has a Digital/Multimedia Expression component. For this reason, our first Rhetoric assignment will focus on the visual rhetoric of motion pictures, while our final assignment will ask you to create a short film. In addition, one of the interdisciplinary assignments is another photo essay, a medium in which I will provide instruction.

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