Is it sometimes okay to use harsh language in an argument? How can I speak to someone with a completely different worldview from mine? When is the right time to bring up that tricky subject with my significant other?
These are questions that the study of rhetoric can help you answer! Rhetoric focuses on the methods and values of persuasive communication; it asks how we can express ourselves and influence other people in both ethical and effective ways. This course will introduce students to major ideas from the tradition of rhetoric, while focusing on the application of these ideas to everyday life. Each unit will end with a roundtable, where students will weigh-in on major questions from that unit. Students will be challenged to think and write about their own communication strategies, goals, and values, and interrogate how they may be improved. Special emphasis will be given to twenty-first century persuasion, including digital forms of communication.
This course is designed for 200-level undergraduates.
Required Text: The Rhetorical Act: Speaking and Writing Critically (Karlyn Kohrs Campbell et. al)
Header image description: New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a woman in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a mosque.
|Week||Topic||Sample Reading||Case Study|
|1||What is rhetoric?||“Rhetorical Acts” and “Rhetorical Purposes” (KKC)||Making an Introduction|
|2||Exigence||“Understanding an Occasion,” “Rhetorical Purposes” (KKC)||Giving a Wedding Toast|
|3||Audience||“The Audience,” “Adapting to your audience” (KKC)||Roommate Disagreements|
|4||Appeals||“The Resources of Argument” (KKC)||Leading a Student Organization|
|5||Unit Roundtable||Roundtable topic: Top five questions to understanding your rhetorical context|
|6||Figurative Language||“The Resources of Language: Naming, Abstracting, Negating” (KKC)||Giving a Class Presentation|
|7||Evidence||“The Resources of Evidence” (KKC)||Changing to the Student Handbook|
|8||Style||“Style: Formality, Literal, Economy, Ambiguity,” “Prior Ethos” (KKC)||Posting on Social Media Platforms|
|9||Delivery||“Delivering a Speech” (KKC)||Interviewing for a Job|
|10||Unit Roundtable||Roundtable topic: How to evaluate “good” rhetoric|
|11||Refutation||“Purpose Related Challenges” “Audience-Related Rhetorical Challenges” (KKC)||Advocating for Social Change|
|12||Media||“The Medium of Transmission” (KKC)||Discussing Politics Online|
|13||Narratives||“Subject-Related Obstacles: Complexity and Cultural History”||Differences of Experience|
|15||Unit Roundtable||Roundtable topic: How can we improve our own rhetoric?|
|16||Final Exam||Students will be given a rhetorical situation and a response. They will use their course material to evaluate the situation/response and provide an improved response that builds off what they have learned. This Exam will be open-note and given in class.|