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Academic Bulletin Rhetoric - 2006-07

Currently viewing 2006-07 bulletin

Faculty: T. McDorman**** (chair, fall), J. Abbott, D. Timmerman (chair, spring)

****McLain-McTurnin-Arnold Research Scholar, spring 

Contemporary society is marked by the persuasive force of various forms of mediated communication. The Rhetoric Department is dedicated to teaching the history, principles, and theories of rhetoric to students with intellectual curiosity and a desire to pry deeply into the workings of our symbolic universe. This means understanding one's role as an ethical actor, becoming an effective advocate, and critiquing the manner in which various media impact mass consciousness. This preparation leads students to productive careers in legal, political, professional, artistic and academic contexts. The Rhetoric faculty uses their research interests to enhance the classroom experience. The Department also sponsors co-curricular opportunities where students put the theoretical principles behind argumentation into practice. Students emerge from this program with enhanced critical sensibilities and the capacity to understand and challenge the institutional pressures that mark contemporary society.

Senior Comprehensive: Majors must pass two departmental examinations: (1) a three hour written exam; and (2) a senior oral presentation.

Requirements for a Major: Rhetoric 101 (or 143/145), 201, 320, 350, 497 and four additional credits. Students considering a Rhetoric Major should take Rhetoric 201 even if they are unable to enroll in Rhetoric 101. Rhetoric 370 (Special Topics) is recommended for all senior majors and minors.

Requirements for a Minor: 5 courses, including Rhetoric 101 (or 143/145), 201, 320 or 350, and two additional credits.

NOTE: Students are encouraged to take Rhetoric 201 (Reasoning and Advocacy) prior to taking Rhetoric 320 (Classical Rhetoric) and Rhetoric 350 (Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Criticism). Rhetoric majors are encouraged to take Rhetoric 320 and 350 prior to taking Rhetoric 497 (Senior Seminar).

Introductory Level Courses
Introductory courses in Rhetoric focus on the principles and practice of effective and responsible message creation and presentation in public contexts (RHE 101) and valid and ethical argumentation (RHE 143, RHE 145). Students become competent in a variety of effective communication techniques, learn to cope with communication apprehension, and develop and exercise skills in critical thinking, argument formation, and argument analysis.

Intermediate Level Courses
Intermediate level courses focus on mastery of the basic concepts and significant theories of persuasion, reasoning, and communication. This study will include the history, theoretical development, and pragmatic uses of the theories and concepts in a variety of settings. Students will develop the ability to evaluate, compare, and critique these theories from a variety of perspectives. Students will also utilize these theories and concepts for the purposes of analysis and application to rhetorical and communicative interactions.

Advanced Level Courses
Advanced level courses are characterized by original research and theorizing. Students will learn to engage primary source material in both theory and criticism and to produce new insights into the texts that they select as artifacts for examination as well as contribute to the broader scholarship in rhetorical studies. Papers produced in these contexts will be of high quality, possess substantial literature reviews, utilize original theoretical approaches to texts, and illustrate an awareness of the role of rhetoric within the intellectual history. These classes will prepare students to excel in their comprehensive exams as well as possible graduate training by providing them with the knowledge to speak critically and to view themselves as part of a larger scholarly community with which they are in dialogue.

Course Title Credits Prerequisites

Language Studies Courses
RHE 101 Public Speaking 1  
RHE 143 Political Debate 1/2  
RHE 145 Legal Debate 1/2  
RHE 201 Reasoning and Advocacy 1  
RHE 220 Persuasion 1  

Literature/Fine Arts Courses
RHE 240 Communication Theory 1  
RHE 320 Classical Rhetoric 1  
RHE 350 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Criticism 1  
RHE 360 Gender and Communication 1  
RHE 370 Special Topics--Literature/Fine Arts 1 Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. 
RHE 375 Legal Rhetoric 1  
RHE 387 Independent Study--Language Studies 1/2  
RHE 388 Independent Study--Literature/Fine Arts 1/2  
RHE 390 Special Topics--Language Studies 1 Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. 
RHE 497 Senior Seminar 1 Prerequisite: Students are encouraged to take Speech 320 and Speech 350 prior to taking 497.