Skip to Main Content

Academic Bulletin Rhetoric - Course Descriptions - 2007-08

Currently viewing 2007-08 bulletin

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.

Introductory Courses—Language Studies

RHE 101 Public Speaking
This course covers the fundamentals of rhetoric composition and delivery. Students research, compose, and deliver ceremonial and persuasive speeches. In addition, they learn and employ introductory principles of reasoning, argumentation, and rhetorical criticism. Finally, students analyze the videotape recordings of their speeches and learn to use electronic media in public presentations. This course is offered each semester. 
Credits: 1

RHE 143 Political Debate
This course applies the principles of debate theory and practice to argumentation in the political realm. You will learn valid forms of reasoning and argumentation, common fallacies, argument analysis, clash, and rebuttal and how to apply this knowledge in the debate format. Students participate in parliamentary debate as a mechanism for learning foundational skills in oral argumentation. Students then engage in political argumentation and advocacy in both written and oral form. A specific international, national, or local political issue is discussed and students conduct research on the issue and its history. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Credits: 1/2

RHE 145 Legal Debate
This course applies the principles of debate theory and practice to argumentation in the legal realm. You will learn valid forms of reasoning and argumentation, common fallacies, argument analysis, clash, and rebuttal and how to apply this knowledge in the debate format. Students participate in parliamentary debate as a mechanism for learning foundational skills in oral argumentation. Students then engage in legal argumentation and advocacy in both written and oral form. These debates follow the parameters and conventions of Moot Court style appellate oral argumentation. When possible, students will attend a live oral argument by the Indiana Court of Appeals or another appellate court. This course is offered in the spring semester.
Credits: 1/2

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.

Intermediate Courses—Language Studies

RHE 201 Reasoning and Advocacy
Rhetoric 201 focuses on the process of constructing, analyzing, and evaluating public arguments. This is a foundational rhetoric course because it focuses on the development and application of knowledge in critical thinking, argument analysis, reasoning, and advocacy. It emphasizes the nature and role of communication in public discussions and decision making. The course highlights the adaptation of logic and reasoning to human action in a democratic society. The class examines public argument in a variety of forms such as political debates, speeches, and editorials. Judicial argument is examined in the form of Supreme Court decisions. Finally, social argument is examined through an investigation of selected examples from popular media such as television, film, and music. The course serves the purpose of exposing non-majors to the fundamentals of rhetoric and communication. It also prepares Rhetoric majors and minors for more advanced courses such as Classical Rhetoric and Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Criticism.
Credits: 1

RHE 220 Persuasion
Students study the theory and practice of persuasion as part of decision making in a free society. The focus is on the individual’s role as both persuadee and persuader with an examination of how to be critical, observant, responsible and ethical with regard to persuasive messages. The course examines persuasive language, propaganda, persuasive campaigns, and social movements. Students critically examine a variety of persuasive texts and participate in a campaign simulation. This course is offered in alternate years.
Credits: 1

Intermediate Courses—Literature/Fine Arts

RHE 240 Communication Theory
This course pursues five related goals. First, it gives students the background necessary for further study of communication issues in a variety of contexts. The central communicative issues highlighted in Rhetoric 240 include language, meaning, information, interaction, and influence. Second, this course gives students a grounding in the two dominant perspectives that inform communication research: the humanistic and social scientific research paradigms. Third, the course introduces students to the parameters and chief areas of concern in the field of communication and its relationship to other disciplines such as English, Psychology, and Political Science. Fourth, the course discusses the philosophical assumptions that serve as the foundations for theories and the ethical issues that arise in the process of such scholarly endeavor. Finally, this course focuses on application and develops student competencies in using theories to analyze communicative events. 
Credits: 1

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.

Advanced Courses—Literature/Fine Arts

RHE 320 Classical Rhetoric
This course focuses on the origin and development of rhetoric and rhetorical theory during the classical period. The course begins in the pre disciplinary stage of Homer and the Sophists and examines such works as Homer’s Iliad, Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen, and Isocrates’ Antidosis. The course then moves to Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus) and the “disciplinizing” efforts of Aristotle ( On Rhetoric). Finally, the course examines the efforts of Cicero (On Invention, Orator, and On the Orator), Quintilian ( Institutes of Oratory), and Augustine (On Christian Doctrine) to reunite philosophy and rhetoric and include ethics within the realm of rhetoric. Students learn how rhetorical theories are generated out of the specific needs of particular political and social contexts. In addition, students examine the influence of literacy on human interaction and the study of rhetoric in particular. Finally, students trace the relationship between rhetoric and philosophy from pre-Platonic unity, through Plato’s bifurcation, and finally to the attempts at reunification by Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Credits: 1

RHE 350 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
Contemporary studies in rhetoric have shifted away from the public address to focus on rhetoric more broadly conceived while maintaining a clear connection with the rhetorical tradition that stretches back to the classical period. In what has been termed the “rhetorical turn,” contemporary scholars and intellectuals from the fields of philosophy, English, anthropology, history, and other disciplines have revised this classical debate in a number of productive ways. Rhetoric, whether implicitly or explicitly, has become a focus of discussion throughout the modern academy. Beginning with traditional theories of rhetorical criticism, the class highlights the growing complexity of the field, proceeding from the idea that communication and media shape the culture in which we live. The class is a methodological precursor to the senior project in that students are required to read contemporary rhetorical theorists with understanding and utilize their theories and perspectives in the practice of rhetorical criticism. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Credits: 1

RHE 360 Gender and Communication
As a culture we often we take gender for granted. Yet, we live in a culture where men and women are molded and shaped by communicative practices and mass-mediated representations that generate our ideals of masculinity and femininity. This class examines this process—providing a platform for students to reflect upon gender formation and develop a theoretical vocabulary for describing this process. Students will be afforded an opportunity to study gender communication at both the interpersonal and mass-mediated levels. By the end of the semester class participants will develop a more sophisticated understanding of the manner in which gendered messages and practices have shaped perceptions of their symbolic universe.
Credits: 1

RHE 375 Legal Rhetoric
Legal Rhetoric examines the ways in which the legal sphere exerts social control and power through an exploration of the forms and function of rhetoric in shaping the law. Working from the belief that a legal ruling is the beginning, rather than the end, of the social life of the law, the course is also concerned with the social repercussions that result from Court decisions. Beginning with an examination of the classical connections between rhetorical theory and the practice of law, the course proceeds to discuss approximately a dozen significant Supreme Court cases and subsequent rhetorical analyses of these decisions. Students will develop an essay and presentation concerning the background and social importance of one of the cases under study. Additionally, students will engage in a semester long project that culminates in an extensive rhetorical analysis on a case of their own choosing.
Credits: 1

RHE 387 Independent Study--Language Studies
Available to students with the consent of the instructor. One-half or one course credit.
Credits: 1/2

Capstone Course

RHE 497 Senior Seminar
The Senior Seminar is a capstone course for speech majors. Speech majors conduct an original and extended research project in a sub-area of the field. In the process, they read and discuss relevant texts and journal articles as a class. The course covers procedures for conducting each of the components of the project (i.e., discovery and refinement of a research question, selection of appropriate materials for study, selection of an appropriate method, literature review of appropriate scholarship, the analysis itself and the preparation of the manuscript). This course also provides senior majors a forum for the investigation and discussion of the ethical issues and responsibilities they have as communicators. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: Students are encouraged to take Speech 320 and Speech 350 prior to taking 497.
Credits: 1