day we are inundated with multiple streams of information in countless forms:
online news channels, newspapers, social networks, blogs, political satires and
cartoons, advertisements, and much more. We navigate them constantly, but to
what extent are we aware of how this information affects us? Given there is no
“neutral” statement, how attentive are we to the way information is spun as it
is communicated? Many consumers of information profess to already be aware of
and immune to the influence of media and political debate, and at the same time
unconsciously absorb and reproduce more than they might think.
This class is
designed to prompt critical thinking and writing about how communication is
constructed, consciously and unconsciously, in public scenes. Mainstream public
and political discourses in the United States are largely grounded in the
traditions of Greco-Roman rhetorical principles as they have been translated
into the present, and so this tradition will be our primary focus (but not the
only welcome one). In this class, you will have a chance to explore how those
principles function, both in how local and state issues are debated and also in
how you implement them in your own writing. Given this is a writing intensive
course, the grade will rest primarily on the various formal and informal
writing assignments, as well as on a journal/scrapbook, and participation in
class and in peer writing groups. The goals for the course are as follows:
1. Students will develop a more
critical awareness of how various rhetorical principles function in public
forms of discourse;
will practice analyzing each writing situation and responding effectively
according to purpose, audience, and scope;
will gain experience selecting and using the rhetorical principles discussed in
class through various -writing assignments;
4. Students will
build their writing experience and repertoire (and become more comfortable with
the writing process itself); and
5. Students will
expand their understanding of their own rhetorical habits, as those habits are
grounded in community and identity.
Texts for the course will include the
following books and supplemental materials provided by the instructor. The
textbooks are available at the bookstore or online.
Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee.
Ancient Rhetoric for Contemporary Students. 4th ed. USA:
Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson.
Metaphors We Live By. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: University of