The study of persuasion—rhetoric—has always been linked, in the classical
western tradition, to citizen participation in the democratic enterprise. In
this course students will begin by studying historical underpinnings of
rhetorical practice and study in classical Greece and Rome and then expand
their understanding of the art of persuasion by adding two significant areas of
study to this well-established and traditional terrain: world rhetorics and
contemporary digital, globlized rhetorics.
To begin to understand how the shape and form of public debate is shifting
under the pressures of new technologies, social media, and globalization,
students will read from and about historical rhetorical traditions worldwide
and about emerging new forms of on-line argumentation. Students will respond to
these readings in short papers. They will also perform rhetorical analyses of
new social media, formulating arguments about how these emerging sites for the
public consumption and production of argumentation, interpretation, commentary,
and information gathering/seeking are changing the landscape of citizen
participation and thus the democratic process. Assigned readings and prior
writing assignments will prepare students to collaboratively produce a public
e-zine which will feature their own argumentative essays.
Assignments will include weekly
updates posted to our class’s social networking site, short essays written in
response to assigned readings, a rhetorical analysis, and a public argument to
be published in an e-zine that will be produced by the class.
Required text: Crowley, Sharon
and Hawhee, Debra: Ancient Rhetorics for
Contemporary Students,5th edition. Available at UH bookstore.