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Cultural Studies Program

Courses :: CULS C701 Topic: Rhetorical Theories of Cultural Production

Joint-listed with AMST G620 and CMCL C512

Monday, 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Instructor:  Robert Ivie

This course examines theories of rhetoric as a primary source of cultural production.  It features Giambattista Vico on eloquence, tropes, and the poetic wisdom of culture, Friedrich Nietzsche on rhetoric, metaphor, and the will to power, Kenneth Burke on rhetoric, identification, and the drama of human relations, and Chaim Perelman on the realm of rhetoric and the problem of justice.  These theories converge on the study of foundational myths.  We will analyze the constitutive role of rhetoric in political culture by giving particular attention to mythic formations, framing metaphors, and arguments of similitude. 

Readings will include selections from works such as:

Giambattista Vico, The Art of Rhetoric, trans. Giorgio A. Pinton and Arthur W. Shippee (1711-1741; Amsterdam:  Radopi, 1996).

Giambattista Vico, New Science, trans. David March (1744; New York:  Penguin, 1999)

Joseph Mali, The Rehabilitation of Myth:  Vico’s New Science (1992; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

John D. Schaeffer, Sensus Communis: Vico, Rhetoric, and the Limits of Relativism (Durham:  Duke University Press, 1990).

Michael Mooney, Vico in the Tradition of Rhetoric (Princeton University Press, 1985).

Walter Kaufmann, trans. Basic Writings of Nietzsche (NY: Modern Library, 2000).

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York:  Random House, 1968).

Alan D. Schrift, ed., Why Nietzsche Still?  Reflections on Drama, Culture, and Politics (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 2000).

Laurence Coupe, Kenneth Burke on Myth (New York: Routledge, 2005).

Kenneth Burke, Permanence and Change:  An Anatomy of Purpose, 3rd ed. (1935; Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1984).

Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives (1950; Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1969).

Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, The New Rhetoric:  A Treatise on Argumentation, trans. John Wilkinson and Purcell Weaver (Notre Dame, Indiana:  University of Notre Dame Press, 1969).

Francis J. Mootz III, Rhetorical Knowledge in Legal Practice and Critical Legal Theory (Tuscaloosa:  University of Alabama Press, 2006).

In addition to regular reading and discussion, the major written assignment of the course is a 25-page paper that draws from the theorists covered to advance an insightful argument about the operation of rhetoric and myth in a significant example of cultural production.