Communication and Culture | Gender and Communication: Rhetorical Bodies
C450 | 26293 | Phaedra C. Pezzullo

Topic: Rhetorical Bodies
Class Number: 26293
MW 2:30 PM-3:45 PM

Fulfills COAS Intensive Writing Requirements
(A portion of this course reserved for majors)

Professor: Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Office: Mottier 206
Office Hours: TBA
Phone: 5-2106

We cannot take for granted that people know what we mean when we
talk about “the body.”  For some, it evokes experiences of illness,
pain, or shame.  For others, it seduces us to indulge in fantasies
about desire, love, or pleasure.  For most, “the body” moves us in
different ways depending upon the context and the manner in which it
is presented. In these times, however, the body is undeniably
important to questions of gender, communication, and power.  As
such, the body is necessary to take seriously in order to reduce
oppressive and painful patterns that limit us all, no matter our
gender or sexuality.

This course will begin by identifying the tensions involved in
reimagining the body from a rhetorical perspective.  We will engage
questions such as: how is the material and biological body
rhetorically constructed?  In what ways do the rhetorical
inscriptions on our bodies matter to spectacular events and everyday
life?  And how does identifying these corporeal dynamics help us
imagine a more democratic, just, and loving world?  From that
foundation, we will explore how gender and sexuality—understood
through racial, economic, et cetera, terms—intersect with the
cultural politics of “the body” in specific contexts of the
contemporary United States through three themes: (1) practices,
e.g., violence between intimates and plastic surgery; (2)
representations, e.g., pregnant movie stars pictured in magazines
and news coverage on the masculinity of presidents; and (3)
resistance, e.g., against rape on college campuses and body image

Ideally, students enrolled will have a preliminary background in
gender studies, rhetoric, or both.  More importantly, however, this
course is designed for those who are interested in further
challenging themselves to delve into specific communicative tensions
raised by gender politics in contemporary public culture. As an
upper level Communication and Culture course designed to fulfill the
Intensive Writing (IW) requirement at IU, C450 will require: engaged
and thoughtful participation; theoretically and politically informed
readings; and eloquent and provocative writing.


Required Texts:

•IU Coursepack, available on ereserves.

•Jack Selzer and Sharon Crowley, Eds. (1999)
Rhetorical Bodies.
Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.