Communication and Culture | Introduction to Rhetoric and Public Culture
C501 | 26295 | Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Class Number: 26295
Wednesdays 9:30 AM-12:00 PM
Open to Graduates Only!
(Cross-listed as C601: Introduction to Cultural Studies. Class
Professor: Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Office: Mottier 206
Office hours: TBA
As the title indicates, this graduate seminar is designed to provide
a preliminary overture into rhetoric and public culture. Spanning
from ancient Greece to the contemporary context of the United
States, it offers a rigorous survey of how rhetorical theory and
practice have been and could be mobilized in order to analyze,
interpret, and critique political life. As such, rhetoric is
explored as a critical mode of cultural production that addresses
collective social and political democratic discourses, tensions, and
imaginaries as they are negotiated through a wide range of
communicative performances, including language, embodied gesture,
and visual image.
The first third of the course focuses on tensions raised by voices
in pre-modernity, including those from the Sophists, Plato,
Aristotle, and Isocrates. The second two-thirds explores questions
since modernity, introducing and engaging themes such as: Contesting
Canons & Historiography; Ideographs and Performative Language;
Political Styles; Publics and Counterpublics; Antagonisms and
Democracy; Embodied and Material Rhetorics; and Memory Studies.
Although this course deliberately identifies foundational
vocabulary, tensions, and figures in rhetoric and public culture, it
remains committed to serving more as a provocative and evocative
endeavor than a conclusive one.
NOTE: There are no prerequisites other than an investment in this
undertaking and the willingness to expend the time and energy it
requires. On paper, the course fulfills a requirement for the CMCL
department (as one of three introductory courses needed for the M.A.
degree; and a highly recommended course for the Ph.D. program) and
will qualify as the main requirement for the IU Cultural Studies
Program. Starting in Fall 2005, this course will be offered every
fall semester, alternating between Professor Lucaites and Professor
Course Assignments most likely will involve:
•4 “Mini” Papers (due the four weeks during classical rhetoric, each
•Class Facilitation with a Small Group or Dyad
•Individual Oral Presentation on Final Research Paper Topic
•Final Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography of the readings from
Textbooks are to be announced. Below are samples of potential
• An extensive list of readings on e-reserves (in addition to
approx. a book a week.)
• Isocrates I (The Oratory of Classical Greece, Vol. 4).
• Plato, Gorgias and
•Aristotle: A Theory of Civic Discourse.
•Austin, J. L. How To Do Things With Words.
•Jasinski, J. Sourcebook on Rhetoric: Key Concepts in Contemporary
•Lucaites, J. L., et al. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory: A Reader.
•Hariman, R. Political Style: The Artistry of Power.
•Selzer, J., and S. Crowley. Rhetorical Bodies.