Communication and Culture | Rhetoric, Ideology, and Hegemony
C614 | 26297 | John Louis Lucaites

Class Number: 26297
Meeting time TBA

Open to graduates only
Meets with CULS-C 701

Professor:	John Louis Lucaites
Office:		202 Mottier Hall
Office Hours:	MW 9:30-11:00
Phone:		855-5411

The intellectual and political traditions out of which the
terms "rhetoric" and "ideology" merge have seldom been comfortable
bedfellows.  The classical rhetorical tradition out of
which "rhetoric" emerged typically has been concerned with the power
of sovereign, intending speakers to work positive and reconstructive
change through the management and manipulation of language in public
discourse. The social theoretical tradition out of which "ideology"
emerged typically has been more concerned with demonstrating that
speakers and their audiences are not sovereign, nor can they trust
that their intentions are their own.  This results in a style of
discourse analysis that strips away the imaginary and illusory
distortions of language and public discourse and the "false
consciousness" they promote.  In recent years, however, there has
been an implicit effort by rhetoricians and social theorists alike
to examine the motivations of speakers and audiences through the
concept of “hegemony” – a concept that emerged originally in the
context of the classical Greek hegemon (and thus connected with
2,500 year old tradition of "rhetoric") and was revived in the 20th-
century by the Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci (and is thus
connected with the marxissant and primarily European social
theoretical traditions of "ideology"). It will be the argument of
this class that the  productive social and political critique of
public culture is best served by a radical conception of “hegemony”
that allows us to think through rhetoric in terms of ideology, and
ideology in terms of rhetoric.  Such a conception will require us to
think of hegemony in terms of three concepts: structuration,
articulation, and carnival.The semester will be divided into three
parts.  In Part I we will explore the historical and theoretical
foundation for the study of hegemony, drawing alternatively from
works in the rhetorical tradition, including Aristotle and
Isocrates, and from works in social theory,  including Karl Marx and
Frederick Engels, Antonio Gramsci, and early Frankfurt School
thinkers like Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse.
In Part II we will focus on the discursive turn in the study of
ideology and hegemony, with attention to a theory of structuration,
and in Part III we will emphasize the radical reconstruction of
hegemony in the context of theories of articulation and carnival.
Throughout both Parts II and III we will focus attention on issues
concerning the relationship(s) between rhetoric, ideology, and
hegemony that are accentuated when featured in the context of
agent/agency and speaker/speech/ audience relationships as they
manifest themselves in the context of a mass mediated, late- or
postmodern, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural public culture.  Readings
here will feature Louis Althusser, Kenneth Burke, Mikhail Bahktin,
Rita Felski, Anthony Giddens, Stuart Hall, Ernesto Laclau and
Chantal Mouffe, and Slavo Zizek.
Course assignments will be designed to help students develop their
skills at socio-political critique  and creative theory building.
Each student will prepare a semester length essay that draws from
class readings and discussions and the student’s own research
program.  The course should be of interest to anyone concerned with
the problems and possibilities of social and political critique, the
relationship(s) between rhetoric and political theory, and/or the
socio-rhetorical forms and functions of the mass media (broadly
construed) as it contributes to the production and reproduction of
public culture in late modernity.

The course is cross-listed with American Studies  G620 and Cultural
Studies C701.  For more information contact John Lucaites