Communication and Culture | Productive Criticism of Political Rhetoric
C505 | 26969 | Lucaites, J.
W, 2:30 PM-5:00 PM, C2 272
Meets with AMST-G 620 and CULS-C 701
Open to Graduates Only!
Instructor: John Lucaites
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 202
Purpose of the Course:
C505 focuses on rhetoric as a mode of engaged or productive
critique that emphasizes the “sociality of language” as it
contributes to the constitution and performance of democratic public
culture. By “engaged or productive critique” I mean to call
attention to scholarly labor that is aware of its political and
ideological assumptions and which strives to contribute actively to
an evolving liberal-democratic consciousness in the workaday world.
The course seek to develop an allegorical reading strategy that
draws upon Walter Benjamin’s notion of “thinking in images” and
Kenneth Burke’s “comic corrective” rooted in his theory of
dramatism. Readings by and about Benjamin and Burke will be
supplemented by a body of journal articles and/or book chapters
that model and/or complicate productive rhetorical critique.
Core Course Readings:
Walter Benjamin, Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, 4 Vols.
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996-2006). [Note:
Benjamin was largely an essayist and aphorist, not a book writer,
and we will be reading selections of his work drawn from across the
corpus of his writing as it focuses primarily
on “allegory “translation,” “dialectical imagery,” “tragedy” and
the “critique of violence.” Readings here will be placed on
Kenneth Burke, Attitudes Towards History, 3rd. ed. (Berkeley:
University of California Press,
1984, orig. pub. 1937).
Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, 3rd. ed. (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1974).
Frank Lentricchia, Criticism and Social Change (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1983).
Sigrid Weigel, Body-and Image-Space: Rereading Walter Benjamin (New
York: Routledge, 1996).
In addition to participating actively in weekly class discussions of
assigned readings, each student will undertake a semester project in
rhetorically engaged critique in an article-length essay targeted
for submission to a scholarly journal.