Honors | The Rhetorical Presidency (HON)
H204 | 27309 | James Andrews


MWF 11:15am-12:05pm

This course focuses on how presidential communication has functioned
over time to direct policy, influence national values, shape
national identity, interpret our history, and affect the political
process. We will examine and analyze presidential messages over
time, the communication context in which they occurred, and the ways
that contemporary communication media have influenced the nature of
those messages. We will also address the issue of how and to what
extent our political culture both reflects and is shaped by
presidential communication. Since the course in the fall of 2008
will coincide with the presidential elections, we will give some
special attention to the history and development of presidential
campaigning and the 2008 campaign itself.
Readings will include: J. Michael Hogan, Woodrow Wilsonís Western
Tour: Rhetoric, Public Opinion, and the League of Nations (2006),
David Houck, FDR and Fear Itself: The First Inaugural Address
(2002), Thomas W. Benson, Writing JFK: Presidential Rhetoric and the
Press in the Bay of Pigs Crisis (2004), Carol Gelderman, All the
Presidentsí Words: The Bully Pulpit and the Creation of the Virtual
Presidency (1997), a reading packet with selections from other books
and articles, and selected presidential speeches available on the
Web. Classes will typically include short lectures, discussions of
questions based on the assigned readings and viewing and discussing
tapes (of, for example, documentary material, speeches, campaign
ads). Participation in class discussion, short written papers based
on the readings, and a final essay are required.