Communication and Culture | Rhetoric and Race
C342 | 27509 | Terrill, R.
MW, 9:30 AM-10:45 AM, C2 100
Instructor: Robert Terrill
Office: C2 231
People in America talk about race. Sometimes, we talk about race as
if it doesn’t exist, sometimes we talk as if it shouldn’t exist, and
sometimes we talk as if race is the single most significant aspect
of our daily lives. Rarely, though, do we recognize that it is
through our talk about race that race becomes meaningful. Whenever
we talk about race, and whatever we say about it, race is invented
in and through our words. We talk race into being, and it is race
in the form of a discursive concept, as a rhetorical invention, that
so profoundly impacts our culture.
This course will examine the relationship between rhetoric and race,
exploring the possibilities and implications entailed by an
understanding of race as a rhetorical artifact. We will read from a
variety of sources, concentrating primarily on those that explicitly
enact and/or theorize a relationship between discourse and race. We
will follow a generally chronological logic, with the intention of
providing historical context for contemporary racial discourse.
Together with the primary materials we will read selections from a
range of theoretical works on race and rhetoric to help us develop a
vocabulary through which we can begin to understand and assess these
works. Our primary goal will be to develop and critique ways of
thinking, speaking, and writing about race.
A partial list of the materials that we will read — either in whole
or in part — would include: The Confessions of Nat Turner, David
Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, “White
Privilege and Male Privilege” by Peggy McIntosh, The Signifying
Monkey by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ain’t I a Woman by bell hooks,
Here I Stand by Paul Robeson, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz
Fanon, Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, Aristotle’s
Rhetoric, The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois, Why We Can’t
Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr., The Afro-American Jeremiad by David
Howard-Pitney, Race Matters by Cornel West, and The Autobiography of
Grades will be based on several short essays, in-class
presentations, and a final exam.