Communication and Culture | The Study of Public Advocacy
C406 | 18774 | Calloway-Thomas, C.
MW, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, C2 100
Instructor: Carolyn Calloway-Thomas
Office: C2 249
Students will study such speakers as Patrick Henry fighting to keep
his beloved Virginia from joining the proposed Federal government,
Susan B. Anthony demanding equal rights for women, Frederick
Douglass staunchly defending the rights of slaves, and others, as
examples of those who form a part of our collective past.
C406 is an introduction to the role of “discourse” in creating,
promoting and sustaining community. Students will investigate and
understand how a dynamic confrontation with ideas and audiences
shaped North American cultures. A primary goal of the course is to
develop a rhetorical perspective from which students can identify,
analyze, interpret and evaluate the role of persuasion in directing
Americans’ communal efforts and actions.
More specifically, by the end of the semester you should be able to:
1. Understand the social and political contexts that constitute
the backdrop for public address/discourse in the United States from
1740 to the present.
2. Develop an ability to analyze, describe and evaluate
rhetorical messages as forces in society.
3. Become a more critical consumer and producer of public
Andrews, R. & D. Zarefsky (eds.). American Voices: Significant
Speeches in American History, 1640-1945. New York: Longman, 1989.
Andrews, R. & D. Zarefsky (eds.). Contemporary American Voices:
Significant Speeches in American History, 1945-Present. New York:
Longman, 1992. (CAV)
Zinn, H. A People’s History of the United States 1492-Present. New
York: HarperPerrenial, 2003.
Format and Procedure:
The course will be taught in a lecture-discussion atmosphere,
ensuring flexibility and adaptability. Audio and video recordings
will also be used.
1. Examinations. There will be three examinations consisting
of identifications and short and long essay questions. The
examinations will cover lectures, class discussions and course
2. Class Discussions/Activities. There will be several
opportunities for you to discuss speeches and “hot” historical
topics, dig into primary sources, debate controversial issues,
relate current events to past historical periods and personalities
and comment on the nature of rhetorical audiences. The activities
will occur on the days designated as “Class Discussion.” In order
for lively and challenging discussions to occur, you are required to
read all assigned materials carefully and to think critically. An
inquiring mind is essential!
3. One Paper. You will write a major paper exploring an
instance of public discourse from the perspective of the rhetorical
situation. Consultation with the instructor is required. Papers
must be well documented and approximately 11 pages. Evaluation will
be based on the quality of the paper—topicality, depth of analysis,
documentation and clarity of argument.
4. Two sets of discussion questions. Once or twice during the
semester, each student will be required to lead a thought-provoking
classroom discussion and hand in questions which react to the week’s
speeches and readings. The discussion questions are designed to
make you think critically about the relationship between past and
current human events. For example, in light of Home Land Security
and the Iraq war, what questions might one raise about
constitutional issues of freedom? And in light of newly arriving
immigrants from Mexico, how might one view the historical notion of
the Melting Pot vision of community?
5. Class Attendance. Students will attend class regularly and
participate in class discussion. Missing class will make the
material difficult to understand and integrate. You get two absences
in the class. Absences beyond 2 will result in a .l deduction from
your final grade. For example, if your final grade would have been
a 3.3 (or B+), but you have five absences, your grade will be
reduced to a .3( or a B). Any kind of academic dishonesty results
in failure of the course.
Exams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .60%
Class participation & activities. . 20%
Paper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .20%
Policy on Make-Up Examinations
You may take a make-up with a written statement from a physician
indicating that you were very ill.