Communication and Culture | Productive Criticism of Political Rhetoric
C505 | 27844 | Ivie, R.

M, 2:30 PM-5:00 PM, C2 272

Open to Graduates Only!

Instructor: Robert Ivie
Office: C2 247
Phone: 855-5467
Instructor Website:

Purpose of the Course:

Rhetoric is conceptualized and practiced in this course as an act of
engaged cultural critique, focusing on the problem of the scapegoat
or demonized Other and the corresponding challenge of articulating a
more inclusive democratic culture.  We draw on Kenneth Burke’s
dramatism as a framework for productive rhetorical critique of
tragic rituals of victimization and redemptive violence.  Burke’s
treatment of the comic corrective is complemented by Lewis Hyde’s
representation of the mythic trickster and by Michel de Certeau’s
treatment of the tactical tricks of everyday life, and is extended
by Frank Lentricchia into the realm of political action in a version
of what Michael Walzer characterizes as connected criticism.

Course Readings:

In addition to a number journal articles and book chapters,
discussing various traditions and approaches to rhetorical criticism
and selected to illustrate and/or conceptualize engaged cultural
critique, everyone will be asked to read and discuss all or parts of
the following:

Kenneth Burke, Attitudes Toward History, 3rd. ed. (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1984).

Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, 3rd ed. (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1974).

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1984).

Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World:  Mischief, Myth, and Art
(New York:  North Point Press, 1998).

Frank Lentricchia, Criticism and Social Change (Chicago:  University
of Chicago Press, 1983).


In addition to participating actively in weekly class discussions
and synthesizing the assigned readings, each student will undertake
a semester project in rhetorically engaged cultural critique,
resulting in an article-length essay targeted for submission to a
scholarly journal.