Communication and Culture | Political Communication
C444 | 12000 | Ivie, R.

MW, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, C2 203

Meets with AMST-A 398

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

The course considers the relationship of communication to democracy
by critically examining various forms, functions, and examples of
political communication strategies and tactics.  The goal is to
become more informed and reflective about democratic citizenship by
studying the rhetorical characteristics of political narratives,
myths, media, campaigns, deliberation, and dissent as they influence
the collective exercise of political judgment in a pluralistic
polity and multifaceted public sphere.

Course readings and lectures will cover a range of topics such as
public deliberation, democratic deficit, political alienation and
polarization, traditional and new media, political campaigns and
advertising, political myths and rituals, civil society and public
spheres, protest and dissent, and the rhetorical republic.

Students will write two mid-term examinations plus a term paper to
apply the concepts of the course to a case study of political
persuasion.  Each student will choose the subject of their case
study in consultation with me.  One or more students may be
interested, for example, in analyzing the rhetoric of the current
debate over reforming health insurance in the U.S.  One approach
would be to analyze the speeches of President Obama on the subject,
or the political advertising of the health insurance industry in
opposition to the proposed health insurance reform, or the
deliberation of citizens with their representatives in public
forums, etc.  Another topic for a term paper might be an analysis of
the election campaign rhetoric of a candidate for public office
(city council, governorship, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S.
presidency, etc.).  Another topic might be the political lobbying
efforts of an interest group such as AARP, environmental advocates,
gay rights, NRA, etc.; or an analysis of the political narratives of
those who argue for or against global warming.  These case studies
can be contemporary or historical.