Communication and Culture | Speech Composition
C323 | 1064 | Robert Terrill


The purpose of this course is to develop skills in persuasive writing.
We will conceive "persuasion" broadly, to refer to crafting assent as
well as to inviting the audience to experience a particular mood or
emotion.  Students will be asked to write in a variety of modes, from
corporate advocacy to political campaigning and the art of ceremonial
display.  Through crafting such discourse, we will explore the
possibilities and potential for remaking rhetorical situations through
discourse itself.  That is, we will explore the potential for the
artful use of language to command control of a situation as well as
respond to it, and to fashion an audience as well as speak to it.

We will utilize various teaching methods and materials.
Fundamentally, students will be asked to emulate exemplars of public
address, including not only speech texts but also popular and
scholarly articles, book chapters, film reviews, etc.  The exemplars
of public address will be supplemented by theoretical and historical
articles as appropriate.  The purpose will not be to copy the
exemplars, but rather to mine them as living repositories of
persuasive strategies -- as case studies in which theory is enlivened
when a speaker engages a particular situation.  Through this form of
emulation, students will broaden the array of rhetorical strategies at
their command, but more importantly they will begin to develop their
own voices as persuasive rhetors.

The class will not function as a lecture, but rather as a workshop and
discussion group.  Reasoned critique, as a skill complementary to
skillful composition, will be developed as we read and evaluate each
other's work throughout the semester.  There will be no midterm exam,
but students should expect to produce an average of five pages of
writing per week.  There will be no final exam, but the course will
culminate in an extended persuasive project due during finals week.