Communication and Culture | Premodern Rhetorical Theory
C511 | 24073 | Robert Terrill

CMCL-C 511: Premodern Rhetorical Theory
Class Number: 24073

Tu, 4:00 PM-6:30 PM, MJ 124

Open to Graduates Only!

Instructor: Robert Terrill
Office: Mottier Hall 204
Phone: 855-0118
This graduate-level course provides a survey of key texts in the
Greek and Latin rhetorical traditions, exploiting in particular the
close historical association between rhetorical and democratic
theory and practice.  Toward that end, we will concentrate our
attention on primary texts with an eye to their potential to
critique and contribute to our understanding of contemporary
American public culture.  While the course is organized in a roughly
chronological manner, it is not intended to be an exhaustive or
inclusive historical survey.  Rather, we shall concentrate upon
ancient texts and contemporary commentaries with potential to assist
our efforts to describe some of the premodern underpinnings of a
continually developing intellectual history of rhetorical study.
Our primary purpose will be to explore some of the potential of
these premodern theories and attitudes to frame, interpret, and
critique public discourse.  Prior to each class meeting, each
participant will be expected to develop a brief reaction to the
readings, post these to Oncourse, and read carefully all of the
other class postings.  You will also, of course, need to come to
each class prepared to discuss the texts in close detail and to
produce a research paper.  Assigned readings include: Aristotle,
Rhetoric* and Poetics; Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana; Isocrates,
Against the Sophists* and Antidosis*; Jarratt, Rereading the
Sophists*; Lanham, “The ‘Q’ Question”*; Nichols, Representing
Reality; Ober, Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens*;
Peters, “Dialogue and Dissemination”; Plato, Gorgias* and Phaedrus*;
Poulakos, Sophistical Rhetoric in Classical Greece*; and Sprague,
The Older Sophists.  (Items included on the M.A. Reading List are
indicated with an asterisk.)