Communication and Culture | Seminar in Cross Cultural Communication (Topic: A Fine Balance: The Rhetoric of Class in the Age of Globalization)
C727 | 6251 | Calloway-Thomas, C.
M, 11:30 AM-2:00 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 272
Meets with AAAD-A 590
Open to Graduates Only!
Instructor: C. Calloway-Thomas
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 249
Jeff Faux opens his book, The Global Class War, with a dazzling
story that tells us a great deal about the compelling power of
elites worldwide. In 1993, Jeff had a lively conversation with a
corporate lobbyist in the corridors of the U. S. Capitol who was
trying her best to make him “see” the virtues of the proposed North
American Free Trade Agreement” (NAFTA) that her company was
supporting. After some exasperation over her failure to make Jeff
understand the weighty significance of the treaty, the lobbyist
finally said to him: “Don’t you understand? We have to help
Salinas. He’s been to Harvard. He’s one of us.” The lobbyist, of
course, was referring to Carlos Salinas who was president of Mexico
at the time.
The lobbyist’s reference to “one of us” hugely magnifies the
difference between those who belong to an elite class and those who
do not. The reference also brings to our attention the continuing
relevance of globalization and class. Is it the case, as Terry
Eagleton argues, that “the rich are global and the poor are local?”
If yes, then what role does rhetoric play in shaping formations of
global class relations? How do specific class paradigms function
within neoliberal discourse? Why, at the beginning of the twenty-
first century, is the world still divided between the few who are
rich and the many who are poor? How do business and educated elites
facilitate or constrain social policies that lead to class
divisions? And what narratives, words, myths, metaphors and tropes
are used to construct the rhetoric of class in the age of
In this seminar, we will weigh in on the debate over globalization
and examine the role that rhetoric plays in the constitution of
class within the context of the new world order. We are particularly
interested in the reconceptualization of class theory, the interplay
of rhetorical expression and power dynamics, and how words work in
promoting notions of class. We will also draw connections among
World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Nongovernmental
Organizations (NGOs) policies that mediate social hierarchy and
class differences. The works of Stanley Aronowitz, Kenneth Burke,
Pierre Bourdieu, E. Durheim, Jeff Faux, Jurgen Habermas, Thomas
Friedman, K. Marx, Jeremy Seabrook, Max Weber, Cornell West and
other scholars will provide the analytic tools for understanding
and explaining the conceptual turf and landscape of class, notions
of inequality, globalization, sameness and difference.
Aronowitz, Stanley. How Class Works: Power and Social Movement.
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1991.
Eder, Klaus. The New Politics of Class: Social Movements and
Cultural Dynamics in Advanced Society. London: Sage, 1993.
Faux, Jeff. The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite
Lost Our Future— and What it Will Take to Win it Back. New York:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006.
Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Penguin Classics,
Freidman, Thomas. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-
First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
Chapters from other books, articles from research journals, The New
York Times and The Wall Street Journal will also be used to
contextualize issues and offer opportunities for further thought
Course Format: Although the class will be taught in a seminar
atmosphere, some sessions will begin with a mini-lecture by the
instructor, which will contextualize the particular topic or
approach taken in the readings. At each session, students will give
short presentations (10-20) minutes) on the assigned readings, and
will prepare and hand out a list of questions intended to facilitate
class discussions of the readings.
Course Requirements: Students are expected to attend classes,
participate in class discussions and complete assigned readings.
Additional requirements include the following:
1. One Paper. You are required to write a 17-20 page paper that
will incorporate your readings and draw upon the knowledge that you
gained throughout the semester. The paper should address any
problem, topic or issue relevant to both the salience and substance
of rhetoric, globalization and class. For example, what are the
functions of rhetoric in the practice of class? What relationships
obtain between the theory of rhetoric and the theory of class? How
do metaphors and tropes reveal themselves in modalities of class?
To what extent is consumerism implicated in matters of class? And
how does the rhetoric of the World Bank contribute to “new global
2. Two short (3-4 pages) reaction papers and two sets of discussion
questions. Twice during the semester each student will be required
to hand in a short paper that reacts to the week’s readings and
discussion questions designed to facilitate discussion of that
reading. These are not summaries, but rather papers which raise
questions and criticisms, and make connections with previous
readings. The readings will be assigned and the short reaction
papers will be due on the day of the presentation.
20% Class participation
30% Reaction papers & oral presentations
50% Research paper