Communication and Culture | Rhetorical Criticism
C305 | 28162 | Terrill, R
CMCL-C 305: Rhetorical Criticism
Class Number: 28162
TuTh, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, C2 100
Fulfills College S&H Requirement
Carries College Intensive Writing Credit
A portion of this class reserved for majors
Instructor: Robert Terrill
Office: C2 231
Within a complex democratic culture, it is essential that citizens
gain a thorough understanding of the ways in which the myriad
discourses that surround them are constructed. This course is
designed to contribute to that knowledge.
Specifically, this is a course in the close analysis of public texts.
Since the beginnings of the democratic experiment in ancient Athens,
the primary method used to analyze public texts has been rhetorical
criticism — the critical analysis of persuasive public texts.
For millennia, teachers have prepared students for productive civic
participation by introducing them to a critical vocabulary grounded
in rhetorical theory and then asking them to use that vocabulary to
understand and critique public discourses. Students in this
tradition learn to produce effective persuasive prose through the
analysis of effective persuasive prose. This course participates in
and contributes to this tradition.
Our purpose will be to build up, throughout the semester, an
interpretive toolbox that will enable you to dissect the persuasive
strategies at work in public texts. We will study word choice and
connotation, tropes and figures, organizational schemes, the
effective use of evidence, verbal style, argumentative structure,
and other elements of rhetorical effectiveness.
This course will make you a better writer.
It also will make you a more effective critic of persuasive texts,
and thus will render you infinitely better prepared to engage in
productive civic life.
Because this course fulfills the “Intensive Writing” requirement,
you should expect to write at least 5000 words, divided among
several short papers and at least two longer ones, including at
least one substantive revision.