Communication and Culture | Media, Culture, and Politics
C445 | 1805 | Darrel Enck-Wanzer

Summer Session I, Section 1805

Media, Culture, and Politics
Topic: Rhetoric, Race, and Radical Democracy

2:35-3:50 p.m. Daily, Mottier 124

This class offers you an opportunity to explore and interrogate the
connections between rhetoric, race, and radical democracy in the
United States. Given our nation’s history, seeking to explore these
connections is no small task. In order to reign in our approach of
the subject matter, this class begins with a couple of assumptions:
First, there is a fundamental historical and theoretical connection
between rhetoric and democracy that extends back 2500 years to
democracy’s and rhetoric’s inception in ancient Athens, Greece.
Second, democratic theory and practice has not always done a good
job taking issues of race and cultural pluralism into consideration.
With these assumptions in mind, this course examines the
possibilities for a radical democratic politics that takes “race”
and “rhetoric” to be central to its operation.

As an interdisciplinary study of race and radical democracy in the
United States, we will be consulting a variety of “academic” sources
from different fields. Throughout the summer session, we will
analyze and critique “texts” from a variety of media (speech,
performance, music, and film) in order to discern the ways in which
race and rhetoric can play an important role in “democracy” in the
United States. Most of the examples we will work through will
be “radical” and “dissenting” in one way or another—speeches of
protest, performances of resistance, songs of dissent, and films
that document and advocate democratic change. We will begin by
examining some attitudes toward rhetoric and democracy that will set
a background for our subsequent discussions. This will be followed
by a series of specific examples of rhetorics dealing with race and
democracy. Though I do not intend to exclude anyone, we will focus
primarily on Black/African American and Latina/o popular/political
cultures, though that does not mean you cannot bring other groups
into your examples and presentations.  The course begins with an
introduction to general concepts and will proceed topically through
the following units: Unit I: Rhetoric, Democracy, and the Early
Republic; Unit II: The Abolition of Slavery and the Hopes of
Democracy; Unit III: Power to ‘the People’ and Other Racial
Rhetorics of Resistance in the 1960s and 1970s; Unit IV: Fight the
Power and Radical Democracy Today; Unit V: Rhetoric, Race,and
Radical Democracy in the Classroom.