4000-Level Courses

Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications

4000-Level Courses (PDF)


Rhetorics of Identity
Section 001, Fall Term
Instruction Method: Nexus+(Synchronous + Asynchronous Components)
Schedule: TuTh 10:00-11:15AM
Instructor: Tracy Whalen

This course undertakes an intensive study into the symbolic mediation of identity. It examines how symbolic systems reflect, produce, and challenge such concepts as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, ability, age, nationality, and humanness. Drawing connections between discourses and privilege, the course also explores power and identity politics, examining the reciprocal relationship between symbols and ideology. Its topics may include the performance and circulation of digitally mediated identities, constitutive rhetoric, rhetoric of the body, civic identity, and the post-human. Restriction: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the former RHET-3420(3).


Modern Rhetorical Theory
Section 001, Winter Term
Schedule: TuTh 11:30AM-12:45PM
Instructor: Andrew McGillivray

This seminar course provides an overview of modern rhetorical theory. It begins with a brief review of classical, medieval, and early modern theories of rhetoric. The course largely focuses on the revival and renewal of rhetorical theory in the 20th century, a diverse field which includes several schools of thought and a large number of influential thinkers, a few of which we will read. The course concludes with a close consideration of the most recent trends in the field. Contemporary themes addressed include power, politics, democracy, science, religion, art, media, and popular culture. Students learn how to apply the theories learned in class to a range of rhetorical artifacts, arguments, and narratives encountered in everyday life. The aim of the course is to help students become more critically aware of the complexities of our social and symbolic universe.

Critical Theories of Discourse and Ideology
Section 001, Winter Term
Schedule: TuTh 11:30AM-12:45PM
Instructor: Matthew Flisfeder

This course focuses on theories of ideology and discourse, and the rhetorical strategies used for writing about and critiquing ideological texts. We will focus on methods of rhetorical criticism that may be used for critiquing ideological texts and the ways that modern media use rhetoric, language, and images to reproduce forms of power. In this course, students learn techniques developed in the fields of rhetoric and communication studies for contributing to social change by recognizing, analyzing, and challenging the terms of discourse and ideology.

Rhetoric of the Public Sphere
Section 001 Winter Term
Schedule: MW 2:30-3:45PM
Instructor: Jason Hannan

This course adopts a rhetoric and communications framework for the purpose of conducting an intensive study of the concept of the public sphere, everyday processes of communal discourse and negotiation. It examines written, spoken, visual, gestural, and other texts that mediate relations among people in civic spaces. It may include such topics as the definition of the term "public sphere," the history of public discourse, the relationship between state and civil society, the ethics of public texts and power, the impact of the media in narrating public events, and the textual "handling" of social tensions.

Updated: July 2020