ENGL 354 Modern Rhetorical Theory
ENGL 354 Modern Rhetorical Theory

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ENGL 354 Modern Rhetorical Theory

Course Description

This course introduces students to rhetoric in the 20th century. Specifically, we will be exploring two themes that inform the understanding of rhetoric during this period: the discovery of the unconscious and the belief that society is a system for exchanging messages. The unconscious describes a society dominated by primal impulses and subject to violent, erratic behavior. Systems thinking marks society as rational and manageable. The competition between these two ideas structures many of the conversations surrounding persuasion in the 20th century, a century marked by the sudden and pronounced return of the study of rhetoric and persuasion.

Course Overview

Welcome to Modern Rhetorical Theory.

In this class, we will be exploring the development of rhetorical thought in the twentieth century. Specifically, we will be studying the return of rhetoric as a major focus of study. For those of you who have taken 353 (the history course), you already know that with the arrival of the scientific revolution and the emergence of logic as a tool for investigating the world, rhetoric was seen as unimportant. The twentieth century, however, represents a flowering of rhetorical thought on par with (and perhaps exceeding) the birth of the discipline in Ancient Greece.

Additionally, as a writing intensive course, we will be studying the role of the critic in this conversation and what it means to engage in a scholarly conversation.

Meeting Time/Location

MWF 10:20-11:10, LAAH 301


Junior or senior classification.

Learning Objectives

In this course, students can expect to learn:

  • To comprehend the development of rhetoric as an intellectual discipline in the twentieth century.
  • To understand the role of new communication and transportation technologies in shaping communication.
  • To engage with a scholarly tradition in their own writing.
  • To participate and evaluate the writing standards of a scholarly community.

eCampus Site

This course has an eCampus site on which you will turn in all your assignments and find the readings not linked from the schedule