Michael C. Souders
Examines public debate in a democracy by developing a rhetorical perspective of public argument and skills to evaluate debates critically. Develops an understanding of rhetoric, values, audiences, tests of reasoning, and sources of information. Sharpens critical skills and applies them to contemporary controversies in the public sphere.
The objective of this large lecture course is to equip students with the skills to become effective critics of public argument. The course will be focused on the importance of public discourse and the immediate exchange or arguments as a part of a strong democracy and an essential part of human expression. In the process of the course, we’ll learn the basic structures of argument, the use of emotion and credibility as means of persuasion, and the value of different formats of debate and will look at how debate can be an essential tool of a free society and how it can be subverted to undermine democracy. To achieve these goals, we will use lectures, watch videos, observe debates and learn techniques to develop both practical and evaluative skills in argumentation. This is a VLPA and I&S course.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Assignments will include exams, weekly homework, and in class quizzes.