Lauren R. Archer
Study of approaches to rhetorical inquiry that aid in the description, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of discourse. Applies various critical models to a chosen artifact.
This course provides an overview of techniques for describing, analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating rhetorical artifacts. Over the course of the quarter we will work together to build the necessary skills for engaging in critical readings of texts while developing an understanding of the historical development of rhetorical criticism as a practice. One way to think about rhetorical criticism is to imagine you are holding a magnifying glass up to a text to closely analyze how it “works.” In this class you will learn about various approaches you can use and questions you can ask to guide you in your interrogation of texts.
Student learning goals
Define rhetoric and explain key rhetorical concepts
Understand the development of rhetorical criticism as a practice
Provide thorough and detailed descriptions of rhetorical artifacts and the messages they convey
Understand the artifact-context relationship and how it influences message production and reception
Analyze and interpret rhetorical artifacts critically, attending to both manifest and latent messages
Cultivate the necessary communication skills (both oral and written) to present your rhetorical analysis and critical evaluation in a persuasive manner
General method of instruction
This course will involve a mixture of lecture and class discussion to achieve the objectives listed above. Out of class readings and writing assignments will supplement material covering during class meetings.
No prior knowledge of rhetoric or rhetorical criticism is necessary for this class. However, students should have previously taken a writing course.
Class assignments and grading
Most assignments will be written. There will be several smaller writing assignments (1-2 pages) regularly throughout the quarter. Additionally, over the course of the quarter students will work to develop a longer paper that presents their rhetorical analysis and interpretation of a selected rhetorical artifact. Quizzes will also be used throughout the quarter to assess student comprehension.
Grades will be assigned based on total point accumulation, with each assignment worth a certain number of points.