Matthew K Mcgarrity
Lecture, seminar, and/or team study. Topics vary.
Classical Rhetoric: The study of rhetoric has played an essential role in the development of Western thought. Often positioned alongside or against the study of philosophy, thinkers from Plato onward have written about what students should know about the process of persuading others. While we may operate with the contemporary derogatory meaning of the word rhetoric, this was not the case for generations of thinkers and political leaders who saw the mastery of rhetoric as the crowing achievement of a well educated person. Rhetoric has alternately been viewed as an empowering art that can benefit the person and the community and as a deceptive trick used to beguile the ignorant masses. In fact, we can point to historic episodes and find evidence for both beliefs. Yet, this class is not a study of the uses of rhetoric over time. Rather, this class investigates how rhetoric has been theorized and taught over the centuries. This course seeks to provide students with a sense of how rhetoric was understood in different historical societies and how the beliefs about rhetoric have changed over time. While we don’t have time to cover all of the history of rhetoric in one course (or even in one lifetime), we will address some of the major theorists that have significantly shaped rhetorical theory and pedagogy.
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Class assignments and grading