Dr. Mendenhall: T/Th 9:30-10:45

Rhetoric

Rhetoric provides students with an overview of the theory and practice of persuasion. How and why do people change their minds? What role does language play in shaping our understanding of the world? How have digital media and the widespread, global access to (mis)information changed the nature of persuasion? These are questions the class will explore while learning the history and theory of rhetoric from classical times to the present; reading the works of Aristotle, Plato, Frederick Douglass, Toni Morrison, and Gloria AnzaldĂșa; and listening to podcasts on rhetorical topics such as the role of timing in argument and the importance of rhetorical listening. Students will analyze contemporary rhetoric and then produce their own rhetorical performances on issues they care about. In our present era of polarized opinions and disputable facts, knowing how to analyze and to craft arguments is vital to engaging with others in our world.