Historical and contemporary rhetoric explores the long-standing foundation on which the contemporary discipline of rhetoric and writing studies is built. At its base is Aristotle’s belief that rhetoric is the art of discovering all the available means of persuasion. Today, we study private and public discourse, social movements, and mediated discourse, which includes the study of visual and nonverbal elements. Course topics range from argumentation to literacy in socio-cultural contexts, and historical and contemporary writing for sustainable environments.
- RWDMS courses provide you with many opportunities to show your skills as a reader, thinker, and writer. In this course, your work will include the following components:
- Critical reading and analysis of disciplinary texts
- Discussion boards: deepening understanding of readings by exchanging ideas with peers
- 5 short theory-based papers on topics discussed in class (3-5 pages)
- Traditional theoretical-discussion paper (15-20 pages). (The process will include a proposal, a draft, and a cover letter that addresses the Final Paper).
All courses in the program encourage you to learn specific skills in the areas of theory and knowledge, analysis and critical thinking, and research and application. When you complete your coursework, consider especially how you were able to achieve the following learning outcomes:
Theory and Knowledge
- You will be introduced to the theoretical foundations of historical and contemporary rhetoric by participating in and advancing current knowledge in the field.
- Evaluate and reflect critically on rhetorical terms and concepts used by rhetoricians from classical to modern times.
- Evaluate similarities and differences in the uses of language, the connections between organization and structure used in specific time periods, the connections between style and delivery, and the connections between persuasion and argumentation used in specific time periods.
- Understand how language practices during specific time periods were and are used to communicate about the diversity of human experience.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the contributions of rhetoric to workplace studies, literacy studies, narrative studies, digital studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and race studies.
- You will demonstrate an understanding of research methodologies and writing skills applicable to English studies, including academic writing, workplace writing, and information development.
- Evaluate and reflect critically on methodological practices and concepts used in research designs in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies.
- Use research data to formulate or evaluate new research questions, using reason and persuasion in a logical argument.
- Summarize and evaluate a body of research, including primary and secondary sources.
- Demonstrate competent, ethical, and responsible use of information in academic writing.
Analysis and Critical Thinking
- You will critically analyze how cultural artifacts (written, digital, visual, and spoken texts) are used to shape identity in diverse local, national, historical, and global communities.
- Research, evaluate, and apply knowledge of significant issues related to global learning, diversity, and sustainable educational and environmental practices.
- Write critical analyses exploring key texts and key concepts about historical and current rhetorical terms and concepts.
- Research, evaluate, and apply historical knowledge of rhetorical terms and concepts to show how contemporary language use is influenced by cultural knowledge.
- Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles from classical to modern times to ethnically and linguistically diverse populations.
- You will synthesize and evaluate research, scholarship, and methodologies and create advanced-level projects that question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions.
- Design text and digital projects that show the ethical use of language in diverse academic, public, and professional communities.
- Understand how cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and economic factors influence communication practices in text and digital environments.
- Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles to question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions expressed in text and digital media.
- Design and present projects that show a clear understanding of purpose, audience, and cultural, social, historical, and political contexts.
- You will demonstrate an understanding of historical and contemporary rhetoric by carrying out course-related and client-related projects directed at conceptualizing, understanding,and reformulating current theories in the larger field of rhetoric and writing studies.
- Articulate a theoretical framework for the project (including a literature review to assess the theoretical and methodological contributions previously made to this area).
- Identify and define appropriate methods of data collection and apply appropriate research methods.
- Use a research design appropriate to the audience and purpose of your project, showing understanding of rhetorical approaches to multimedia design.
- You will participate in local, national, and global communities of academic and workplace writers by participating in professional development activities, and by creating and updating online profiles.
- Develop your project management skills.
- Apply appropriate communication and presentation standards to succeed in academic, civic, and personal life.