COURSE DESCRIPTION AND GOLAS
WELCOME to RWS 6311: Rhetorical History II! In this course, we will study histories of rhetorics/rhetorics' histories and explore rhetorical theories, techniques, treatises of language, and patterns in education that have contributed to the development of a certain tradition of rhetoric from Renaissance to present. We work chronologically and topically, extrapolating the context, significance, and relevance of the work that has made history in our discipline. We will discuss and interrogate the complexity of conceptualizing any corpus as a “tradition” with traditions and histories merely appended to it.
By taking a comparative approach to studying histories of rhetorics/rhetorics' histories, our common goal in this class is to engage with rhetorics' historical progression across various social, cultural, geographical, and disciplinary boundaries/borders. Because rhetoric became a systematic discipline primarily in the West, we will spend a significant amount of time mapping the histories of rhetorics/rhetorics' histories across Europe and North America during the first half of the semester (until spring break!). We will slowly shift our focus during the second half of the semester and study critical-cultural turns (modern, post-modern, post-colonial, ethnic, feminist theories) that are of vital importance to shaping the current trends that advocate social justice, multicultural voices and practices, and diversity in our field.
Overall, throughout the semester, we will open space to study and explore rhetorical traditions usually labeled as 'alternative' or 'marginal' in the dominant Western discourse. Our goal is to move away or beyond these kinds of terms that re-other the already othered rhetorical traditions. Instead, through our rhetorical encounters each week, we will produce a cognitive map of multiple lines of rhetorical traditions with attention on how these lines changed and came into being. We will end this course with a focus on 'comparative-cultural' rhetorics and discuss meaningful ways of studying non-canonical and non-Western rhetorical traditions and practices.
Note: I hope the structure of the course will fulfill your, and also my, expectations and will do justice to engaging with 'multiple histories' of and 'present developments' in our field.