Rhetoric

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Rhetoric majors are trained in the history of rhetorical theory and practice, grounded in argumentation and in the analysis of the symbolic and institutional dimensions of discourse. The department offers both a pragmatic understanding of the elements of rhetorical analysis, with special attention to logic, style, tropes, figures, and images, and a thorough grounding in the historical development of these elements in rhetorical theory. The combination allows students to make a disciplined grasp of the contemporary character of rhetoric and language. Through its emphasis on the history and theory of rhetoric, the department provides an understanding of the format of contemporary theories of interpretation as well as an opportunity, within this framework, to explore the role of persuasion in pragmatic and aesthetic contexts.

The major is not intended to provide skills-based training in oral argument or communication.

Major Concentrations

Students in the Rhetoric major choose one area of concentration: history and theory of rhetoric, public discourse, or narrative and image.

History and Theory of Rhetoric

This area of concentration focuses upon understanding the development of rhetorical theory and practice from its genesis in the classical period to its situation in the present. Students will consider how the discipline of rhetoric has both shaped and itself been shaped by social, political, technological, and intellectual developments over the course of two millennia. Individual courses will enable close study of the process of rhetoric's influence and adaptation, both in theory and in practice, in specific contexts throughout its history.

Public Discourse

This area of concentration focuses upon understanding rhetoric in its symbolic and institutional dimensions, with special emphasis on legal and political forums. Students consider the discourse of law, politics, and society both in theory and in practice, in an attempt to understand the rhetorical nature of political judgment, action, justice, and legitimacy. Individual courses will enable close study of specific problems, concerns, vocabularies, modes of interpretation, and strategies of argumentation arising in public forums of the past and present.

Narrative and Image

This area of concentration focuses upon understanding the function of rhetoric in literary, cinematic, and visual texts, with emphasis on the role of figure and image in the representation of reality. Students consider the production and reception of narrative literature—oral, epic, folktale, lyric poem, novel, and film—in an attempt to understand the boundaries of the aesthetic text as a rhetorical analysis of particular literary and visual genres arising in a variety of cultures and historical epochs. 

Declaring the Major

The major may be declared after completion of RHETOR 10 or RHETOR 20 with a letter grade of C or better. Obtain a Petition to Declare the Major and the Rhetoric Major Application from the undergraduate assistant in 7406 Dwinelle Hall. The petition is also available from the College of Letters & Science in 206 Evans Hall. Students must present a copy of their transcript along with their petition and application to the undergraduate assistant for approval signature and a brief orientation.

Honors Program

Seniors must complete RHETOR 10, RHETOR 20, RHETOR 103A, and RHETOR 103B and maintain a minimum 3.7 grade point average (GPA) in rhetoric and a 3.5 overall Berkeley GPA to undertake the two-semester honors thesis series, RHETOR H190A-RHETOR H190B. Students work under the supervision of a selected rhetoric faculty member. Four units of credit (2 units each semester) for the RHETOR H190A to RHETOR H190B sequence may be applied toward graduation as upper division units and fulfillment of one major upper division course. Honors candidates who complete the 4-unit course with a letter grade of A- or better and maintain the required GPAs will receive a BA with honors in the major.

Seniors eligible to enroll in the honors program must begin arrangements with the faculty member who is willing to direct their honors thesis in the semester before they enroll in RHETOR H190A. See the undergraduate assistant for honors information and an application. Warning: Graduating honors candidates who complete the major requirements but take an incomplete in the RHETOR H190A-RHETOR H190B series must drop themselves from the degree list or honors will not appear on their official transcripts or diplomas.

Minor Program

The goal of the minor program in rhetoric is to introduce students to the methodological procedures and interdisciplinary approach of a field that examines all disciplines from the outside and poses questions such as the following: how is philosophy (or law, or politics, etc.) constituted as a field? What kinds of discourses are considered legitimate within this field? And what kinds of knowledge are produced and institutionalized as a result?

Students declare the minor by the end of the eighth week of the semester they add themselves to the degree list. The Minor Completion petition should be presented to the undergraduate adviser with a recent Bear Facts (available through summer 2016) or CalCentral (starting fall 2016) printout of the student's grades (unofficial transcript).

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Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Lower Division Prerequisites

RHETOR 10Introduction to Practical Reasoning and Critical Analysis of Argument4
RHETOR 20Rhetorical Interpretation4

Upper Division Requirements

RHETOR 103AApproaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory4
RHETOR 103BApproaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory II4
Select three upper division courses in the specified area of concentration (History and Theory of Rhetoric, Public Discourse, or Narrative and Image): see below for course lists
Select two upper division electives from outside the area of concentration, one course from each of the other areas
Select one upper division course (at least 4 units) related to the chosen area of concentration, from another department

History and Theory of Rhetoric Concentration

RHETOR 104Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Historical Eras4
RHETOR 105TRhetoric of Religious Discourse4
RHETOR 106Rhetoric of Historical Discourse4
RHETOR 107Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse4
RHETOR 108Rhetoric of Philosophical Discourse4
RHETOR 109Aesthetics and Rhetoric4
RHETOR 110Advanced Argumentative Writing4
RHETOR 112Rhetoric of Narrative Genres in Nonliterate Societies4
RHETOR 114Rhetoric of New Media4
RHETOR 116Rhetoric, Culture and Society4
RHETOR 117Language, Truth and Dialogue4
RHETOR 118Undergraduate Seminar on the Theory and Practice of Reading and Interpretation4

Public Discourse Concentration

RHETOR 150Rhetoric of Contemporary Politics4
RHETOR 151Rhetoric of Contact and Conquest4
RHETOR 152Rhetoric of Constitutional Discourse4
RHETOR 152ACRace and Order in the New Republic4
RHETOR 153American Political Rhetoric4
RHETOR 155Discourses of Colonialism and Postcoloniality4
RHETOR 156Rhetoric of the Political Novel4
RHETOR 157ARhetoric of Modern Political Theory4
RHETOR 157BRhetoric of Contemporary Political Theory4
RHETOR 158Advanced Problems in the Rhetoric of Political Theory4
RHETOR 159AGreat Theorists in the Rhetoric of Political and Legal Theory4
RHETOR 159BGreat Themes in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Political and Legal Theory4
RHETOR 160Introduction to the Rhetoric of Legal Discourse4
RHETOR 162ACCourse Not Available4
RHETOR 164Rhetoric of Legal Theory4
RHETOR 165Rhetoric of Legal Philosophy4
RHETOR 166Rhetoric in Law and Politics4
RHETOR 167Advanced Themes in Legal Theory, Philosophy, Argumentation4
RHETOR 168Advanced Topics in Contemporary Law and Legal Discourse4
RHETOR 170Rhetoric of Social Science4
RHETOR 171The Problem of Mass Culture and the Rhetoric of Social Theory4
RHETOR 172Rhetoric of Social Theory4
RHETOR 176Rhetoric of Material Culture4
RHETOR 182Rhetorics of Sexual Exchange and Sexual Difference4
RHETOR 189Special Topics (if course topic is appropriate)4

Narrative and Image Concentration

RHETOR 121Rhetoric of Fiction4
RHETOR 122Rhetoric of Drama4
RHETOR 123Rhetoric of Performance4
RHETOR 124Rhetoric of Poetry4
RHETOR 127Novel, Society, and Politics4
RHETOR 128TThe Rhetoric and Politics of Interviews4
RHETOR 129Rhetoric of Autobiography4
RHETOR 129ACAutobiography and American Individualism4
RHETOR 130Novel into Film4
RHETOR 131TGenre in Film and Literature4
RHETOR 132TAuteur in Film4
RHETOR 133TTheories of Film4
RHETOR 134Course Not Available4
RHETOR 135TSelected Topics in Film4
RHETOR 189Special Topics (if course topic is appropriate)4

Minor Requirements

Students who have a strong interest in an area of study outside their major often decide to complete a minor program. These programs have set requirements and are noted officially on the transcript in the memoranda section, but they are not noted on diplomas.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements below must be taken for graded credit.
  2. A minimum of three of the upper division courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be completed at UC Berkeley.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.
  4. Courses used to fulfill the minor requirements may be applied toward the Seven-Course Breadth requirement, for Letters & Science students.
  5. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  6. All minor requirements must be completed prior to the last day of finals during the semester in which the student plans to graduate. Students who cannot finish all courses required for the minor by that time should see a College of Letters & Science adviser.
  7. All minor requirements must be completed within the unit ceiling. (For further information regarding the unit ceiling, please see the College Requirements tab.)

Requirements

Lower Division
RHETOR 10Introduction to Practical Reasoning and Critical Analysis of Argument4
RHETOR 20Rhetorical Interpretation4
Upper Division
RHETOR 103AApproaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory4
RHETOR 103BApproaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory II4
Select three electives from the following:
RHETOR 104Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Historical Eras4
RHETOR 105TRhetoric of Religious Discourse4
RHETOR 106Rhetoric of Historical Discourse4
RHETOR 107Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse4
RHETOR 108Rhetoric of Philosophical Discourse4
RHETOR 109Aesthetics and Rhetoric4
RHETOR 110Advanced Argumentative Writing4
RHETOR 112Rhetoric of Narrative Genres in Nonliterate Societies4
RHETOR 114Rhetoric of New Media4
RHETOR 116Rhetoric, Culture and Society4
RHETOR 117Language, Truth and Dialogue4
RHETOR 118Undergraduate Seminar on the Theory and Practice of Reading and Interpretation4
RHETOR 119Rhetorical Places4
RHETOR 121Rhetoric of Fiction4
RHETOR 122Rhetoric of Drama4
RHETOR 123Rhetoric of Performance4
RHETOR 124Rhetoric of Poetry4
RHETOR 125Poetics and Poetry4
RHETOR 127Novel, Society, and Politics4
RHETOR 128TThe Rhetoric and Politics of Interviews4
RHETOR 129Rhetoric of Autobiography4
RHETOR 129ACAutobiography and American Individualism4
RHETOR 130Novel into Film4
RHETOR 131TGenre in Film and Literature4
RHETOR 132TAuteur in Film4
RHETOR 133TTheories of Film4
RHETOR 135TSelected Topics in Film4
RHETOR 136Art and Authorship4
RHETOR 137Rhetoric of the Image4
RHETOR 138Television Criticism4
RHETOR 139Rhetoric of Visual Witnessing4
RHETOR 150Rhetoric of Contemporary Politics4
RHETOR 151Rhetoric of Contact and Conquest4
RHETOR 152Rhetoric of Constitutional Discourse4
RHETOR 152ACRace and Order in the New Republic4
RHETOR 153American Political Rhetoric4
RHETOR 155Discourses of Colonialism and Postcoloniality4
RHETOR 156Rhetoric of the Political Novel4
RHETOR 157ARhetoric of Modern Political Theory4
RHETOR 157BRhetoric of Contemporary Political Theory4
RHETOR 158Advanced Problems in the Rhetoric of Political Theory4
RHETOR 159AGreat Theorists in the Rhetoric of Political and Legal Theory4
RHETOR 159BGreat Themes in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Political and Legal Theory4
RHETOR 160Introduction to the Rhetoric of Legal Discourse4
RHETOR 164Rhetoric of Legal Theory4
RHETOR 165Rhetoric of Legal Philosophy4
RHETOR 166Rhetoric in Law and Politics4
RHETOR 167Advanced Themes in Legal Theory, Philosophy, Argumentation4
RHETOR 168Advanced Topics in Contemporary Law and Legal Discourse4
RHETOR 170Rhetoric of Social Science4
RHETOR 171The Problem of Mass Culture and the Rhetoric of Social Theory4
RHETOR 172Rhetoric of Social Theory4
RHETOR 176Rhetoric of Material Culture4
RHETOR 182Rhetorics of Sexual Exchange and Sexual Difference4
RHETOR 189Special Topics4

College Requirements

Undergraduate students in the College of Letters & Science must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide.

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

American Cultures

American Cultures is the one requirement that all undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete a first-level reading and composition course by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units, including at least 60 L&S units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department

Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding EAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Mission

Students learn about different kinds of representation (and critiques thereof), how different genres shape and offer material for interpretation, and how different media forms produce a sense of reality. They learn to reflect on how various modes of presentation work (film, literary and philosophical texts, legal cases, political tracts, performances, archival materials), what kinds of meanings they have, and what kinds of effects they produce. They consider works of both high and low culture and bring various kinds of approaches to both. As they advance, students compare and bring genres together for analysis, working for instance with legal trials in film, philosophical uses of literary works, oral interpretation of texts, the textual and archival basis for the transition from orality to literacy, the political presuppositions of law, the aesthetic dimensions of political theory, and the influence of law on non-legal rhetorical practice.

Learning Goals for the Major

  1. Understand and make arguments
    • Acquire basic knowledge and vocabulary of formal argumentation and its relation to informal spoken and written arguments.
    • Analyze texts in terms of their arguments.
    • Use arguments in the major’s own writing.
    • Develop more sophisticated knowledge of argument and apply it.
  2. Interpret written and non-written texts
    • Recognize rhetorical figures and identify stylistic issues.
    • Relate textual interpretations to media (oral, print, and digital/visual).
    • Acquire an introduction to theories and methods of interpretation.
    • Progress to more advanced exposure to interpretation.
  3. Display knowledge and articulate themes concerned with the history and theory of rhetoric
    • Read and understand ancient texts out of which rhetorical traditions come (to see how, for instance, the history of the notion of rhetoric and its opposition to philosophy from Plato on is implicated in our conversations about truth, sincerity, democracy, and ethics).
    • Read and understand texts about rhetoric between ancient and modern periods.
    • Read and understand texts that show how rhetoric is used or conceived in particular periods or cultures.
    • Read and understand texts important to contemporary theory.
    • Engage in rhetorical issues involving media, writing, reading, speech, and authorship.
  4. Grasp specific forms of knowledge and their modes of reasoning
    • Engage critically in analysis and interpretation of such public discourses as law, politics, science, and religion.
    • Understand elements of narrative in novel and other fictive discourses.
    • Read visual and other productions that are beyond (or other than) the written word.
    • Recognize what is common and what is different in the self-conception of various discourses (e.g., literature, philosophy, law, and history).
  5. Integrate the reading, writing, analytical, and critical skills and knowledges above
    • Carry out close readings with a consciousness of the relevance of context.
    • Specialize in a particular area or theme through the concentrations.
    • Understand, reflect on, and evaluate the ways in which persuasive forces (broadly understood) are at work in the contemporary world.

Courses

Rhetoric

RHETOR R1A The Craft of Writing 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Rhetorical approach to reading and writing argumentative discourse. Close reading of selected texts; written themes developed from class discussion and analysis of rhetorical strategies. Satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

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RHETOR R1B The Craft of Writing 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session
Intensive argumentative writing drawn from controversy stimulated through selected readings and class discussion. Satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

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RHETOR 2 Fundamentals of Public Speaking 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Summer 2016 10 Week Session, Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session
Basic principles of rhetoric as applied to the criticism and practice of public speaking.

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RHETOR 10 Introduction to Practical Reasoning and Critical Analysis of Argument 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Summer 2016 First 6 Week Session
An introduction to practical reasoning and the critical analysis of argument. Topics treated will include: definition, the syllogism, the enthymeme, fallacies, as well as various non-logical appeals. Also, the course will treat in introductory fashion some ancient and modern attempts to relate rhetoric and logic.

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RHETOR 20 Rhetorical Interpretation 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2016
Introduction to the study of rhetorical interpretation, treating how the action of tropes, figures, and performance generates meaning in communication: from fiction and other forms of literature, to politics, to film, to visual and material culture generally.

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RHETOR 22 Rhetoric of Shakespearean Drama 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 1996 10 Week Session
This class examines the way in which a distinctively rhetorical concern with persuasion, tropes, topicality, and modes of appeal can be engaged in readings of Shakespearean texts. Using written documents from the period along with contemporary rhetorical criticism and theory, the class analyzes the importance of rhetoric in the production and performance of Shakespeare's plays, in their particular rendering of verbal conflict and the scene of persuasion
, and in the analysis of their participation in larger cultural contests over the legitimacy of the prevailing political, legal, moral, or natural order.
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RHETOR 24 Freshman Seminars 1 Unit

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
The Berkeley Seminar Program has been designed to provide new students with the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member in a small-seminar setting. Berkeley Seminars are offered in all campus departments, and topics vary from department to department and semester to semester.

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RHETOR 39I Freshman/Sophomore Seminar 1.5 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2015, Spring 2014, Spring 2012
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester.

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RHETOR 98 Supervised Group Study 1 - 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Instruction for a small group of students on a topic initiated by those students.

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RHETOR 103A Approaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
A broad consideration of the historical relationships between philosophy, literature, and rhetoric, with special emphasis on selected themes of the classical and medieval periods.

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RHETOR 103B Approaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory II 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2016
A broad consideration of the historical relationship between philosophy, literature, and rhetoric, with special emphasis on selected themes within the early modern and modern periods.

Approaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory II: Read More [+]

RHETOR 104 Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Historical Eras 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
An examination of the relations between rhetoric, discourse, and knowledge in selected historical eras, for example the European Renaissance, the Atlantic Enlightenment, or Victorian Britain.

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RHETOR 105T Rhetoric of Religious Discourse 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2015, Spring 2014
Consideration of the rhetoric of hermeneutics or biblical interpretation with special emphasis on the mythical, symbolic, and allegorical language as the bearer of persuasive intention.

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RHETOR 106 Rhetoric of Historical Discourse 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
A study of how historical knowledge is produced and interpreted. Topics might include narrative and representation, the uses of evidence, forms of historical argumentation, and historical controversies in the public realm.

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RHETOR 107 Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2013
Examination of the characteristic functions of discourse in and about the natural sciences; with particular examination of the ways in which scientific language both guarantees, and at the same time, obscures the expression of social norms in scientific facts.

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RHETOR 108 Rhetoric of Philosophical Discourse 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Introduction to theoretical issues involved in applying rhetorical analysis to philosophical discourse; intensive analysis of selected philosophical works.

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RHETOR 109 Aesthetics and Rhetoric 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Study of the terms and means by which we make and defend judgments involving the exercise of aesthetic sensitivity or perceptiveness. Consideration of the relationship between aesthetic qualities and aesthetic value. Discussion of aesthetic criticism as the means by which the capacities and salience of works of art are called to our attention and brought into focus. Topics include questions of taste, expression, and affect.

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RHETOR 110 Advanced Argumentative Writing 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
Study and practice of advanced techniques of argumentation for students with well-developed writing skills. Ethical, logical and pathetic appeals; control of register and tone; assessment of a wide variety of real audiences; genre studies.

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RHETOR 111 Reception of Antiquity 4 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
Participants in this course can expect to accomplish two goals: they will become familiar with a fair amount of the two epics attributed to Homer; and they will learn how classical texts are received by later generations, with Homer as the centerpiece example. That is, we will look at the way in which classical texts are transmitted from the past and how they have survived (or have failed to survive) from antiquity into the present; how readers have sought to
make sense of them and to locate them in reality; and how Homer’s originally sung texts were changed while still remaining identifiably “Homeric,” and in this way came to constitute a Homeric tradition that continues to flourish today.
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RHETOR 112 Rhetoric of Narrative Genres in Nonliterate Societies 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2013
Investigation of the rhetorical and cultural principles common to various genres of narrative, both prose and poetic, in nonliterate societies. Mythic, epic and folk narratives considered as well as written works from cultures in transition.

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RHETOR 113 Rhetoric of Ethics 4 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
Can you live ethically without following moral norms, that is, norms as these are given institutionally and reinforced by culture and/or convention? The question, which is at least as old as the Cynics, gathered steam again in the nineteenth century starting with Nietzsche, and it remains a vital problem today. Paradoxical though it may seem, some of the staunchest critics of moral systems and moral norms are at the same time powerful advocates of non-normative
ethical reflection and action. This course will examine this phenomenon through close study.
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RHETOR 114 Rhetoric of New Media 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Fall 2016
This course examines a range of digital media practices including hypertext, interactive drama, videogames, literary interactive fiction, and socially constructed narratives in multi-user spaces. Through a mixture of readings, discussion, and project work, we will explore the theoretical positions, debates, and design issues arising from these different practices. Topics will include the rhetorical, ludic, theatrical, narrative
political, and legal dimensions of digital media.
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RHETOR 115 Technology and Culture 4 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
This course will examine the place and meaning of technology in culture, emphasizing the ways in which technologies shape and inflect social and political interactions. The primary focus will be on the wider reception and perception of technological and cultural shifts as represented in imaginative scientific and cultural works, endeavors and ambitions. This course will then question the conditions for the production and sustainability of these technologies and
technological dreams.
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RHETOR 116 Rhetoric, Culture and Society 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2014, Spring 2012
Analysis of rhetorical practice in the context of social and cultural change with particular reference to the historical transition from pre-industrial to industrial society in the west.

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RHETOR 117 Language, Truth and Dialogue 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Examination of philosophical dialogues from Plato to Heidegger. Focus on the interaction within the dialogue, the participation required of the reader/listener, and the relation of such interaction and participation to thinking, speaking and knowing.

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RHETOR 118 Undergraduate Seminar on the Theory and Practice of Reading and Interpretation 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2014, Fall 2013, Spring 2013
An introduction to contemporary modes of reading and interpretation in the humanities, from structuralism through psychoanalysis, with an emphasis on theories of the sign (semiotics). Examples drawn from such fields as contemporary literature, architecture, history, painting, film, and popular culture.

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RHETOR 119 Rhetorical Places 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2014
Studies in the history and theory of the rhetorics of place, space, and sites.

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RHETOR 121 Rhetoric of Fiction 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Study of the form and content of fictional narratives. Definition and techniques including voice, point of view, and time orders. Attention to cultural and historical contexts of selected narratives to consider interplay of works, authors, and readerships.

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RHETOR 122 Rhetoric of Drama 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2013, Fall 2012
Examination of the way character is created in drama by repetitive rhetorical patterns and the ways themes are defined by manipulation of such patterns.

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RHETOR 123 Rhetoric of Performance 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2012, Fall 2011
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of performance studies. While themes may vary, the course considers disciplinary genealogies from the performing arts, the social sciences, and speech act theory to investigate the many ways that humans constitute themselves and their world through performance.

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RHETOR 124 Rhetoric of Poetry 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2014
Consideration of the relationship between the texture of poetic discourse largely defined by figures of speech and overall poetic structures.

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RHETOR 125 Poetics and Poetry 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2012
Studies in the relationships between poetic theory and poetic practice from Aristotle's Poetics to the present day.

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RHETOR 127 Novel, Society, and Politics 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Fall 2014
This course examines the complex links between novelistic discourse, society, and politics. Topics to be studied may include the social and political vocation of the and the realist novel; autobiography and the rise of liberal individualism; political censorship; and the role of the novel in imagining the nation.

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RHETOR 128T The Rhetoric and Politics of Interviews 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Spring 2013
As a common form of interacting, documenting, and informing, the interview plays a central role in the process of social and cultural inquiry. The interview is here not only studied in its popularized use as a form of oral witnessing and of privileged access to personalities. It is also explored in its critical and potentially creative dimensions as part of a mise en scene or a setting in which interviewer and interviewees function as social
actors.
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RHETOR 129 Rhetoric of Autobiography 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Rhetorical analysis of autobiographical discourse, with specific attention to the evolution of the genre in relation to changing modes of human subjectivity.

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RHETOR 129AC Autobiography and American Individualism 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Fall 2012
Rhetorical analysis of autobiographical discourse in American cultures, with special attention to the ideology of individualism.

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RHETOR 130 Novel into Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2016, Summer 2015 Second 6 Week Session
Close examination of the adaptation of written fiction to the cinema. Focus on the problems arising from the transformation of five novels, which will be read, into their filmed versions.

Novel into Film: Read More [+]

RHETOR 131T Genre in Film and Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2014
Study of a particular genre (e.g., detective/mystery, horror/thriller, melodrama) with attention to theories of genre in popular culture.

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RHETOR 132T Auteur in Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
The study of films from the perspective of directorial style, theme, or filmmaking career. This course may focus on a single or several directors.

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RHETOR 133T Theories of Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2014, Spring 2013, Fall 2012
Classical theories of film by Eisenstein, Arnheim, Kracauer, Bazin, Metz, and others. Only one or two films will be analyzed in great depth to test the power of various theories.

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RHETOR 135T Selected Topics in Film 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
A study of a film topic not covered by the other film categories. This course might focus on a particular cinematic "theme," or a nonhistoric and nongeneric category. Examples: Feminist Film Practice, Gay and Lesbian Cinema, Race and Cinematic Representation.

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RHETOR 136 Art and Authorship 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
Study of narratives and visual cultures of art and its authors, including questions of what is art, who authors it, the boundaries of works and artistic personae, and how aesthetic, economic, and legal regimes of artistic authorship are historicized.

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RHETOR 137 Rhetoric of the Image 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016
This course surveys methods and theories of visual culture, including the rhetorics and discourses of images (still and moving), media (old and new), display, circulation, value, and interpretation. Topics explored will include: spectacle, reproduction, materiality, time, style, genre, archive, truth-value, and affectivity. Students will learn multi- and interdisciplinary uses of visual materials as objects of analysis, evidence, exchange, and argumentation.

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RHETOR 138 Television Criticism 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Fall 2014
An introduction to the close analysis and evaluation of television texts. Consideration of a range of examples drawn from classical television series, sitcoms, dramas, news programming, and contemporary reality television. Students learn the narrative, aesthetic, and stylistic aspects of television's story-telling modes and strategies through readings, screenings, short exercises, and a final project consisting of a substantial work of criticism
and an oral presentation.
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RHETOR 139 Rhetoric of Visual Witnessing 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2014
Studies of the theory and practice of the rhetoric of visual evidence relating to catastrophe. Themes may include witnessing, testimony, the photographic record, news media, and archival knowledge around such subjects as genocide and crimes against humanity, war and other forms of political violence, the AIDS epidemic, natural disaster.

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RHETOR 145 Science, Narrative, and Image 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017
What is the role of narrative in science and conversely? How do images supplement or displace these narratives? How have scientific conceptions impacted narrative forms and theories of narrative? How important are images to the rhetoric of scientific persuasion? Finally, how can science itself be narrated or visually represented? This course will examine critical discussions of these questions.

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RHETOR 150 Rhetoric of Contemporary Politics 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Examination of the characteristic rhetoric of a variety of manifestations of modern politics. Emphasis on building a theoretical foundation for critically observing and participating in the contemporary political process.

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RHETOR 151 Rhetoric of Contact and Conquest 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2015, Fall 2012
This course charts the discovery and conquest of the New World; it treats the ways in which New World peoples were understood--and exploited--by Europeans. It explores not only questions relating to the origins of New World peoples, but also climate and zonal theories of race, and racial ideas of degeneration and corruption. In examining Europe's multivalent relationship with the "other," the course investigates the legal, moral,
and spiritual status of New World peoples.
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RHETOR 152 Rhetoric of Constitutional Discourse 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2012, Spring 2011, Spring 2002
The rhetorical context of . Examines the tradition of Anglo-American constitutional argumentation in the eighteenth century, its sources, and its implications. Readings include Locke, Hume, Montesquieu, pamphlets of the American Revolution, and Anti-Federalist writings.

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RHETOR 152AC Race and Order in the New Republic 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
This course will explore how the social issue of race in the new American republic shaped the political founding of the United States in 1787. We will investigate perceptions of race at the time of the founding, and try to understand the origins of those perceptions. We will examine how those same perceptions affected the founding and establishment of a new nation and how they have affected our contemporary social and political discourse.

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RHETOR 153 American Political Rhetoric 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2016, Spring 2014
A survey of the ways in which Americans have discussed their existence as a distinct nation their rights and obligations, and the legitimate modes of political action open to them. Readings cover the 17th through the 20th centuries and may include discussion of sermons, novels, philosophy, social and political theory, autobiographies, declassified government planning documents, Congressional testimony, and films.

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RHETOR 155 Discourses of Colonialism and Postcoloniality 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2015, Spring 2012, Spring 2011
This course critically explores key concepts and figures used in the public discourse of European colonialism to justify territorial expansion in the 19th century such as "race," "culture," "civility," and "the Orient" and their disturbing legacies for the knowledges, practical projects, and problems of contemporary postcolonial societies in a globalizing world.

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RHETOR 156 Rhetoric of the Political Novel 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2016, Summer 2015 Second 6 Week Session
Investigation of major 19th and 20th century works of fiction in which political stances are exploited as dominant themes; close reading of authorial viewpoints and rhetorical strategies.

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RHETOR 157A Rhetoric of Modern Political Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2013, Fall 2012
Study of the textual strategies of important works of modern European and American political theory from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

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RHETOR 157B Rhetoric of Contemporary Political Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Spring 2014, Spring 2013
Study of the textual strategies of important works of 20th century European and American political theory.

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RHETOR 158 Advanced Problems in the Rhetoric of Political Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Close study of selected works of modern political theory, including debates over the nature and interpretation of political theory and the role of the political theorist. Specific themes and readings vary from year to year.

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RHETOR 159A Great Theorists in the Rhetoric of Political and Legal Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
This course explores the development of one or two theorists or an important theme or issue, with close readings of major texts as well as attention to important commentators.

Great Theorists in the Rhetoric of Political and Legal Theory: Read More [+]

RHETOR 159B Great Themes in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Political and Legal Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Spring 2011
This course concentrates on aspects of 20th century political, social, and legal theory that are too complex to be treated comprehensively as one section of the courses in modern theory.

Great Themes in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Political and Legal Theory: Read More [+]

RHETOR 160 Introduction to the Rhetoric of Legal Discourse 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
The application of rhetorical methodology to all categories of legal texts.

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RHETOR 164 Rhetoric of Legal Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2012
Rhetorical methodology applied to close analysis of the argumentative framework of important works in modern legal theory.

Rhetoric of Legal Theory: Read More [+]

RHETOR 165 Rhetoric of Legal Philosophy 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
Consideration of basic philosophical issues related to the political and moral foundations of the law.

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RHETOR 166 Rhetoric in Law and Politics 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Examination of the role of rhetoric in the legal and political thought of a particular era or culture. Course may compare societies or periods. All foreign texts will be studied in English translation.

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RHETOR 167 Advanced Themes in Legal Theory, Philosophy, Argumentation 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Thorough consideration of particular rhetorical themes in the field of legal theory, legal philosophy, and legal argumentation.

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RHETOR 168 Advanced Topics in Contemporary Law and Legal Discourse 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2012, Spring 2012
Thorough consideration of particular rhetorical themes in the fields of contemporary law and legal discourse. Sample topics include entertainment law, First Amendment law, copyright law.

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RHETOR 170 Rhetoric of Social Science 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2012
Analysis of the ways in which political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, economists and psychologists establish the authoritativeness of their claims. Focus is on the presentation of data as fact, the use of quantitative methods, and other "strategies" through which social knowledge is transformed into objective information.

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RHETOR 171 The Problem of Mass Culture and the Rhetoric of Social Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2015
Study of the textual strategies whereby the masses and mass culture emerge as objects of anxiety, hope, and scrutiny for social theorists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Problem of Mass Culture and the Rhetoric of Social Theory: Read More [+]

RHETOR 172 Rhetoric of Social Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2011, Fall 2010, Fall 2009
Rhetorical analysis of theorists from Durkheim and Weber, as well as Marx, Ricardo and Bentham, to contemporary representatives of social and economic thought.

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RHETOR 176 Rhetoric of Material Culture 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Where did the first collections originate? Why did people begin to collect? How did--and do--museums and museum collections contribute to the definition of the cultural values/power of elite groups? How do we define ourselves--as citizens, as members of a discipline or tribe, as nations--with reference to collections? What values/ideologies structure the debates and conflicts over definition, meaning, and ownership of collections? These are
questions we will try to answer in the class.
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RHETOR 182 Rhetorics of Sexual Exchange and Sexual Difference 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Spring 2014
This course examines the centrality of sexual difference and sexual exchange to the structuring of societies, cultures, and political life. Possible topics include theories of desire and corporeality; the figure of woman as object of exchange in historical and contemporary contexts such as Sati, prostitution, surrogacy and IVF, and the global traffic in female labor; and an examination of how sexual difference functions as a blind-spot in
theories of culture, society, and economy.
Rhetorics of Sexual Exchange and Sexual Difference: Read More [+]

RHETOR 189 Special Topics 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Group instruction and investigation of topics not accommodated in regular course offerings.

Special Topics: Read More [+]

RHETOR H190A Honors Thesis 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2017
Independent study under guidance of a faculty director culminating in a written thesis. Required of all rhetoric majors desiring to earn the A.B. degree with honors.

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RHETOR H190B Honors Thesis 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Summer 2017 8 Week Session, Spring 2017
Independent study under guidance of a faculty director culminating in a written thesis. Required of all rhetoric majors desiring to earn the A.B. degree with honors.

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RHETOR 197 Field Studies 1 - 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Summer 2017 First 6 Week Session, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session
Supervised field work in an off-campus organization or business. Field work should be relevant to themes or topics covered in the undergraduate curriculum studied in the department. Additional meetings with faculty sponsor required. Weekly journals and a final paper also required.

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RHETOR 198 Supervised Group Study 1 - 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Instruction for a small group of students on a topic initiated by those students.

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RHETOR 199 Supervised Independent Study 1 - 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2017
For special projects that cannot be otherwise accommodated.

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Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

David William Bates, Professor. Enlightenment, early Modern European intellectual history, 20th century European and American intellectual history, history and theory of media and technology, history of political thought.
Research Profile

Daniel Boyarin, Professor. Talmud, rhetoric, Christianity, genealogy of, invention of Judaism.
Research Profile

Anthony J. Cascardi, Professor. English, comparative literature, literature, Spanish, Portuguese, philosophy, aesthetics, early modern literature, French, Spanish Baroque.
Research Profile

Pheng Cheah, Professor. Nationalism, rhetoric, legal philosophy, feminism, 18th-20th century continental philosophy & contemporary critical theory, postcolonial theory & anglophone postcolonial literatures, cosmopolitanism & globalization, social & political thought.
Research Profile

Marianne Constable, Professor. Law and language, legal rhetoric and philosophy, social and political thought, Anglo-American legal history, Continental philosophy, law and society.
Research Profile

Samera Esmeir, Associate Professor. Critical theory, Middle Eastern Studies, Legal and political thought, law and society, legal histories, colonialism and post-colonialism.
Research Profile

Shannon Jackson, Professor. Rhetoric, performance studies, American studies, 20th century art movements and critical theory, local culture and intercultural citizenship in turn-of-the-century United States, history and theory of theatre and performance art.
Research Profile

Michael James Mascuch, Associate Professor. Rhetoric, photography, autobiography, narrative and culture, media and society, documentation, early modern Britain.
Research Profile

Ramona Naddaff, Associate Professor. Rhetoric, aesthetics, theory of the novel, ancient Greek philosophy and literature, history of philosophy, contemporary French thought.
Research Profile

James Porter, Professor. Classical Studies, philosophy, critical theory, aesthetics, Nietzsche, Auerbach.
Research Profile

Minh-Ha Trinh, Professor. Gender and sexuality, women's studies, rhetoric, feminist postcolonial theory, film theory and production, music composition, ethnomusicology, contemporary critical theory and the arts.
Research Profile

Mario Wimmer, Assistant Adjunct Professor.

Michael Wintroub, Associate Professor. Religion, ritual, social change, rhetoric, history of science, early modern cultural history, travel, identity formation, alterity, cross-cultural contact, popular and court culture, state-building, humanism, vernacular consciousness and literature, mater.
Research Profile

Winnie Won Yin Wong, Assistant Professor.

Nasser Zakariya, Assistant Professor.

Lecturers

Alex Dubilet, Lecturer.

Felipe Gutterriez, Lecturer.

Nancy A. Weston, Lecturer.

Rebecca Wiseman, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Seymour B. Chatman, Professor Emeritus. Semiotics, rhetoric, narrative structure and style in film and literature, language of film, relation between film and novel.
Research Profile

David J. Cohen, Professor Emeritus. Human rights;war crimes & trials;Indonesia & East Timor; Guantanamo & Abu Grahib;Sierra Leone Special Court;International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda & Former Yugoslavia;Classics;ancient rhetoric & history, classical Greek law;political/legal theory.
Research Profile

Bridget Connelly, Professor Emeritus.

Frederick M. Dolan, Professor Emeritus. Ethics, modernity, aesthetics, political theory, literature and politics, theories of interpretation, Continental philosophy, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arendt, Foucault, American political discourse, aesthetics and politics.
Research Profile

Daniel Melia, Professor Emeritus. Rhetoric, oral literature, Celtic studies, Celtic languages (Welsh, Irish), folklore, medieval history and literature.
Research Profile

Barbara Shapiro, Professor Emeritus. Rhetoric, political and legal thought 1500-1700, intellectual and cultural history, 1500-1700, early modern legal and political discourse, science and society, Tudor and Stuart England.
Research Profile

+ Kaja Silverman, Professor Emeritus. Feminist theory, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, queer studies, race, rhetoric, film, cinema, photography, time-based visual art, painting, post-structuralist theory, masculinity.
Research Profile

Thomas O. Sloane, Professor Emeritus. Renaissance literature, history of rhetoric, teaching rhetoric.
Research Profile

+ Linda Williams, Professor Emeritus. New media, film theory, pornography, melodrama, sex in cinema, popular genres, surrealist cinema, serial television.
Research Profile

Todd G. Willy, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of Rhetoric

7408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1415

Fax: 510-642-8881

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

David Bates

7315 Dwinelle Hall

dwbates@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Student Affairs Officer

Blaine Jones

7406 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-3522

blainejones@berkeley.edu

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