Applied Rhetorical Theory
“Rhetoric” is not a four letter word. Rhetoric is not empty. Rhetoric is not merely flowery. Rhetoric is not just political. Rhetoric is not always emotional. Rhetoric should not be above the heads of the audience.
So, now that we know what rhetoric “is not,” what is it? Rhetoric is any communication whose implied or unimplied purpose is to bring about change. “Any communication” means just that: speeches, books, films, television, radio, advertising, music, e-mail, websites, photographs, paintings, physical structures, and, human action.
Whoa! That’s a lot of stuff. Yes, but very exciting stuff. This course looks at ways to really get into how messages work in whatever form the discourse takes: how the sender sends to message, even if it is a rap star or country singer; a politician or an advertiser; a writer or a painter.
This course looks at the chronological progress of the study of rhetorical criticism, while parallel studying the contemporary application of it. That is, we look at the old guys, while applying some of the new guys, male and female. The application of rhetorical theory is done through analyzing a rhetorical artifact: film (movie), television show, advertising, speech, music, political speech(s), advocacy campaign, even architecture. Lots of choices and it’s the student’s choice.
Give rhetoric a chance. After all, it isn’t a four letter word.