Rhetorical Criticism

CRN 30097 / Tu 5:30PM - 8:25PM / 1128 Cathedral of Learning
This graduate seminar centers on research exemplifying rhetorical criticism. The course concentrates primarily on interpretive and critical approaches for studying instances of rhetorical communication in their historical and cultural context. The seminar critically examines relationships among messages, authors, audiences, and cultures. In other words, you will become acquainted with practices and methods of rhetorical criticism as practiced in the United States during the twentieth century. The seminar concentrates on major approaches to the analysis and interpretation of persuasive messages ranging from speeches to symbolic action. In addition, you will demonstrate your ability to perform rhetorical criticism by employing conventional research methods to conduct a sustained study of a significant rhetorical message or series of closely related messages. The method of instruction includes lecture, discussion, and practice workshops. Considerations of gender, sex, race, sexuality, age, and class will be interwoven throughout the course materials and discussions. Evaluation: You will write short papers every third week plus a final, formal paper which enlarges one of them. These papers will employ a conventional research practice to perform a rhetorical criticism of a significant symbolic message or series of related messages, which you select for study throughout the term

Number of Credits


Lester Olson

Course Term


Course Category

Category A: Text and Theory

Course Year