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Rhetoric and Public Discourse – Spring 2015

Spring 2015 Seminar
Meets: T 5:00pm - 7:00pm
2 classroom credits

This seminar will cover issues in both individual and public discourse. For the former, students will have an opportunity to hone rhetorical skills in a chosen format -- speaking, presenting, moderating or production of media -- and for the latter, we will explore the evolving nature of discourse in the networked public sphere, from "electronic town halls" to Wikipedia to anonymous and identified commenting. Some of our questions: What roles do and should intermediaries play in setting our topical agendas and shaping conversations around them? What impact does and can money have in influencing opinion on a large scale? What new modalities exist to facilitate conversation and closure among parties who disagree in good faith? Should advocates and agents be treated the same as those who claim to be speaking for themselves? Are there ways to identify and mitigate discourse grounded in bad faith, a.k.a. truthiness?

By application. Possible to fulfill the Written Work Requirement.

The application can be found at, and is due at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 10, 2014.