English 522:
Rhetorical Theory in Historical Perspective

General Information

Spring, 1999
Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. - 10:05 p.m.
Humanities Building 116

Instructor: Professor Robert Yagelski (http://www.albany.edu/~rpy95/index.html)
Office: Humanities 367
Telephone: 518-442-4016
Email: rpy95@cnsvax.albany.edu
Office Hours: TTh 1:00 - 2:00, and by appointment
English Department: 518-442-4055

Course Description

This course examines contemporary rhetorical theory and practice in the context of the ancient discipline of rhetoric. The overriding concern of the course is to acquaint students with some of the richness of the tradition of rhetoric and the questions and issues that arise from it in order to explore the usefulness of that tradition in addressing contemporary concerns about literacy, pedagogy, theory, technology, and culture. Such an effort will inevitably lead to disciplinary questions as well: How do current configurations of academic disciplines (especially English) relate to ancient classifications of knowledge and to longstanding debates about those classifications (such as the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric)? We will consider these issues in the context of recent social, cultural, economic, political, and theoretical developments, with attention to students' own disciplinary and pedagogical concerns. In so doing, we will assess classicist Brian Vickers' contention that "rhetoric is intimately concerned with every aspect of human life." Readings include works by Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, Cicero, Foucault, Burke, and Neel, among others. (See requirements for details about assignments and course activities.)

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