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CAS 201 - Introduction to Rhetorical Theory

Professor: Jeremy Engels
Office: 215 Sparks
Email: jde13@psu.edu 

What is rhetoric? This class will demonstrate that rhetoric is more important than we generally give it credit for. Rhetoric is the oldest liberal art in Western civilization, and one of the oldest disciplines in our culture. We will study a long history of rhetorical theory demonstrating that rhetoric is foundational to social and political life. We will distinguish good rhetoric from bad rhetoric. We will study the ethics of rhetoric, and contrast rhetoric with both manipulation and propaganda. We will investigate the many ways that the quality of our rhetoric influences the quality of our lives. In the process, we will become better communicators and deeper thinkers, and we will become happier and healthier human beings (at least we can hope!).

Course Objectives

  • learn key concepts and theories of rhetoric
  • learn to distinguish good rhetoric from bad rhetoric
  • become more thoughtful consumers and produces of rhetoric