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CAS 475 - Studies in Public Address

Instructor: Professor VanHaitsma
Email: prv5@psu.edu
Office: 226 Sparks

Studies in Public Address considers the history and criticism of public discourse through intensive analysis of selected public addresses and social movements. In this section of Studies in Public Address, we focus on LGBTQ public addresses and social movements in the U.S.

We will analyze the public discourse of movement organizations as well as figures such as James Baldwin, Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, Urvashi Vaid, Leslie Feinberg, Evan Wolfson, Cherríe Moraga, and Laverne Cox. We will read widely in both the broad field of public address studies and the specific subfield of LGBTQ rhetorics. Informed by this work together, each student will develop his/her/hir own original analyses of specific LGBTQ public addresses through weekly writing assignments.

Across our reading, writing, and in-class discussions, we will explore two key questions: How may we use concepts and ideas from public address theory to understand the complex role of LGBTQ rhetorics in shaping civic life? And how might our analyses of LGBTQ rhetorics contribute to the field of public address studies writ large?

Course Objectives

Students will:

  • Understand the significance of LGBTQ rhetorics to U.S. history, culture, and politics.
  • Engage with public address theory to analyze specific instances of LGBTQ rhetorics in their complexity.
  • Attend to the intersection of sexuality with other categories (e.g. gender, race, class, nationality, ability) within public discourse.
  • Articulate the contributions of LGBTQ rhetorics to the field of public address studies.