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CAS 507 - Issues in Rhetorical Theory

Professor: Bradford Vivian
Phone: (814) 865-0945
Email: bjv113@psu.edu 

This seminar will investigate the work of Giorgio Agamben, Judith Butler, and Jacques Rancière for two primary reasons: first, they represent three of the foremost contemporary figures working at the intersection of political philosophy, rhetorical theory (broadly defined), and ethical thought; second, rhetoricians in Communication as well as English have taken up Agamben, Butler, or Rancière’s writings in their own research, thereby revealing substantive affinities with current preoccupations in rhetorical theory and criticism.

Agamben, Butler, and Rancière investigate crucial topics—such as the evolving state of contemporary political formations; the relationship between law and violence; and the status of the individual subject—in highly influential as well as compatible ways. They do so by closely analyzing a variety of rhetorical phenomena, including consensus, language, narrative, speech, representation, textuality, and more. The seminar will thus enhance students’ training in rhetorical theory from interdisciplinary and disciplinary perspectives alike by engaging with the influential work of these thematically linked figures.

Prospective Works*

* In whole or part; subject to revision