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CAS 515 - Rhetoric and Media

Professor: Michele Kennerly
Office: 223 Sparks
Email: kennerly@psu.edu 

Informing Rhetoric

Coinciding with the launch year of Penn State’s Center for Humanities and Information (CHI), this course routes information into rhetorical theory and rhetoric into information theory. Plot points range from encyclopedias and entropy to infographics and information democracy. By etymological definition, information is formlessness. Our axiom will be that the imposition of form is a—the—rhetorical act.

Course Objectives

  • To understand information as both a transhistorical concept and a term specific to a network of thinkers from the 1940s forward;
  • To track how and where rhetoric, communication, and language inform information theory;
  • To apply key informational concepts to the history, theory, and practice of rhetoric;
  • To seek evidence that information’s infrastructures are shaped by and shaping rhetoric;
  • To inventory some conceptual and material results of perceived information pressures.