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CAS 375 - Rhetoric & Controversy

Dave Chappelle Stand-up

Whether it is an ex-president’s ban from a social media platform or the leaking of a football coach’s bigoted emails, the public imagination seems to be persistently captured by controversies. This course explores different controversies that have impacted our public culture, ranging from the removal of confederate monuments to the response elicited by Dave Chappelle’s The Closer. In this class we will analyze specific cases of public controversy with an eye to their specific significance as well as to the general importance of controversy for a democratic public culture.

Course Objectives

  1. Identify and analyze some of the controversies that are, or have been, significant for our public culture.
  2. Appraise the sociopolitical challenge that controversies pose, including their positive and negative consequences.
  3. Explore the rhetorical means by which citizens provoke and navigate controversies