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CAS 507 - Issues in Rhetorical Theory: Publics, Gender, Race

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Professor: Rosa Eberly
Wednesdays 2:30PM-5:30PM Zoom

This seminar challenges graduate students in the humanities to confront multiple theories of publics and subsequently to assess those theories' problems as well as their promise for reinventing a just participatory democracy. Readings move from Nancy Fraser's Unruly Practices and Jurgen Habermas's Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, to work by Seyla Benhabib, Michael Warner, and the Black Public Sphere collective. Queer accounts of publics and counterpublics and possibilities of queer coalition-building constitute the next section of the seminar. Global publics are considered in the next. The seminar concludes with a re-reading of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as well as selections from The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers in the contexts of white supremacist heteropatriarchy and anti-racism. Finally, we will read John Dewey's The Public and its Problems in preparation for the centenary of a work that has echoed across the intervening decades; the seminar will read Dewey in the context of women's suffrage in the United States and elsewhere. Besides those mentioned above, readings by Linda Nicholson, Elsa Barkley Brown, Joan Landes, Karma Chavez, Dana Cloud, Eric King Watts, Bryan McCann, and Catherine Squires will be featured in this seminar. In addition to weekly readings, 3-5 formal oral responses to readings and 1 potentially publishable final course paper (preceded by 1 topic proposal and 1 rough draft) constitute the major assignments for this seminar.