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ENGL489P Special Topics in Language and Rhetoric; The Language of Political Persuasion

Special topics in language and rhetoric, such as discourse analysis, semantics, or cognitive linguistics; comparative rhetoric and rhetorical theory, digital rhetorics, women's and minority rhetorics, or the history of rhetoric.

This course looks at how language is used to inform, argue and persuade in the context of political activity.

Areas for discussion include (a) word and phrase meanings and specifically how meanings are located within broad explanatory frameworks; (b) the contribution of organizational devices, from basic grammatical choices to broader rhetorical structures within various genres; (c) the ways in which language is used to express identity and alignment, to include and exclude, and to construct and confirm ideas about what is “normal” and normative;  (d) how specific linguistic and rhetorical choices both reflect and affect power relationships and group structure; and (e) how ideologies, both overt and underlying, are expressed and deployed.

Throughout, we examine a variety of texts—political debates, speeches, advertisements, and reportage, among others—to see how the various linguistic and rhetorical elements work together to identify, engage and persuade the intended audience. Students will collect and analyze their own data for analysis. Requirements include short assignments and directed responses, participation in discussion, a final paper, and a final exam.

0101 - Linda Coleman

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