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Rhetoric

Professor Nero; Associate Professor Kelley-Romano (chair); Lecturer Hovden


Rhetoric is a civic and cultural art. Rhetoric's origins are at the invention of democracy in the ancient Greek polis. The Christian church maintained the foundational rhetoric texts during the Middle Ages and scholars rediscovered them during the Renaissance. Since then rhetoric has flourished as a fundamental aspect of modern democracy. At Bates, rhetoric is the study of the symbolic as it is enacted in the process of negotiation in culture, civil society, and history. The major teaches students to understand how citizens use the symbolic in processes of negotiation within democratic states.

Rhetoric is both performance and a field of study. Rhetoric as performance is the ability to fundamentally navigate in the public sphere as an agent. Traditionally successful agency has included skills in oratory, writing, and debating. As the public sphere has expanded, so have the skills needed for successful agency. Skills may now be in purely visual media such as film, television, and virtual worlds.

Argumentation and debate are traditional aspects of the practice and study of rhetoric, and have long been considered essential elements to a functioning public sphere. Bates has a storied history of excellence in debate, and students may study argumentation in courses or participate in competitive debate, or both. Through the Brooks Quimby Debate Council (BQDE), the Bates rhetoric program teaches non-rhetoric students basic elements of rhetorical practice and theory and enriches the public sphere at the College.

The major in rhetoric offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human communication. Students complete a series of core courses in rhetorical theory and criticism, history of public address, and film and television studies, complemented by courses on language, media, and communication drawn from the curricula of other departments. All students complete a senior thesis. More information on the rhetoric curriculum is available on the website (www.bates.edu/RHET.xml).

Major Requirements. Students must choose a concentration in either rhetorical theory and criticism or in film and television studies. Each major consists of eleven courses distributed as follows:

Rhetorical Theory and Criticism. Required core courses:
1) RHET 155. What is Rhetoric?

2) One of the following:
RHET 185. Public Discourse.
RHET 291. Introduction to Argumentation.
THEA 101. An Introduction to Drama: Theater and Film.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.

3) One of the following:
RHET 257. Rhetorical Criticism.
RHET 276. Television Criticism.

4) RHET 252. Rhetorical Theory.

5) One of the following:
RHET 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.
RHET 265. The Rhetoric of Women's Rights.

6) AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.

7) Two of the following:
RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
RHET 391C. The Harlem Renaissance.
RHET 391D. Argument Theory.
RHET 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.

8) RHET 457 and/or 458. Senior Thesis.

9) Students are also required to complete at least one course from two of the following three areas. No single course may be used to complete more than one requirement. No more than one Short Term course may be counted toward the major.

a) Theories of Communication:
ANTH 333. Culture and Interpretation.
CM/RH 160. Classical Rhetoric.
CM/HI 231. Litigation in Classical Athens.
FYS 332. A Raisin in the Sun.
PHIL 195. Introduction to Logic.
PHIL 235. Philosophy of Mind.
PSYC 380. Social Cognition.

b) Representation:
AA/TH 225. The Grain of the Black Image.
AA/TH 226. Minority Images in Hollywood Film.
AV/WS 287. Women, Gender, Visual Culture.
AVC 288. Visualizing Race.
AVC 375. Issues of Sexuality and the Study of Visual Culture.
AVC s32. The Photograph as Document.
FYS 313. Whitelands: Cinematic Nightmares.
INDS 235. The Politics of Pleasure and Desire: Women's Independent and Third Cinema and Video from the African Diaspora.
INDS s25. Black Terror.
RHET 195. Documentary Production.
RHET s18. Goldberg's Canon: Makin' Whoopi.
RHET s31. Conspiracy Rhetoric.

c) Social and Political Movements:
HIST 261. American Protest in the Twentieth Century.
PL/RE 212. Contemporary Moral Disputes.
PLTC 346. Power and Protest.
REL 247. City upon the Hill.

Film and Television Studies. Required core courses:
1) RHET 155. What is Rhetoric?

2) AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.

3) One of the following:
RHET 185. Public Discourse.
RHET 291. Introduction to Argumentation.
THEA 101. An Introduction to Drama: Theater and Film.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.

4) RHET 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.

5) RHET 276. Television Criticism.

6) Two of the following:
RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
RHET 391C. The Harlem Renaissance.
RHET 391D. Argument Theory.
RHET 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.

7) RHET 457 and/or 458. Senior Thesis.

8) Students are required to complete three film and television studies courses from among the following. No more than one Short Term course may be counted toward the major.
AA/TH 226. Minority Images in Hollywood Film.
ANTH 155. Cinematic Portraits of Africa.
AN/PT s22. Politics of Cultural Production: African Films and Filmmaking.
CHI 211. Film and Chinese Modernity.
EN/ES 395Q. Nature and Culture in European Art Film.
FRE s36. The Evolution of French Cinema.
FYS 334. Film Art.
GER s25. The German Cinema.
INDS 235. The Politics of Pleasure and Desire: Women's Independent and Third Cinema and Video from the African Diaspora.
MUS 340. Music and Cinema.
PLTC s16. Arab and Iranian Film as Indicators of Social Change.
REL 100. Religion and Film.
RHET s18. Goldberg's Canon: Makin' Whoopi.
SPAN 217. Literatura en el cine.
SPAN 354. RevoluciĆ³n en el cine.
THEA 242. Screenwriting.
THEA s33. Central European Theater and Film.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Students are allowed to take one 100- or 200-level course pass/fail within the major. No 300-level courses may be taken pass/fail.

Minor in Rhetoric. The minor consists of six courses. A coherent program for each student's minor is designed in accord with the following guidelines and in consultation with a member of the rhetoric faculty who is chosen or appointed as the student's departmental advisor for the minor.

The courses or Short Term courses required for the minor in rhetoric include:
1) RHET 155. What is Rhetoric?

2) One of the following:
RHET 255. Rhetorical Criticism.
RHET 276. Television Criticism.

3) AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.

4) One of the following:
RHET 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.
RHET 265. The Rhetoric of Women's Rights.

5) One of the following:
RHET 185. Public Discourse.
RHET 291. Introduction to Argumentation.
THEA 101. An Introduction to Drama: Theater and Film.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.

6) One of the following:
RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
RHET 391C. The Harlem Renaissance.
RHET 391D. Argument Theory.
RHET 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. One course may be taken pass/fail in fulfilling the minor requirements.

Courses

RHET 155. What is Rhetoric?.Although the oldest discipline, rhetoric may be the least understood. Aristotle defined rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion." In this course, students conduct a historical survey of rhetorical theory from classical times to the present. Rhetorical artifacts examined include political speeches, television programs, print advertisements, editorials, music, film, and Internet sites. Required of all majors. Enrollment limited to 30. [W1] Normally offered every year. S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations

AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.Since its origins in the early twentieth century, film has debated how to represent black suffering. This course examines one aspect of that debate: the persistent themes of white goodness, innocence, and blamelessness in films that are allegedly about black history and culture. Historical and cultural topics examined in film include the enslavement of Africans, Reconstruction, and the civil rights movement. Particular attention is given to films in the interracial male-buddy genre. [W2] Normally offered every year. C. Nero. Concentrations

RHET 185. Public Discourse.This course is designed to develop an awareness of and skill in the techniques needed by a speaker in varying situations, from the large gathering to the small group. Students analyze and compose public speeches on various political issues. Enrollment limited to 24. Normally offered every year. J. Hovden. Concentrations

INDS 235. The Politics of Pleasure and Desire: Women's Independent and Third Cinema and Video from the African Diaspora.This course examines independent and Third Cinema, and some written texts by women of African descent using contemporary theories of female pleasure and desire. By viewing and reading these cultural productions drawn from "high" and "low" culture in the light of a variety of film theories (e.g., feminist, womanist/black feminist, postcolonial, diasporic) as well as race-critical, feminist, and cultural theories, students explore the "textual" strategies that construct black female representations, and Afra-diasporic authors/directors and audiences as subjects and as agents of political change. Cross-listed in African American studies, rhetoric, and women and gender studies. Open to first-year students. S. Houchins. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

RHET 252. Rhetorical Theory.While rhetoric is commonly perceived to be persuasion, rhetorical theorists have long studied the relationship between symbol systems and broader aspects of human identity. This course focuses on theories that explore the epistemological (how we know) and the ontological (being) aspects of language use. The course begins with general theories related to the topic and then moves to discussions of how language influences our understanding and embodiment of race, gender, sexuality, and citizenship. Prerequisite(s): Rhetoric 155. Enrollment limited to 30. Normally offered every year. J. Hovden.

RHET 257. Rhetorical Criticism.In this course, students apply rhetorical theories to a variety of artifacts to understand the unique insights afforded by rhetorical studies. Students write, present, and discuss papers in which they apply and analyze different rhetorical perspectives. Rhetorical artifacts examined include political speeches, campaign advertising, television, print advertisements, editorials, music, film, Internet sites, and social-movement rhetoric. Prerequisite(s): Rhetoric 155. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. [W1] [W2] S. Kelley-Romano, J. Hovden. Concentrations

RHET 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.This course investigates the representation of lesbians and gays in film from the Golden Age of Hollywood to the contemporary independent filmmaking movement. Topics may include the effect of the "closet" on Hollywood film, homophobic imagery, international queer films, "camp" as a visual and narrative code for homosexuality, the independent filmmaking movement, and the debates about queer visibility in contemporary mass-market and independent films. Prerequisite(s): Rhetoric 155 and African American Studies/Rhetoric 162. Open to first-year students. [W2] C. Nero. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

RHET 265. The Rhetoric of Women's Rights.Throughout American history the roles and rights ascribed to women have differed from those ascribed to men. Because of their differing situations, women have had to use rhetorical means to attain their goals of equality and access to the public sphere. This course is a study of the rhetorical strategies used by women to overcome the exigencies they faced. It also includes the rhetoric of oppositional voices who have opposed the goals of the feminist movements and the rhetoric in the broader social environment that establishes the social norms and values in which the movement must operate. Students learn and apply the tools of rhetorical criticism in order to identify, describe, and evaluate the rhetoric studies. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: Rhetoric 100, 155, 185, or 291. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. [W2] S. Kelley-Romano, J. Hovden. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

RHET 276. Television Criticism.This course examines the representational strategies employed by television to convey social messages. The goals of the course are twofold: first, to acquaint students with the basic theoretical premises of rhetorical approaches to television; and second, to provide students an opportunity for critical and original research. Possible televisual texts include prime-time dramas, situation comedies, soap operas, talk shows, news programming, and sporting events. Prerequisite (s): Rhetoric 155. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. [W2] S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations

RHET 291. Introduction to Argumentation.An examination of the theory and practice of argumentation. This course explores argument theory from antiquity to the present and gives students the opportunity to develop skills in structured academic debates. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20. Normally offered every year. J. Hovden.

RHET 360. Independent Study.Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Normally offered every semester. Staff.

RHET 365. Special Topics.Offered occasionally in selected subjects. Staff.

RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.This seminar examines the discourse surrounding UFOs and alien abduction. Texts are drawn from various media including print, television, film, and the Internet. Topics for discussion revolve around issues of social influence and popular culture. The course examines conspiracy, narrative, television criticism, the Internet, the rhetoric of outer space, and intertextuality. Prerequisite(s): Rhetoric 155 and Rhetoric 257 or 276. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.In this course, students explore the wide array of discourse surrounding presidential campaigns. Texts examined include political speeches, political advertisements, debates, and news reporting on the campaign. Special attention is paid to newspaper and television coverage of candidates and the development of image. Prerequisite(s): Rhetoric 155 and 257 or 276. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

AA/RH 391C. The Harlem Renaissance.This course examines the New Negro Movement and the extraordinary creativity in the arts and in other aspects of intellectual life by African Americans in the 1920s and 1930s. Although this cultural phenomenon was national in scope, most scholars agree that New York City, and Harlem in particular, was its epicenter. Topics include racial, gender, and cultural identities in literature, theater, the performing and visual arts; the formation of black queer culture; and the role in promoting the arts by political organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Prerequisite(s): one of the following: African American Studies 100 or 140 or African American Studies/Rhetoric 162. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] C. Nero. Concentrations

RHET 391D. Argument Theory.This course allows students to explore in depth the theory of argumentation. It examines theorists from Aristotle to Perelman, and creates opportunities for students to explore and enact theory. Prerequisite(s): Rhetoric 155. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. J. Hovden.

RHET 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.This course examines the intersections of race and gender in the interracial buddy film, an enduring genre that emerged in the civil rights era and has become one of the most profitable film formulas. Students examine how the films construct masculinity and race in political contexts. Prerequisite(s): African American Studies/Rhetoric 162 or Rhetoric 155. Enrollment limited to 15. C. Nero.

RHET 457. Senior Thesis.A substantial academic or artistic project. Students register for Rhetoric 457 in the fall semester or for Rhetoric 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both Rhetoric 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.

RHET 457, 458. Senior Thesis.A substantial academic or artistic project. Students register for Rhetoric 457 in the fall semester or for Rhetoric 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both Rhetoric 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.

RHET 458. Senior Thesis.A substantial academic or artistic project. Students register for Rhetoric 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both Rhetoric 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.

Short Term Courses

RHET s31. Conspiracy Rhetoric."Just because you're paranoid does not mean they're not out to get you." This course examines the rhetoric that has surrounded conspiracy theories in American culture. Specifically, students focus on the argumentative form as well as the social functions of conspiracy discourse. Particular attention is paid to those conspiracies that surround UFO and alien abductions discourse. Prerequisite: at least one rhetoric course. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations

RH/TH s40. Digital Video Production.A hands-on, immersion course at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine, in the art of storytelling through digital video production, including both narrative fiction and documentary genres. Students learn cinematic language, storytelling, storyboarding, drafting a shooting script, location scouting, casting talent, rehearsing, blocking, and directing actors and crew. They also consider the roles of filmmakers, from producers and directors to camera and sound specialists and editors. Students are introduced to Final Cut Pro and the postproduction process. During the course students are expected to research, write, shoot, and edit a number of finished works. Enrollment limited to 8. Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations

RHET s50. Independent Study.Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term. Normally offered every year. Staff.