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Rhetoric

Professor Nero; Associate Professor Kelley-Romano (chair); Assistant Professor Cavallero; 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 (bates.edu/rhetoric).

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 100. What is Rhetoric? (formerly 155).

2) One of the following:
RHET 185. Public Discourse.
RHET 186. Introduction to Argumentation (formerly 291).
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.
RHET s16. Public Discourse.

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) One of the following:
AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
RHET 226. Minority Images in Hollywood Film.

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. One Short Term course in addition to RHET s16 (Public Discourse) 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:
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.
RHET s32. Motown America.

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 100. What is Rhetoric?

2) On of the following:
AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
RHET 226. Minority Images in Hollywood Film.

3) One of the following:
RHET 185. Public Discourse.
RHET 186. Introduction to Argumentation.
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.
RHET s16. Public Discourse.
RH/TH s40. Digital Video Production.

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

5) One of the following:
RHET 240. Film Theory.
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. Within this category, no more than one Short Term course may be counted toward the major.
ANTH 255. Cinematic Portraits of Africa.
AN/PT s22. Politics of Cultural Production: African Films and Filmmaking.
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. Literature and Screen.
SPAN 454. Revolución 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 courses required for the minor in rhetoric include:
1) RHET 100. What is Rhetoric?

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

3) One of the following:
AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
RHET 226. Minority Images in Hollywood Film.

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 186. Introduction to Argumentation (formerly 291).
THEA 261. Beginning Acting.
THEA 263. Voice and Speech.
RHET s16. Public Discourse.
RH/TH s40. Digital Video Production.

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 100- or 200-level course may be taken pass/fail in fulfilling the minor requirements.

Courses

RHET 100. 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 rhetoric majors and minors. Not open to students who have received credit for RHET 155. Enrollment limited to 30. [W1] Normally offered every year. S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations

RHET 120. Introduction to Screen Studies .This course is designed to introduce students to the production techniques, historical context, cultural function, and critical analysis of various film and television texts. Both film and television play an important role in defining, challenging, and reinforcing cultural norms and practices. By looking critically at a number of texts and artifacts, the course encourages students to develop a better understanding of the role film and TV play in defining cultures and "reality." New course beginning Winter 2014. Enrollment limited to 40. Normally offered every year. J. Cavallero. 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. [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. Not open to students who have received credit for RHET s16. Enrollment limited to 24. J. Hovden. Concentrations

RHET 186. 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. Not open to students who have received credit for RHET 291. Enrollment limited to 20. J. Hovden.

RHET 220. Constructions of Italian-American Men and Masculinities.From Rudolph Valentino to The Godfather to Jersey Shore, American media-makers and audiences seem obsessed with the Italian American man. Seemingly American, but somehow not quite, these figures operate on the margins of the mainstream. By indulging their excessive appetites, they challenge cultural conventions and brazenly refuse to conform to accepted social norms. They engage in too many criminal activities. They have too many sex partners. They are too aggressive. They eat too much. They party too hard. They dance like everyone’s watching (and they usually are). They win people over despite their inferior intelligence. And they don’t apologize for any of it. The Italian American male in American popular culture is a figure who is simultaneously admired and feared. His hyper-masculine daring may attract fans, but viewers are encouraged to question what the culture would look like if we were all so selfish and irresponsible. Indeed, the representation of the Italian American male indulges fantasies of total freedom while providing a cautionary tale that endorses social conformity. This course will examine a series of Italian American representations to determine the cultural place of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. Special attention will be paid to the rhetorical usage of these overlapping identities. In particular, we will investigate how these identifiers work to encourage conformity to more traditional gender and sexual norms. New course beginning Winter 2014 Enrollment limited to 30. Normally offered every other year. J. Cavallero.

RHET 226. Minority Images in Hollywood Film.This course explores representations of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans both in mainstream Hollywood films and those by oppositional independent filmmakers. Film viewings, discussions, readings, and written assignments explore the construction of racial otherness through specifically cinematic techniques. The careers and oeuvres of influential minority filmmakers and actors including Sidney Poitier, Oscar Micheaux, Anna May Wong, Dolores del Rio, Ang Lee, and Spike Lee are examined. Not open to students who have received credit for AA/TH 226. Open to first-year students. C. Nero. Concentrations

RHET 240. Film Theory.Through the decades, a number of noted film theorists have pondered the questions: "What is a film?," "How should films be viewed?," and "What cultural role do the movies play?" As might be expected, open-ended questions such as these have yielded no shortage of answers. This intermediate-level film studies course introduces students to some of the dominant theoretical models that have surfaced throughout the history of film theory (including formal film analysis, realism, Soviet montage theory, documentary theory, and experimental film theory) while also exploring issues of cultural studies, authorship, ideology, representation, digital cinema, reception studies, and global and transnational cinema. In coming to an understanding of these approaches, students develop a deeper comprehension of the cultural place and artistic significance of the movies. Prerequisite(s): one rhetoric course. Enrollment limited to 40. Normally offered every year. J. Cavallero.

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): RHET 100. Open to first-year students. 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): RHET 100. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. [W1] [W2] Normally offered every other year. S. Kelley-Romano. 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): AA/RH 162 or RHET 100. 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 challenged 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: RHET 100, 185, 186, or s16. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. [W2] S. Kelley-Romano. 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): RHET 100. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. [W2] S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations

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 391. Topics in Rhetorical Criticism.The topic varies from semester to semester. The seminar relies largely upon individual student research, reports, and discussion. Enrollment limited to 15. Offered with varying frequency.

RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.This seminar examines the discourse surrounding UFOs and alien abduction. Texts are drawn from various media and include both fictional and non-fictional accounts of interaction with aliens. The course uses abduction/UFO discourse as a way to interrogate articulations of power, reality, control, rights, and identity as they are expressed both by abduction experiencers and popular culture. Topics include conspiracy, narrative, apocalyptic rhetoric, and myth. Prerequisite(s): RHET 100 and 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. Attention is paid to political speeches, advertisements, debates, news reporting, and the use of social media in campaigning. Students also participate in an extensive "mock campaign" complete with candidates, conventions, media, debates and scandal. Special attention is paid to the evaluation of evidence and sources in the construction of political argument and image. Prerequisite(s): RHET 100 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): AAS 100 or AA/RH 162. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. [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): RHET 100. 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): RHET 100 or AA/RH 162. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. C. Nero.

RHET 391F. Bollywood.This course develops an historical understanding of Bollywood while demonstrating that the economic realities of a globalized world have ethical implications for cultural production. The course is divided into three units. The first considers the history of Bollywood productions from the 1950s to the 1990s, a time in which the aesthetic style and production practices of these films was established; special attention is paid to the gender, racial, sexual, and class politics of these movies. The second unit highlights the industry's global popularity and the lucrative potential of transnational audiences. The final unit investigates how Hollywood and independent films have attempted to capture a more traditional Bollywood audience. Films under study include Mother India, Zanjeer, Dhoom 2, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, and Slumdog Millionaire.Recommended background: A course in film/television/rhetorical criticism. Enrollment limited to 15. J. Cavallero. Concentrations

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

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

Short Term Courses

RHET s16. 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. Not open to students who have received credit for RHET 185. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 24. J. Hovden. Concentrations

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(s): at least one rhetoric course. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. S. Kelley-Romano. Concentrations

RHET s32. Motown America.This course examines the discourse from and about Motown Records. Launched in 1959, Motown played a critical role in the racial integration of popular entertainment. Students examine how Motown constructed race, gender, sexual, and class identities in its music and in its stars to appeal to African American audiences and to cross over into the mostly white American mainstream. They also examine cinematic and theatrical entertainments about Motown. Prerequisites(s): one of the following: AA/RH 162, RHET 100, or AAS 100 or ACS 100. Enrollment limited to 30. C. Nero. 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.

RHET s51A. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.New research, practices and technologies have prompted exciting changes in the landscape of teaching and learning at the college level. This course investigates those changes both broadly and within a specific discipline or interdisciplinary field of study. A small group of students works under the direction of a faculty member to examine innovative trends in teaching and learning, with the goal of designing or redesigning a specific course in that faculty member's field. New course beginning Short Term 2014 Instructor permission is required. One-time offering. S. Kelley-Romano.