Rhetoric and Culture Courses

Students in the PhD program are invited to take courses across any of our areas. A complete listing of courses in the PhD program can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Regularly scheduled courses in Rhetoric and Public Culture include:

COMS 7300 – Introduction to Rhetoric and Public Culture
An introductory survey of ideas theorizing the relationships between rhetoric and public culture. Since many of these ideas offer critical and analytic perspectives, students will also learn how to engage in critical analysis of the relationships between rhetoric and public culture. Likely theories/theorists include: Kenneth Burke, Mikhail Bakhtin, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Jergen Habermas, cultural studies, post-colonial studies, feminist studies, and postmodernism.

COMS 7310 – Rhetorical Criticism
Theories and methodologies of selected modern critics. Exploration of interdisciplinary dimensions in criticism of rhetorical interactions. Class and individual projects.

COMS 7900 – Topics in Communication Studies
Seminars focused on a special topic with a COMS faculty instructor, a visiting faculty member, or a visiting professional. May be repeated for up to 20 hours.

COMS 8220 – Public Deliberation
Course addresses theoretical and practical dimensions of the public, private, civil, and technical spheres of human discourse, with an emphasis on the content, structure, suasiveness, and social cultural implications of the speech and action emerging from and contributing to those spheres.

COMS 8310 – Rhetoric and Popular Culture
This course introduces students to major works in the study of rhetoric, popular culture, and their relationship. It assumes that forms of popular culture (e.g., popular music, advertising, television programming, popular novels, etc.) are social artifacts that serve an important persuasive function in society. Popular culture provides conceptual and practical frameworks that orient individuals to the world. Thus, this course will help graduate students to develop a set of theoretical, methodological, and analytical resources for researching and interpreting the persuasive functions of popular culture in specific historical and geographical contexts.

COMS 8320 – Rhetorical and Communicative Functions of Technology
This course examines the creation of meaning in verbal and graphic texts in speech, print, and electronic environments, with emphasis on the cultural significance of various communication technologies. In addition to discussions of theory, the course includes hands-on explorations of electronic examples (including radio, cell phones, games, and Internet applications), especially in contrast to print and speech, and consideration of social, economic, and technical dimensions of mediated culture.

COMS 8330 – Feminist Rhetorical Theory
This course will begin with an examination of what it means to ‘write women into the history of rhetoric’. This examination will provide the backdrop for an initial historiographical approach to women’s contributions to rhetorical theory. Beyond this initial focus, the course will examine recent developments in feminist theory that impinge on or work from an understanding of rhetoric. As such, the course cuts across both historical and theoretical boundaries mapping the space for a feminist rhetoric.

COMS 8390 – Topics in the Philosophy of Communication: Rhetoric and Public Culture
Study of particular philosophical traditions (e.g., post structuralism, pragmatism, the Frankfurt School, analytic philosophy, Marxism), philosophers (e.g., Burke, Levinas, Foucault, Dewey, Habermas, Giddens, Marx, Wittgenstein), and/or topics of interest to faculty and students not covered by regular classes (e.g., visual communication; humor; privacy; surveillance; the rhetoric of law; civil society and discourse; the rhetoric of terrorism¬; narrative, rhetoric, space, and place; political communication; and cultural studies). Topics will vary and the course may be repeated twice as topics rotate.

COMS 8900 – Special Topics in Communication Studies
Specific course content will vary with offering.