University of Waterloo

Introduction to Rhetorical Studies

The systematic study of effective communication – the art of rhetoric – dates back at least to the epics of Homer and flourishes today in countless academic disciplines and fields of business. This course will introduce students to the essential concepts, frameworks, and controversies in the history and theory of rhetoric by analyzing key selections from foundational texts, both ancient and contemporary. In addition to demonstrating the relevance of rhetorical theory and criticism to a variety of social, intellectual, and cultural fields (law, politics, philosophy, literature, advertising, etc.), the class also explores emerging forms of rhetorical practice made possible by new media technologies, such as propaganda, computational gaming, and information warfare. Students will develop a firm grasp of basic concepts of rhetorical theory, a sense of the history of rhetoric, and a deeper appreciation for rhetorical literacy as an inventive, critical, multimodal, and multidisciplinary enterprise.