2013-2014

Rhetoric and Media Studies

A major in Rhetoric and Media Studies is intended to provide an appreciation of the role of rhetoric in the creation and maintenance of human understanding; to promote exploration of the role of the symbol in the human condition; to foster an understanding of the role of communication media in contemporary society; and to enhance the ability to critique all forms of human communication. The Rhetoric and Media Studies Department works toward these ends in the context of a liberal arts environment.

Students who entered the University in Fall 2013 or earlier may complete the Rhetoric and Media Studies (RHET) major as described in the 2013-14 catalog, or may choose to complete the new Civic Communication and Media (CCM) major. Those choosing to complete the new major must first consult the CCM department chair.

Students who entered the University in Fall 2014 or later will complete the new Civic Communication and Media (CCM) major.

Willamette University Debate Union

The department hosts a speech and debate program for any College of Liberal Arts students interested in intercollegiate debate and speaking competition. Work and competition is under the guidance of the Director and Assistant Director of Debate. For additional information see Willamette University Debate Union in this catalog.

Internships

During their junior and senior years, Rhetoric and Media Studies majors have the opportunity to participate in internships in political communication, radio and television stations, newspapers, hospitals, public relations and corporate communication departments. Students interested in internships should contact their advisor or the chair of the department.

Requirements for the Rhetoric And Media Studies Major (8.25-9 Credits)

Core requirements

  • Oral proficiency: IDS 062X, RHET 140, or 150 (AR) with minimum grade of B (.25 or 1)
  • RHET 231 Classical Rhetoric (1)
  • RHET 261W Rhetorical Criticism (1)
  • RHET 326 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory (1)
  • Successful completion of written and oral comprehensive exams

Additional Courses (4)

  • Four additional courses from the Rhetoric curriculum at the 200-level or above
  • At least three of these courses must be at the 300-level or above

Senior year experience (1)

Rhetoric/Media Studies Minor (5.25 or 6 Credits)

Electives

  • Three courses from the Rhetoric curriculum at the 200-level or above
  • At least two of these courses must be at the 300-level or above

Indicators of Achievement

Student Learning Outcomes for the Rhetoric and Media Studies Major

  1. Students demonstrate the ability to read, process and employ theory appropriately (as measured by rhetorical analysis rubric)
  2. Students can identify and critique the role of symbols in communication (as measured by rhetorical analysis rubric)
  3. Students demonstrate the ability to analyze the influence of mediation on rhetoric (as measured by final paper analysis rubric in RHET 261W: Rhetorical Criticism)
  4. Students demonstrate the ability to consider ethical issues within disciplinary concerns (as measured by comprehensive exams in ethics)
  5. Students demonstrate the ability to make appropriate critical analysis choices based on the form of communication (as measured by rhetorical analysis rubric)
  6. Students present clear arguments in writing and speaking, including the ability to use sound mechanics in writing

As part of our assessment procedures we individually review a sample of senior theses as well as papers from RHET 261(W) (our sophomore level gateway class) to assess progress toward meeting the listed student learning outcomes.


Faculty

  • Robert Trapp , Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies; Department Chair; Director of Debate Union
  • Jeanne Clark, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
  • Catherine A. Collins, Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
  • Courtney Dillard, Continuing Instructor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
  • Una Kimokeo-Goes, Continuing Instructor of Rhetoric and Media Studies; Assistant Director, Debate
  • Cindy Koenig Richards, Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Media Studies (CCM)

Part-Time and Visiting Faculty

  • Matt Bost
  • Christine Gardner
  • Christopher Swift
  • Rollie Wisbrock

Course Listings

RHET 125 (CA) Creating Visual Rhetoric (1)

This is a project-based course in creating visual rhetoric. Looking at case studies of protest art, news images of 9/11, and advertising (political and product), students will explore how words and images interact in persuasive messages. As they create varied visual messages, students will consider what makes an image iconic, how visual and verbal elements contribute to meaning, and what role images play in news stories. Lab required.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Creating in the Arts
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 140 (AR) Argumentation, Advocacy, and Debate (1)

The basic structure of argumentation and advocacy are examined with a view toward being able to participate in debate and other public advocacy events. Each student will be required to participate in a minimum of six debates in order to complete the course.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Trapp

RHET 150 (AR) Public Speaking (1)

Effective communication in front of an audience. Discovery and development of ideas, organization of material, use of language and the modes of presentation. Classroom speeches of different types, short papers, examinations.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

RHET 210W (AR, IT) Media and the Environment (1)

This course explores the way the media deals with environmental issues and images, particularly biodiversity. We focus on the emergence of the environment as an important media issue beginning in the 1970s; the way news and entertainment media have presented the environment; and the links between media texts, the culture which they create and reflect and the viewer/reader's response to these messages. Students will learn textual analysis of news stories (print and television), documentary films, and environment and children's programming. We pay particular attention to how these messages reflect the way the culture values and reasons and to how these messages argue for a particular view of the natural world and our relationship with the environment.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values, Interpreting Texts; Environmental Cluster
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 221 (AR) Designing Persuasive Campaigns (1)

The primary aim of this course is to offer students the opportunity to creatively apply the core principles of rhetoric to a persuasive campaign they develop from start to finish. Students will learn about key rhetorical variable such as audience and context as well as major rhetorical tools ranging from argument to framing. In addition, the role of visual elements in persuasion will be explored. Each student will produce a complete campaign plan that will be presented in class. Student projects can focus on politics, corporate advocacy, and non-profit organizing. Opportunities for working with organizations in the Salem community are available.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values
  • Offering: Spring, can be seen as an alternate to one section of RHET 232 (AR) Persuasion, Propaganda and the Mass Media (1)
  • Instructor: Dillard

RHET 229 (AR) Arguing About the Right Thing to Do (1)

This course investigates methods of arguing about ethics. First, students will be introduced to the general question of whether matters of right and wrong are susceptible to argument. Are questions of right and wrong merely personal choices or do argumentative methods exist to distinguish right from wrong? Second, students will be introduced to various methods of arguing about ethical matters. Finally, these methods of argument will be applied to several examples of ethical questions including life and death, personal liberty, personal responsibility, and ethical rhetoric.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values
  • Offering: Alternating years
  • Instructor: Trapp

RHET 231 Classical Rhetoric (1)

History and survey of principal theories of rhetoric including Plato, Aristotle and Cicero.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 232 (AR) Persuasion, Propaganda and the Mass Media (1)

Political rhetoric and advertising serve as case studies for the use and influence of persuasion and propaganda in contemporary society. Special attention is paid to the role of the mass media in this process and to the ethics of persuasive and propagandistic techniques.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Clark, Douglass

RHET 242 (AR) Rhetoric and Leadership (1)

This course explores the ways rhetoric can foster effective leadership. Topics include: an examination of the leader's symbolic action through credibility, identifications, persona, values and agency; an exploration of group culture and roles; and a consideration of the leader-group interaction in decision-making and ethics. The course includes a required practical component.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values
  • Offering: Alternating years
  • Instructor: Clark

RHET 261W Rhetorical Criticism (1)

A writing-centered course focusing on the criteria and methods for analyzing discourse. General critical forms such as the analysis of situation, argument, structure and style will be addressed, as well as more specialized methods like cultural analysis and Burkean analysis. Students will write papers employing the various methods.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Douglass, Trapp and Cordova

RHET 317 Citizenship and the Public Sphere (1)

Many formulations of rhetoric, citizenship and democracy assume the existence of "the public" and theorize the ideal "public sphere." In this course, we will examine scholarship about the public, investigate how civic engagement is shaped by this powerful term, and consider how conceptions of the public sphere can both facilitate deliberative democracy and reinforce inequalities.


RHET 319 Homeland: Filming Conflict and Identity (1)

This course examines how national identity is structured and conflict is portrayed in film depictions of the disputed homeland of Israel/Palestine. Most films are by Israelis or Palestinians. This course will consider problems of documentary films, stereotyping, nontraditional narrative structure, and docu-animation within the contest of the religious, social and political tensions in the region. Subject films will range from archival footage and independent documentaries to major feature films.

  • Prerequisite:  Any one of RHET 231, RHET 261W, RHET 326, or consent of the instructor
  • Offering: Alternating years
  • Instructor: Clark

RHET 320 Mass Media and Society (1)

The role and influence of mass communication media in contemporary society. Effects of mediated communication on the individual. The scope of the course includes a variety of topics: communication theories, history of mass media, social effects, regulation, industry's social responsibilities and profit motive, and future developments. Attention is given to television, newspapers, radio, magazines and film. An in-depth research project on a subject chosen by the student is required as well as class discussions of research methods and findings. Perspectives integral to the course are drawn from all social science disciplines, as well as from the field of communications.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 261W, or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

RHET 326 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory (1)

An advanced course that examines the character of rhetoric, the evolution of rhetorical theory, and forces that have given rise to variations in the classical paradigm.


RHET 328 Persuasive Technology (1)

This course will provide students with tools for analyzing the persuasive nature of technology. Students will investigate the location of rhetorical agency in interactions between humans and technology, explore the debate about social determination of technology vs. technological determination, and discuss the epistemological, material, and practical aspects to technology.


RHET 331 Argumentation Theory (1)

This course focuses on reasoned discourse: the techniques for planning and making arguments as well as for the critical analysis of arguments.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 231 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

RHET 333W Political Communication (1)

This course develops a rhetorical framework for understanding campaign communication, the symbolic nature of the presidency and the way groups and the media control political realities. Language is studied as a symbolic means of creating and projecting images and issues.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: RHET 261W or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 335 Dramatism (1)

An exploration of the dramatist theory expounded by Kenneth Burke, the most influential theorist in contemporary rhetoric. Drawing on a selection of texts, students will examine language symbol manipulation, identification, motive and pieties.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 231
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Collins, Douglass, Clark

RHET 336 Rhetoric of US Women's Rights Before 1920 (1)

This course examines rhetorical practices through which advocates of equality cultivated political agency among disenfranchised Americans, developed a powerful movement for social change, and challenged norms that excluded women from the public sphere.

  • Prerequisite: No first year students
  • Offering: alternating years
  • Instructor: Koenig Richards

RHET 337 Rhetoric of US Women's Rights Since 1920 (1)

This course examines rhetorical practices through which Americans since 1920 have developed and challenged feminist politics, redefined expectations for gender performance and public leadership, and pursued the promise of "liberty and justice for all" in the United States.

  • Prerequisite: No first year students
  • Offering: Alternating years
  • Instructor: Koenig Richards

RHET 341 Narrative Theory (1)

This course surveys significant developments in narrative theory. Narrative in this context is defined broadly, not only as a style or technique of writing, but as a paradigm for understanding human thought and communication at large. Attention is directed to particular case studies that illustrate characteristic functions of narration.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 231
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Collins, Douglass

RHET 350 Topics in Rhetoric and Media Studies (1)

This course provides the flexibility to offer special topics of interest in rhetoric and media studies. Topics might include marginalized discourse, non-Western rhetoric, or mass media and the global village.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 231 or RHET 261W according to topic focus on theory or criticism, or consent of instructor
  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

RHET 355 (US) Rhetorics of Sex & Gender (1)

This course explores the role of gender performativity in the creation, practice, and criticism of rhetoric. Students will investigate the relationship between sex and gender, analyze the ways that relationship is used as an interpretive lens for popular and political communication, and consider the role of mediation in the rhetorical construction of gender identity.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Prerequisite: RHET 231, RHET 326, or WGS course
  • Offering: Alternating Years
  • Instructor: Davisson

RHET 360 Rhetoric of War and Peace (1)

This course examines conceptual and critical approaches to the study of war rhetoric. The first half of the course focuses on international participation in the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. The second half of the course is a case analysis of Gulf War rhetoric. Students will explore media images opposing nations employ to characterize the other; strategic choices in public rhetoric that create and sustain the Cold War or acceptance of the Gulf War; and the literalized metaphors and ideological frames that characterize war rhetoric. Closed to freshmen.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 261W or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 361 Visual Rhetoric: Memory and Memorials (1)

This project-based course explores the emerging and interdisciplinary investigation of visual culture and rhetoric. It begins with an overview of the relationship between words and images followed by case studies focused on memory and memorials. The course explores the visual rhetoric of witnessing by examining representation, war, the cultural trauma through the images of tragedy, photographs of war, and war memorials. The course will examine exhibitionary rhetoric through case studies of the role of memorials and reconciliation in Chile and controversial exhibitions in the U.S. Lab required.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 261W
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 362W Media Framing (1)

This course examines news accounts as they construct the meaning of the events they report. Students explore how reality is shaped when the media privileges a particular frame for the events; sketches familiar plotlines, characters, or ideologies; or gives authority to some voices and silences others. Finally, the course addresses the effect of media conventionalizing, in the symbolic complexes addressed and the formulaic stories they spawn, on both the range of interpretations and the range of topics that are publicly addressed. Closed to freshmen.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: RHET 261W, or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 370 Ethics of Rhetoric (1)

This course is intended to shift our attention from the typical "real world" concern about persuasive effectiveness and refocus attention on the consequences of manipulating language. Accompanying an examination of the theoretical bases for ethical communication, we will examine case studies selected from: social protest, evangelism, propaganda, advertising and political campaigns. Closed to freshmen.

  • Prerequisite: RHET 231 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Clark

RHET 372W Metaphor and Communication (1)

This course is an exploration of what the use of metaphor does to and for us. The course covers two units roughly corresponding to the theory and criticism of metaphor. The first unit surveys a variety of scholarly attempts to define metaphor and explain metaphorical function. The second unit examines ways that metaphors can be evaluated and the reasons that they should be evaluated. Class periods will primarily be devoted to lecture, guided discussions and reports.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: RHET 231 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Douglass

RHET 490 Independent Study (1)

Individual program in which a student can study a topic not normally available in the department curriculum. A student could conduct critical or experimental research in the field or pursue a detailed program of study in a specific area of interest. Each independent study plan must have the approval of the Rhetoric and Media Studies faculty.

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

RHET 496W Seminar in Rhetoric and Media Studies (1)

Students and department faculty will read and discuss current research in rhetoric and media studies. Each student will write and present a major paper. Participation in the seminar and completion of comprehensive examinations will constitute the Senior Year Experience.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: RHET 231, RHET 261W and two additional Theory courses
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

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