WRIT 250 - Kairos: The Art of Rhetoric from Ancient to Modern Times
Rhetoric–the effective use of language to persuade a given audience–is as old as human speech itself. Yet attuned as they were to “kairos,” the opportune time of a fledgling democracy in Athens, the ancient Greeks were perhaps the first to codify rhetorical practice as an art. This is a course about time, about the art of rhetoric as a most effective medium of change at the right time. Students see this when rhetoric served as a vehicle for change in 5th-century Greece, when it equipped individuals to write and preach to effect change in the so-called dark ages, and when it gave women and former slaves the voice to change attitudes and institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students survey the entire history of western rhetoric from the earliest treatises to the most recent theories. In addition to examining this history through a close reading of canonical texts, students come to know the rhetorical tradition through experience, by engaging in the very practices (e.g., medieval preaching and letter writing, and 18th-century exercises in elocution) associated with rhetoric in a particular historical period. The many rhetorical terms, concepts, principles, and practices covered in the course provide students the proper background for further study in the more specialized areas of rhetoric.
Major/Minor Restrictions: None
Class Restriction: None
Area of Inquiry: Human Thought and Expression
Liberal Arts CORE: None
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