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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Course Listings

Rhetoric and Media Studies

RHET 061X (CA) Intercollegiate Speaking (.25)

Preparation, practice and competition in intercollegiate speaking. Students travel to tournaments on other campuses. Speaking events include but are not limited to oratory, expository, extempore and impromptu speaking, oral interpretation and rhetorical criticism.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Trapp

RHET 062X (AR) Intercollegiate Debate (.25)

Preparation, practice and competition in debate. Students travel to tournaments on other campuses. Significant research is required.

Mode of Inquiry: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Trapp

RHET 063X Oral Interpretation Activities (.25)

Preparation, practice and public performance of literature as an individual and in an ensemble. Students present reading hours in school and community settings.

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Clark

RHET 121 (CA) Performance of Prose (.5)

Study of the art of interpreting to an audience various forms of prose - fiction, description, memoirs, folk tales - through voice and gesture. Public presentation is a required part of this course.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Clark

RHET 122 (CA) Performance of Poetry (.5)

Study of the art of interpreting to an audience various forms of poetry through voice and gesture. Public presentation is a required part of this course.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Clark

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.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Collins

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.

Mode of Inquiry: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

RHET 160 (AR) Argumentation and Society (1)

This course will investigate methods of constructing and evaluating public arguments. Using a case study method, the course will explore argument and the human condition, the process of identifying arguments and the role of evidence and reasoning in argument. A case study will be selected each semester for argument analysis. Students will construct arguments on the semester topic and will analyze arguments made by actual participants in the public forum.

Mode of Inquiry: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Trapp

RHET 210 (W; 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. Part of the environmental cluster. This is a paired course; students must enroll concurrently in BIOL 210 Biodiversity: Discovering Life. Together these courses fulfill two course credits and two writing-centered credits.

Prerequisites: Must enroll concurrently in BIOL 210: Biodiversity: Discovering Life.

Mode of Inquiry: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values; Interpreting Texts; Environmental Cluster

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Collins

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.

Mode of Inquiry: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Clark, Douglass

RHET 242 Leadership and Group Communication (1)

Principles of small group communication, including leadership development, role functions, decision-making and problem-solving processes, task and maintenance dimensions of group interaction. Emphasis on integration of theory and practice through small group presentations, observations and videotape review.

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Clark

RHET 244 (AR; IT) Latino/Latina Voices in the U.S.(1)

[Crosslisted with LAS 244 and AES 244]

This course is a historical-critical survey of the public discourse of Latino/Latinas in the United States from colonial times to the present. As such, we will focus significantly on such issues as language, establishment of identities, civil rights, immigration, the formation of communities, political participation, and cultural assimilation. In order to accomplish our task we will study the historical context of the discourse, prominent rhetors, and various pieces of discourse. Analyzing themes and issues articulated is crucial for understanding Latino/Latina voices in the United States. This course will also count toward the Latin American Studies major.

Mode of Inquiry: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values; Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Cordova

RHET 261 (W) 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 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 261, ENGL 210 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

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 333 (W) 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 261 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 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 or ENGL 210

  • 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 261 according to topic focus on theory or criticism, or consent of instructor

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

RHET 355 (US) Gender and Communication (1)

This course explores the intersection of three closely related constructs: gender, communication and power. Students in this course will consider gender as an investigative construct, examine the empirical differences in the ways men and women communicate in the United States and critique selected genres of women's rhetoric.

Mode of Inquiry: Understanding Society

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Cordova

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 261 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 261 or ENGL 210

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 362 (W) 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 261, ENGL 210 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Collins

RHET 365 Rhetoric of Religion (1)

This course is a rhetorical and critical survey of the use of religious language in the public and political discourse of the United States in an attempt to discern how religious discourse is used to engender social change, construct the communities in which we live, and lead our public lives. We will focus on special problems and issues created by words of and about religious belief and speeches, artistic expression, cinematic representation, and other forms of communicative interaction.

Prerequisite: RHET 261

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Cordova

RHET 370 Communication Ethics (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 372 (W) 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 496 (W) 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 261 and two additional Theory courses

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff