116 | CCN: 77899

Rhetoric, Culture, and Society

Instructor: Marianne Constable,

MW 4-530P, 182 DWINELLE

4 Units

Analysis of rhetorical practice in the context of social and cultural change with particular reference to the historical transition from pre-industrial to industrial society in the west.
(Course description from on-line Berkeley Academic Guide)

What is “rhetorical practice”? What is “society”? And “culture”? And how the heck do they change? In this class you will probably end up with as many unanswered questions as answered ones. We will focus on the exoneration of Chicago women who killed their husbands during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a practice involving legal rhetoric which indeed changed. Such change ostensibly corresponds to a “transition” from “unwritten” to “written” law. How does one articulate such history, given that both law and history rely on writings as evidence and as sources of authority?

Students will be required to deal with a range of texts - from newspaper articles and images to legal documents and scholarly secondary sources, from poetry to on-line websites to the musical film “Chicago.” Many short assignments and two longer papers will be assigned. The emphasis of the course will be on learning to do research so as to ask better questions.

Jeffrey S. Adler, First in Violence, Deepest in Dirt: Homicide in Chicago 1875-1920 (Harvard U Press, 2006)
Clay Conrad, Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine (Carolina Academic Press)
Course Reader
Handouts and bCourses Resources

ATTENDANCE is required throughout the semester. Enrolled students who do not attend during the first 2 weeks will be dropped in favor of students who do.