20 | CCN: 77836
Date / Time: TuTh 930-11A, 2060 VALLEY LSB
This course is an introduction to the study of rhetorical interpretation, treating how the action of tropes, figures, and performance generates meaning in communication: from fiction to politics, film, and culture at large. The course will begin with a general focus on figural language’s effects, looking at various ways rhetoric is a productive, shaping ideological force, at the same time as its intended effects frequently go awry. We will then turn to the construction of self/subject in figural language and narrative: To what extent is “self” a phenomenon of language? Is autobiography a trope? What happens when the self-telling fails? The course will conclude with a consideration of meaning, communication, and the other, asking what we are to do in the face of inevitable rhetorical misconstructions, mistakes, and miscommunications. Subthemes will likely include: the postmodern detective and epistemology, faces and misrecognition, babies and origin myths, feral children, universal languages, the Tower of Babel, banality and clichés, and “love.” Possible readings include works by the following authors: Hans Georg Gadamer, David Foster Wallace, Sigmund Freud, Martin Luther, Friedrich Nietzsche, Wayne Koestenbaum, Anne Carson, D.A. Miller, Judith Butler, Jacques Rousseau, Hannah Arendt, Louis Althusser, John Barth, Jean-Luc Nancy, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas, Jorge Luis Borges (subject to change).