Featured Courses from New Rhetoric Faculty

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Rhetoric 107 | CCN: 77884  4 Units
Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse
Instructor: Nasser Zakariya, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
Monday, Wednesday, Friday | 10:00 – 11:00AM | 109 Dwinelle
Popular and public discourses have long constructed varied cultural representations of scientific knowledge and technological innovation. Scientific research programs and apologetics are framed by and structured through these discourses, relating beliefs in and doubts about the sciences, offering meaning-making orientation to practitioners and concerned publics. Focusing on several cases from the nineteenth century through the present, this course will examine the nature, structures and play of such scientific discourse. Examples may include past and present imaginations of technologically enabled futures and technologically induced catastrophes; the lure of scientific discourses and technological innovations for understanding literary and artistic endeavors; narrative underpinnings of literary and scientific texts; representations and receptions of paradigmatic scientific subjects and experiences; and relations between notions of scientific and political unity. Attention to the pervasiveness of these discourses will help us investigate the changing nature and status of the category of "science," its potentials and limits. This investigation will also allow us to examine the ways in which science can embrace and be embraced by narrative, even as practitioners and popularizers might emphasize its resistance to story-telling.  
Rhetoric 122 | CCN: 77910   4 Units
Rhetoric of Drama: Spectatorship and Identity on the English Stage
Instructor: Rebecca Wiseman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
Tuesday, Thursday | 2:00 – 3:30 | 183 Dwinelle
This course will focus on major works of Renaissance drama, including plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dekker, Beaumont, and Jonson. Moving across dramatic genres, we will explore the ways in which Renaissance plays define, celebrate, and interrogate “Englishness,” or English political and cultural identity. Along the way, we will examine the interpretive and ethical demands that Renaissance plays make upon their spectators. We will supplement our study of Renaissance drama with works of critical and performance theory, including essays by Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, J. L. Austin, Peter Brook, and Peggy Phelan.  
Rhetoric 108 | CCN: 77887   4 Units
Rhetoric of Philosophical Discourse
Dangerous Subjects: In Search of the Ancient Self, from Plato to Foucault
Instructor: James Porter, Professor of Rhetoric
Tuesday, Thursday | 9:30 – 11:00AM | 209 Dwinelle
This course will consider the origins and emergence of the self in Greek and Roman antiquity. The first-person self is thought to have been inaugurated by Descartes (I think, therefore I am). Didn’t "selves" exist prior to Descartes? They did, but differently from today. Studying this history will change how you think about your own self.
We will look at how notions of the self, self-identity, interiority, introspective practices (the meditation, the dialogue, the letter), but also social definitions of selfhood, developed in antiquity. Plato’s Socratic dialogues will be the point of departure. Later writings will include meditations, letters, and philosophical reflections on life by Epicurus, Lucretius, Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus, and Augustine. Secondary writing by Michel Foucault, Pierre Hadot, Bernard Williams, and others will help guide us as we set up frameworks and questions for investigating these primary texts. Of particular interest will be the ways in which selves and subjects are the result of dangerous experimentations conducted at the limits of representation, often in the face a void or abyss that is found either within or without (in the world of nature and the universe).