Iowa State University
English/Speech Communication 350

Rhetoric & the History of Ideas

Contacting Me

Prof. Jean Goodwin
223 Ross, Mon 10-12, Wed 3-5, & freely by appointment
(complete contact info)

Course Goals

In this course, you will learn how to think like a rhetorical theorist. You will have considered opinions on the nature, function and scope of rhetoric, and be able to defend them, both orally and in writing, with cogent arguments drawn from the rhetorical traditions and your own experiences.

Course Materials

The first reading: Socrates*
The Basic Reading Questions/How to Abstract*
The first "Gateway" paper assignment
About Group Work Protagoras reading*
Debate/Paper Assignment for the next month
About the exams*
Watch Jon Stewart at (quicktime, I think) or
Some other formats
Read the transcript
Exam 1, possible essay questions*
Midterm Project assignment*
Some resources for the midterm project: End of semester schedule
Final project assignment
Readings for dinner: Mendelson number one* and two*.

Memorial Union assignment (Thursday): In the classical era, "rhetoric" was an art of civic oratory. How far does this art extend now? For example, are the techniques, principles or philosophy of visual communication similar to those of civic oratory? How about the physical "communication" of a building? To develop your own answer to this question, read any two of the four articles below. Be prepared to show some architectural feature of the Memorial Union (inside/outside, big/small...) to us that you think is "rhetorical," and explain why. Also be able to express and defend your own view on the big question.

Second exam review/Second Gateway paper assignment
Final self-assessment

Other Resources

To get a sense of the full range of the "art" (techne) of rhetoric in classical times, check out Gideon Burton's massive website Silva Rhetoricae--the "Forest of Rhetoric." It has a particularly long list of figures of speech, plus basic information on many other technical terms.


Materials marked with a "*" are in "pdf" or "Acrobat" format. For information and to download a free copy of the Acrobat Reader, try the Extension's PDF page.

To Jean Goodwin's homepage.
Last updated 9 Jan 2006.
(C) Copyright 2006 Jean Goodwin. All rights reserved.