Course Description

Rhetoric 103 and 104 explore the evolution of rhetoric from the advent of writing to the digital age. The first four units, covered in Boston, center on changes connected to the Neolithic Revolution, the birth of Democracy, the Age of Exploration, and the Industrial Revolution. The final two units, covered in London, focus on discursive shifts prompted by Modernity and the Digital Revolution.

Together, we will analyze how persuasive language has shaped and been shaped by historical moments, influencing our engagement with politics, social relations, and the world around us. Each unit is focused on a specific “keyword”— literacy, citizenship, education, labor—that is both linked to the historical tipping point under discussion and being debated in our own historical moment. By reading, writing, and responding to one another critically in this class, we will learn what it means to be rigorous and ethical evaluators and producers of knowledge.

The course’s four credit hours will consist of the following: one joint lecture per week, two discussions per week, one-on-one meetings for instruction and feedback, and excursions in the Boston area linking your reading and writing to the world around you. This experiential component is meant to give you a broader perspective and to encourage more attentive interpretations of the various places you call “home.”

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