Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking
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When and how to employ a variety of rhetorical devices in writing and speaking
How to differentiate between argument and rhetorical technique
How to write a persuasive opinion editorial and short speech
How to evaluate the strength of an argument
How to identify logical fallacies in arguments
We are living in a contentious time in history. Fundamental disagreements on critical political issues make it essential to learn how to make an argument and analyze the arguments of others. This ability will help you engage in civil discourse and make effective changes in society. Even outside the political sphere, conveying a convincing message can benefit you throughout your personal, public, and professional lives.
This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and speech. In it, you will learn to construct and defend compelling arguments, an essential skill in many settings. We will be using selected addresses from prominent twentieth-century Americans — including Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, Ronald Reagan, and more — to explore and analyze rhetorical structure and style. Through this analysis, you will learn how speakers and writers persuade an audience to adopt their point of view.
Built around Harvard Professor James Engell’s on-campus course, “Elements of Rhetoric,” this course will help you analyze and apply rhetorical structure and style, appreciate the relevance of persuasive communication in your own life, and understand how to persuade and recognize when someone is trying to persuade you. You will be inspired to share your viewpoint and discover the most powerful ways to convince others to champion your cause. Join us to find your voice!
Introduction to Rhetoric
Civil Rights - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Gun Control - Sarah Brady and Charlton Heston
Introduction to Oratory
The Red Scare - Joseph McCarthy and Margaret Chase Smith
Presidential Rhetoric - John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan