Graduate work in Rhetoric, Politics, & Culture focuses on three interrelated areas:
Whether speaking from the podium or chatting on Facebook, people use discourse to craft identities, enact social change, and form a shared sense of community. Seeking to better understand this social force, the study of discourse explores significant themes, trajectories, and transformations in politics and society while considering particular individuals and groups, cultures, eras, genres, and topics. Courses in this area explore issues of power, digital media, citizenship, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, globalization, religion, inclusion and exclusion, social status, and marginalization.
Theory functions as a way of seeing, allowing us to understand familiar objects in new ways while helping us make sense of the unfamiliar. By applying theoretical concepts to specific examples from discourse, theory helps us understand discourse practices and foster positive social change. Courses in this area explore a range of perspectives from critical theory, gender theory, feminist theory, public sphere theory, and queer theory, to theories of performance, culture, technology, and globalization.
Method mediates between theory and practice, allowing us to appreciate the particularities of specific discourse practices as well as their larger implications. Using a range of cutting edge methodologies from textual-analysis and ethnography to network mapping, we gather, document, organize, catalog, and analyze the discourse that is the focus of our studies. Courses on methodology investigate tools such as textual criticism, ethnography, archival research, and Internet-based methods.
All three areas of study in Rhetoric, Politics, & Culture are united by a common commitment to understanding the role of discourse in society as we act together to engage in culture and politics. Students are encouraged to investigate a wide range of discursive phenomena as they develop expertise that will empower them to conduct significant research and to take an active role in scholarly communities.
Recent and forthcoming graduate level seminars include:
- Archival Methods and Rhetorical Historiography (J. Johnson)
- Digital Rhetoric (R. Howard)
- Intercultural Rhetoric (S. McKinnon)
- Race, Place, and National Identity (A. Prasch)
- Rhetoric and Field Methods (S. McKinnon)
- Rhetoric and Neoliberalism (R. Asen)
- Rhetoric and the Body (J. Johnson)
- Theories of the Public Sphere (R. Asen)
- Vernacular Discourse (R. Howard)
Recent and ongoing dissertation topics have examined:
- Genetics discourse and the creation of the “Mexican body”
- Individualism and corporate capitalism
- Online performance of identity in an age of “woke capitalism”
- Rhetorical history of climatotherapy
- Rhetorics of home ownership in the United States
- Rhetorics of the digital in post-colonial India
- Supernatural rhetorics in the AIDS Controversy in South Africa
- Tensions of technoliberalism in online influencer communities
For degree requirements and other detailed program information, please consult the graduate handbook: