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This course is an examination of classical and contemporary theories of rhetoric (persuasion and propaganda), as they apply to speech, media, campaigns, social movements, and popular culture. It explores how different types of persuasion operate and asks students to understand, apply, and critique theories of persuasion and examine the major communicative components of persuasion. That includes looking at the primary outcomes of persuasion, including attitudes, intentions, and behaviors; individual, cultural, and sociological variables involved in persuasive attempts; and the persuasive effects and effectiveness of certain media and types of campaigns. My overarching aim with this course is to empower students to become more critical consumers (and creators) of media and information.
The class uses a text, supplemental readings, and assigns two major papers as well as several multiple choice and short-answer exams.