Oratory in the Age of Obama

A course in rhetoric for the Honors College of Rutgers Camden

Archive for February, 2010

Readings and Activities for Thursday, February 25

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 23, 2010

Readings:

Habinek, Chapter Four, “Rhetoric as Acculturation”

Keith & Lundberg, Chapter Four

Activities:

Response to reading (blogpost): As a comment to this entry, offer a brief comparative reflection on your own acculturation into rhetoric as a spoken and/or written art in light of the portrait painted by Habinek of educational practices in rhetoric in the classical era. That is, over several sentences, you should identify some practice or theme treated by Habinek and connect it by way of similarity or difference to something in your own education into language proficiency, citizenship, identity, etc.

First paper due: after revising your paper (in light of class conversation and the checklist I have provided), proofreading it aloud, and typing a short statement indicating the degree to which the work presented is your own, deposit the paper into the drop box of sakai. Be sure the paper includes your name, the date, an appropriate title and page numbers. Be sure to provide an electronic link to any texts you quote, summarize, paraphrase. Finally, be sure that the paper is in one of the following forms: .doc., .docx, .rtf or .pdf.

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Readings and Activities for Tuesday, February 23

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 23, 2010

Readings:

Killingsworth, Chapter Five, “Appeals to Places”

Obama, Presidential Inaugural Address (2009)

Analysis and response: The English Blog, Professionally SpeakingSix Minutes

Activities:

Due: Draft of first paper (in-class, hardcopy)

Key Words, Concepts: Dramatism (agent =who, act = what, when & where = scene, how = agency, purpose = why); Ratios (e.g., agent/purpose = idealism). local/global, inhabitation/reinhabitation (rehabilitation), spatially oriented vs. temporally oriented

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Readings and Activities for Thursday, February 18

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 16, 2010

Readings:

Habinek, Chapter Three

Lincoln, “Gettysburg Address

Resources: LOC, the Powerpoint Presentation

Activities:

Due: choice of speech text for paper due next week

Response to Habinek: as a comment to this blog entry post a brief response of commentary or inquiry to a portion of Habinek, Chapter Three. You might engage even a single paragraph that raise a point of interest or speculation.

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Readings and Activities for Tuesday, February 16

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 16, 2010

As a result of class cancellation last week, due to snow, please consult the entry for Tuesday, February 11.

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Readings and Activities for Thursday, February 11

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 10, 2010

Readings:

Killingsworth, Ch. 4

complete/review Habinek, Ch.2 (on Cicero)

background on Cicero: here and here

Video:

Obama, Iowa Caucus Victory Speech 1/03/08 (including text)

Contemporary Reactions: hereherehere and here

Be sure to skim the range of responses to this speech at these links to various media and consider which responses echo your initial response and which resonate with subsequent, more considered judgments.

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Readings and Activities for Tuesday, February 9

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 9, 2010

Readings:

Habinek, Chapter Two, “The Figure of the Orator”

on Pericles: here and  here and here (and on his famous female companion Aspasia here)

on Demosthenes: here and here

Questions to consider:

What aspects, in general, contribute to and make for a great orator?

What aspects make for a great orator in classical Greek contexts? which of these carry over to contemporary America?

How are Pericles and Demosthenes differently positioned as orators?

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Readings and Activities for Thursday, February 4

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 2, 2010

Readings:

Killingsworth, Ch. 3

Keith and Lundberg, Ch. 3

Obama, “Keynote Address,” 2004 Democratic Convention

This keynote address marks the first occasion on which most Americans ever heard (or heard of) Barack Obama, who, at 43, would soon become the junior Senator from Illinois and a major figure on the national stage. Well before Obama became President in 2009, scholars and others critiqued this speech in the recognition that it marked a turning point in American political rhetoric. Here are several articles responding to the speech:

Waldman, “The Obama Zeitgeist,” TomPaine.com

Lowry, Editorial in National Review (7/28/04)

Selected reactions, PBS Frontline

Additional Readings:

A must-read piece on the state of oratory today: Cohen, Andrew, “In Search of a Missing Art Form,” (Ottawa Citizen, 2/2/2010)

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