Rhetoric and the Achievement of Woman's Rights

English 484, Section 1
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Fall 2000
Professor Alisse Theodore

Hi, and thanks for checking in. Here's the course description for English 484: Rhetoric and the Achievement of Woman's Rights. The syllabus and course policies will not be posted online until this summer, but please feel free to email me at alisse@umich.edu if you have questions. You may want to check out other courses I've taught, too, which are linked to the website listed below. Please note that the version of English 484 I taught in the fall of 1999 is linked to that site; you will certainly be able to get a good idea of the philosophy behind this course at that site, but you should know that I will be making changes to that course when I teach in in the fall of 2000 (for example, we will not be using that text book and the workload will be different).

Enjoy the rest of your semester.

Most nineteenth-century American women had little or no access to political leaders, higher education, or even the wages they earned; they were not allowed to vote, sign contracts, or own property in the United States. Despite these rigid constraints and tremendous opposition, over a span of eight decades American women generated massive social and political changes. How? By using the only tool available to them: language. Clearly, what we say, how we say it, and to whom it is said can --and does--change the world. In this class, you'll learn to use rhetorical theory as a way to critically examine persuasive appeals while we study speeches and other texts from the nineteenth-century woman's rights movement. Together, we will consider the power of language to define, reform, and even revolutionize politics and society. Students will participate in class discussions, write occasional brief responses to the readings, do a short project, and write one longer paper.