This course examines theories of argumentation to explore how communities arrive at decisions. To that end, this course develops the skills of reason-giving and critical evaluation that are central to competent participation in a democratic society. In this course, students actively engage the formal structure of arguments. Students learn to evaluate the rhetorical claims of others while constructing their own claims with reasoning adapted to the constraints of the situation. Students learn to question, analyze and critically engage the claims, grounds, warrants, evidence and reasoning of public discourse and will grasp the major theoretical trends in the field of argumentation. While the course focuses on the major theoretical trends of argumentation, it does so through grounded topic areas to understand the relationship between theoria and praxis. Primarily, the course covers theories of the public sphere, the body, visual argument, feminist argumentation, collective memory, and critical approaches to argumentation.
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor; COMM 240 recommended.