Every day individuals are bombarded by various messages, advertisements, songs, and even everyday conversations that are trying to persuade them to think or behave in particular ways. Often individuals accept these arguments as facts, truth(s), and reality. In this course, students explore the rhetorical techniques (persuasive communication) of such messages and understand that they can resist, challenge, and question them. In particular, this course explores persuasion and controversial topics related to the American Dream. The mythos of the American Dream permeates daily life in the United States; this course centers on discussion topics that include the ways that the American Dream influences politics, education and workplaces, understandings of families and relationships, and even individuals' desires and goals. In addition to reading about developing and structuring arguments, students view relevant media and read popular press and academic articles about the various framings of, and issues relating to, communication and the American Dream. While critically examining these controversies, students encounter two central aspects of the humanistic tradition of rhetorical education: argumentation and effective oral and written expression. Students engage in a variety of activities and exercises to develop fluency in written composition and oral expression. Affiliate department: Communication Studies.