Statue of Aristotle.

hetoric strives to create active and informed citizens. (Photo courtesy of Martin Haase. Used with permission.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2006



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Course Description

This course is an introduction to the history, the theory, the practice, and the implications (both social and ethical) of rhetoric, the art and craft of persuasion. By the end of the semester, you will have been exposed to several of the key concepts of rhetoric (e.g., ethos, pathos, logos, invention, style, arrangement, kairos, stasis, commonplaces) and to the over-riding importance of writing to your audience. You will have gotten a taste of rhetorical history and theory. You will explore and analyze and respond to some key texts by significant writers. You will have had a chance to practice speaking and debating before the class. You will have written and revised several texts. You will have examined some of your core beliefs and assumptions. In this course you will act as both a rhetor (a person who uses rhetoric) and a rhetorician (one who studies the art of rhetoric). Because the study of rhetoric has always had as one of its goals the creation of active and informed citizens and because rhetors write to influence the real world and thus to become agents of positive change, the topics you choose and the essays you write will have the important purpose of persuading your readers (the class and me).

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Steven Strang. 21W.747-1 Rhetoric, Spring 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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