Updated 9 March


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Monday, February 2

I. Administration and Introduction

A brief description of the kinds of qualitative research; analytic and synthetic methods; the importance of argument; and other topics to set us up.

Monday, February 9

II. Historical Methods

A. The Purposes and Forms of History

Reading: BG, cc. 1, 3.

Exercise: In the journals in communication or a collection of essays on the History of Public Address, find (1) an article that is written to reconstruct a communication event or theory of communication from the past, and (2) an article that is written to make a particular argument about an event or theory from the past. Bring them to class. Write an essay of no more than 500 words addressing the significance of the research in one of the articles. Evaluate how well the author establishes the significance of his/her work.

We start tonight by meeting the historian. Why does s/he do what they do? What motivates their work. We will discuss the essays you found.

B. Digging up the bones of history: history as discovery

Reading: BG, cc. 2, 4. Wilbur Samuel Howell, "The Declaration of Independence: Some Adventures with America's Political Masterpiece." Quarterly Journal of Speech 62 (1976): 221-33.

We are concerned with the gathering of historical fact. The process involves two sensations: a "hypothesis-proof" cycle and a "solving the mystery" puzzle. The text provides some advice, Howell provides a glimpse of the ecstasy of discovery.

Monday, February 16

C. Interpreting the Past: history as narrative experience

Reading: Marie Hochmuth Nichols, "Lincoln's First Inaugural: Part I." Methods of Rhetorical Criticism: A Twentieth Century Perspective. Ed. Bernard L. Brock and Robert L. Scott. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1980. 73-101.

We are concerned with telling a story as a skill. This is, in fact, an essential skill of qualitative research. Even in modern ethnography understanding the forces that merge in a moment and providing an account of how they create the moment are essential skills.

D. Testing Historical Evidence

Reading: BG, c. 5. Terry Croy on Carrie Chapman Catt

Exercise: Select a speech or other significant communication event to write about. You may find it interesting to go to one of the archives in our area and find the text of a speech, or a diary with the account of a speech that interests you. Research the events surrounding that speech.

We are concerned with errors in the historical record and how they occur. We will study different kinds of historical evidence, rules for establishing their reliability, and pitfalls for the unwary.

Monday, February 23

E. Historical Logic

Reading: BG, cc. 6-8.

Much of historical work is finding and creating linkages. There is (I probably should say are) a logic (or many logics) of history. Discussing it (or them) leads us to discuss paradigms, sufficiency of proof, and concepts of causality.

F. Writing History

Exercise: Write two short (no more than 2 pages each) accounts of the events surrounding your speech. Write it from two different perspectives.

Some notes on writing Narrative

We will discuss the historical work you have read and problems you have encountered in writing history. We also want to review the primary writers' skills in history -- arguing and constructing narrative.

Monday, March 2

III. Writing Criticism

A. Perspective and Purpose in Criticism

Reading: Foss, c. 1. Lawrence W. Rosenfield, "The Anatomy of Critical Discourse." Speech Monographs 35 (March 1968): 50-69.

Today we want to talk about the sorts of things that a critic does. What implications does Rosenfield's argument have on criticism? What alternatives are there to Rosenfield's position?

Monday, March 16

B. Collecting Data for Criticism: critical categories

Reading: Foss, cc. 2-3.

Exercise: Select the discourse that will become the object of your criticism. Bring it to class. Be prepared to discuss the category of observation that you were assigned. Be prepared to present a thesis for your criticism that comes from this formal analysis. You can find some vocabulary on your category on my SPCH 401 website, but do not restrict yourself to that. Most public speaking textbooks, Aristotle's Rhetorica, and many basic critcism books you will find at the library may help you in developing your understanding of the area.

This session is about vocabulary, how it constructs observation, and ways of assembing the elements of proof for criticism.

Monday, March 30

C. Interpreting Discourse: critical sensitivities

Reading: Foss, cc. 4, 8. Lawrence W. Rosenfield, "The Experience of Criticism." Quarterly Journal of Speech 60 (December 1974): 489-96.

Exercise: Be prepared to present a thesis for your criticism that comes from interpretation.

One of the critic's provinces is to reread discourse -- to enhance the reading of others. We will discuss this process of meta-rhetoric.

D. Evaluative Logic: critical reasoning

As in any inquiry, there is a logic at the base of criticism. In fact, like most sorts of inquiry, there are several. Brockriede portrays criticism as argument. If you have any confusion so far about criticism, the Brockriede article should end it.

Monday, April 6

E. Using Methods in Criticism

Reading: One of the remaining chapters in Foss.

We will compare and contrast various additional methods of criticism and talk about the relationship between method and critical study.

Monday, April 13

IV. Writing Skills

A. Envisioning Your Reader

Reading: BCW, cc. 1-2.

Exercise: Write no more than one page that describes the reader for your research. You should identify the reader and some of the expectations that you have about what they can understand, and can accept.

The importance of the reader cannot be overestimated. You must always write with a reader in mind, making choices that will communicate your position. We will explore the implications of this.

B. Formulating Your Argument

Reading: BCW, part III.

We have identified both historical logic and critical logic. This reading focuses on the more common problem of identifying your claim and providing support.

Monday, April 20

C. Structural Choices in Writing

Reading: BCW, c. 11, 13. BG, c. 9. James F. Klumpp and Thomas A. Hollihan, "Debunking the Resignation of Earl Butz: Sacrificing an Official Racist." Quarterly Journal of Speech 65 (February 1979): 1-11.

This is a nice working chapter in Booth, Colomb, and Williams; an excellent advanced chapter in Barzun and Graff. How do the authors of the criticism do? How is the criticism structured? Does it set up compelling argument? How does it relate social and rhetorical elements?

D. Creating Images

Reading: BCW, c. 14. BG, cc. 10-11. Edwin Black, "The Sentimental Style as Escapism, or the Devil with Daniel Webster." Form and Genre. Ed. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Falls Church VA: SCA, 1976. 75-86.

Good historical/critical writing not only argues, it creates in its audience the experience of the rhetorical act. These chapters in Barzun and Graff are also splendid. Does Black succeed in creating nineteenth Century America for you? Why or why not? How does he try? We want to talk about techniques for putting drama in writing.

Monday, April 27

E. The Mechanics of Writing

Reading: The Table of Contents of either the MLA or the APA manual.

Due: Your major criticism.

Yuk!! Form!! It is important to you. It tells a lot about you. So come with questions. Try to stump me on how to's.

F. Quoting and Footnoting

Reading: BG, cc. 12-13.

There is a right and a wrong way to insert quotations and footnotes into works. That way has little to do with impressing the instructor with how much you have researched. We will talk about the right and wrong ways.

G. The art of revising

Reading: BG, c. 14.

The secret of good writing -- revision. We want to talk about the process. In the process we will talk about the life of the critic.

Monday, May 11

H. Matching style to research and journal

We want to talk about different kinds of research and the different kinds of writing each requires. We also want to talk about how to modify your work to fit a particular journal.

Evaluations and Completion of Course

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