Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Meets the following requirements:

  • HY - History
  • HS - Human Studies

This course will provide an overview of the field of public address and rhetorical criticism through an experiential approach.

Through an in-depth examination of prominent American political speeches, students will read, examine, and critically evaluate public speeches from a “close analysis” perspective. The primary goal of the class is to introduce students to some of the most well known American orators as well as to stimulate a deeper understanding of the relationship between text, society, and the “public.” At the same time, students will come to know these speakers “in their own words” through close textual approach to historical speeches.

The course is centered around two “modules” of speech texts, both pertaining to the struggle for “citizenship rights” and beyond. The first grouping of texts are from what has traditionally been called the mid-20th century American Civil Rights Movement and will focus primarily on the advocacy for racial equality and empowerment by Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Stokley Carmichael, and other activists from the period.

The second grouping will cover the first wave of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States during the latter half of the 19th century, in this part of the class we will examine speeches by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Adelle Hazlett, and others. The class will emphasize analytical writing about the speeches we examine and will require students to demonstrate a critical ability to analyze and write about public speeches.

Students will be evaluated on their participation in class discussion, short written response papers, several longer essays, and individual presentations.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.