Monday, June 20, 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Advice for Tuesday's Exam

Make sure you know everything on the study sheet I handed out Thursday!

Also, remind yourself what each of our assigned readings argued... even if we didn't spend much if any time on them together in discussion. I'll be asking you to identify quotes from some of our readings.

I'll make part one of the exam available at 2.30pm sharp, so arrive early if you want ten extra minutes.

Bring spare pens and pencils in case your ink runs out or some other mishap occurs.

You'll provide your answer on the exam itself, so there is no need to bring blue books or anything like that. You can also use the backs and margins of the exam's pages for workspace.

The Midterm will be administered in two parts. Again, Part One will be made available at 2.30pm, Tuesday, and you may continue work on Part One until 3.45 at the very latest. Part Two will be made available at 3.45 till the end of class, at 5.00. Feel free to hand in Part One whenever you have completed it to your satisfaction, and take a break before Part Two begins at 3.45.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


The online version of Hecuba appears to lack a few lines at the very end of the play (at least in the form I'm viewing). So, here they are:


Close it now; for I have spoken.


Haste and cast him upon some desert island, since his mouth is full of such exceeding presumption. Go thou, unhappy Hecuba, and bury thy two corpses; and you, Trojan women, to your masters' tents repair, for lo! I perceive a breeze just rising to waft us home. God grant we reach our country and find all well at home, released from troubles here!

(POLYMESTOR is dragged away by AGAMEMNON'S guards.)

CHORUS (chanting)

Away to the harbour and the tents, my friends, to prove the toils of slavery! for such is fate's relentless hest.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Our Syllabus

Rhetoric 10: The Rhetoric of Argument 
"What Is Compelling? Argument, Reconciliation, Obligation"

Summer 2016, Session A, 2.30-5pm., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 88 Dwinelle

Instructor, Dale Carrico: dcarrico@sfai.edy;;
Course Blog:

Participation/Attendance/In-Class Activities, 20%; Reading Notebook, 20%; Precis, 2-3pp., 10%; Mid-Term Exam, 25%; Final Paper, 5-6pp., 25%. (Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies)

Course Description

This course provides students with tools they can use to make better, more compelling, arguments and also to read arguments in better, more critical, ways. We will draw the tools for our argumentative toolboxes from the long history of rhetoric, from sophistical dissoi logoi, to the Aristotelian appeals, to Quintilian's four master tropes, to the rich archive of formal and informal fallacies, to argument modeled on litigation via Toulmin's schema, to argument modeled on mediation via Rogerian synthesis, to the pragmatism of the ends of argument. All the while we are workshopping these technical skills we will also be reading and discussing a range of texts that tackle questions of the reach and forms of violence and nonviolence in historical struggle and in everyday life. These texts will likewise draw from a long history, from Immanuel Kant, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frantz Fanon and Hannah Arendt to Arundhati Roy, Judith Butler, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. We will also talk through a play by Euripides, an essay by Nietzsche, a novel by Octavia Butler, a film by Cronenberg… The crucial thing to understand about the course is that we will not be taking on two separate projects, one practical and another theoretical. This course proposes that there is an indispensable relation between the traditional focus of rhetoric as instruction in the art of making compelling arguments and the theoretical preoccupation of many rhetoricians with questions of what violence or compulsion ultimately consists. It is commonplace to see Persuasion offered up as an alternative to the violent adjudication of disputes or hear Argument idealized as a space "outside" of violence. But the truth is that many arguments rely on the acceptance of a violent status quo or depend on conventional assumptions that deny marginal testimonies to violation. Also, many arguments stealthily threaten violence while at once congratulating themselves on their peacefulness. Ultimately, the course proposes that it is rhetoric's definitive concern with the traffic between the literal and figurative dimensions of language and its situated understanding of truth-telling that connects the work of rhetoric with a project of reconciliation that resists violence even as we cannot help but risk it.

A Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One

May 24 SKILL SET: Key Definitions
[1] Rhetoric is the facilitation of efficacious discourse as well as an ongoing inquiry into the terms on the basis of which discourse comes to seem efficacious or not.
[2] A text is an event experienced as arising from intention, offered up to the hearing of an audience, and obligating a responsiveness equal to it.
[3] An argument is a claim supported by reasons and/or evidence.
Introductions: Rhetoric as occasional, interested, figurative; The literal as conventional, the figurative as deviant.
May 25 SKILL SET: Reading Critically/Writing Critically; Audience/Intentions -- Audiences: Sympathetic, Unsympathetic, Apathetic; Intentions: Interrogation, Conviction, Persuasion, Reconciliation
Euripides: Hecuba
May 26 SKILL SET: Ethos, Pathos, Logos; Writing A Precis
Immanuel Kant, Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose

Week Two

May 31 SKILL SET: Four Habits of Argumentative Writing: 1. Formulate a Strong Thesis, 2. Define Your Terms, 3, Substantiate/Contextualize, 4, Anticipate Objections; Performativity
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
June 1 SKILL SET: The Toulmin Schema
William May, "Rising to the Occasion of Our Death" (In-Class Handout)
June 2 SKILL SET: Rogerian Rhetoric
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
Precis should be posted to the blog by midnight, Saturday, June 4 

Week Three

June 7 SKILL SET: Debate
Randal Amster, Anarchism and Nonviolence: Time for a "Complementarity of Tactics"
Arundhati Roy, War Is Peace
George Ciccariello-Maher, Planet of Slums, Age of Riots 
Mike Davis, Slum Ecology
Chris Hedges, Evidence of Things Not Seen
June 8 SKILL SET: Propositional Analysis; Enthymemes, Syllogisms, Formal Fallacies, Informal Fallacies
June 9 SKILL SET: Literal/Figurative Language; Figures, Tropes, Schemes; Four Master Tropes
Nietzsche, On Truth and the Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense; Workshopping

Week Four

June 14 Mid-Term Examination
June 15 Screening and Discussion of the Film, "A History of Violence," dir. Cronenberg
June 16 Correspondence of Tolstoy and Gandhi
Interview with Amitabh Pal
Louise Gray, Telegraph, Gene Sharp: How to Start a Revolution
Nick Cohen, Guardian, The Phantom Menace of Militant Atheism
Edward Oakes, First Things, Atheism and Violence

Week Five

June 21 Frantz Fanon, Concerning Violence from The Wretched of the Earth
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, The Case for Reparations
Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, The Role of Highways in American Poverty
Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute, From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government Sponsored Segregation
June 22 Hannah Arendt, Reflections On Violence, Preface from Between Past and Future, and "Must Eichmann Hang?" (In-Class Handout)
June 23 Workshopping Final Paper: Producing a Strong Thesis; Anticipating Objections; Providing Textual Support

Week Six

June 28 Octavia Butler, Kindred (Purchase in time for class.)
June 29 Judith Butler, from Chapter One of Undoing Gender, "Beside Oneself," pp. 17-26, roughly, and the concluding chapter of Precarious Life, pp. 128-151.
June 30 Concluding Remarks. Final Paper Due

Monday, January 19, 2009

Syllabus for Rhetoric 10, Springl 2009

What Is Compelling? The Rhetoric of Argument

12.30-2pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 60 Evans

Course Blog,

Instructor, Dale Carrico:

Roughly and Provisionally Your Final Grade Will Reflect:

Attend/Participate: 15%; Workshops: 15%; Mid-Term: 35%; Final 35%

A Provisional Schedule of Meetings


Week One
January 20
Course Introduction
SKILL SET: An argument is a claim supported by reasons and/or evidence.

January 22
SKILL SET: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Week Two
January 27
Euripides, Hecuba

January 29
SKILL SET: Four Habits of Argumentative Writing: 1 Formulate a Strong Thesis, 2 Define Terms, 3 Substantiate/Contextualize, 4 Anticipate Objections; Audience/Intention


Week Three
February 3
Kant, "Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose"

February 5
SKILL SET: Intentions -- Interrogation, Conviction, Persuasion, Reconciliation

Week Four
February 10
Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from the Birmingham Jail"

February 12
SKILL SET: Audiences -- Sympathetic, Unsympathetic, Apathetic; Rogerian Rhetoric

Week Five
February 17
SKILL SET: The Toulmin Schema

February 19
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Week Six
February 24
SKILL SET: Literal/Figurative Language; Figures, Tropes, Schemes; Four Master Tropes

February 26
SKILL SET: Syllogisms, Enthymemes, Formal Fallacies


Week Seven
March 3
SKILL SET: Syllogisms, Enthymemes, Formal Fallacies

March 5
SKILL SET: Informal Fallacies

Week Eight
March 10
Screening and Discussing the Film, "A History of Violence"

March 12
Screening and Discussing the Film, "A History of Violence"

Week Nine
March 17
Mid-Term Examination, Part One

March 19
Mid-Term Examination, Part Two

Week Ten
Spring Break

Week Eleven
March 31
Art Spiegelman, Maus


April 2
Art Spiegelman, Maus

Week Twelve
April 7
Hannah Arendt, On Violence

April 9
Hannah Arendt, On Violence, and "Must Eichmann Hang?"

Week Thirteen
April 14
Michel Foucault, from Discipline and Punish

April 16
Frantz Fanon, "Concerning Violence" from The Wretched of the Earth and a selection from Black Skin, White Masks

Week Fourteen
April 21
Octavia Butler, Kindred

April 23
Octavia Butler, Kindred

Week Fifteen
April 28
Mike Davis, from Planet of Slums

April 30
Mike Davis, from Planet of Slums


May 5
Judith Butler, from Undoing Gender and Precarious Life

Week Sixteen
May 7
Concluding Remarks
Hand in Take Home Final.