Rhetoric and Communication Studies

  • Department Information

    Rhetoric and Communication Studies

    Timothy Barney, Chair
    Professor Mifsud
    Associate Professors Achter, Barney, Johnson, Maurantonio
    Assistant Professor Tilton 
    Director of Speech Center Hobgood

  • Major

    The Rhetoric and Communication Studies Major

    Note:  The grade point average for coursework comprising the major must reach a  C (2.0) or higher with no course grade counting toward major below a C- (1.7).

    10 units, including:

    RHCS 103 Rhetorical Theory or RHCS 104 Interpreting Rhetorical Texts

    Two units 100-200 level electives

    RHCS 295 Topics in Research

    Five units 300- or 400-level electives

    RHCS 490 Senior Capstone

    Note: FYS taught by faculty of the department may count as one of the two 100-200 level electives.

     

  • Minor

    The Rhetoric and Communication Studies Minor

    Note:  The grade point average for coursework comprising the minor must reach a  C (2.0) or higher with no course grade counting toward minor below a C- (1.7).

    Six units, including:

    RHCS 103 Rhetorical Theory or RHCS 104 Interpreting Rhetorical Texts

    One unit 100-200 level electives

    RHCS 295 Topics in Research

    Three units 300- or 400-level electives

    Note: FYS taught by faculty of the department may count as one of the two 100-200 level electives.

     

  • Honors

    Honors Program

    The Honors Program is designed for outstanding students with intellectual initiative and the desire to pursue academic achievement beyond the level of standard course work. Its purpose is to provide these students the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the major field.

    Eligibility and Admission

    To be eligible for admission to the Honors program a student should have:

    1. 18.5 or more units of completed work
    2. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3;
    3. 3.5 or more units in the major field (exclusive of courses primarily for freshmen) with evidence of distinguished achievement.

    A student who does not meet these qualifications may be admitted to the Program with the special recommendation of the major department and the approval of the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

    Students may request consideration by their department, or departments may invite a student to apply.

    Each application will include a program of study planned in consultation with the major department and will indicate specifically how the student's Honors Program is to be accomplished. The application, along with an advising copy of the student's transcript, will then be presented by the department to the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program by about November 15th for the fall term applicant and by about March 15th for the spring term applicant.

    Program of Study

    Each student's program of study will include at least 3.5 units of Honors course work and must meet all Honors requirements set by the major department. Course work may include Honors seminars, Honors independent/directed study courses in which the student meets at least weekly with one or more professors, Honors research courses, and standard courses taken for Honors credit. Standard courses taken for Honors credit may be either (1) courses in the student's regular course of study that require extra work of a kind approved by the departmental Honors committee or (2) courses, approved by the departmental Honors committee, in the student's area of study, that are in addition to any departmental major requirements. Courses of type (1) are the norm. Any program that wishes to incorporate courses of type (2) as part of their Honors requirements must submit significant justification for approval by the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program. No more than two courses may be standard courses taken for Honors credit (and with work appropriate to Honors status).

    To demonstrate superior achievement, Honors students are normally required to submit a written Honors thesis to the major department in time for a final grade to be submitted to the registrar. At the discretion of the major department an alternative work that presents a comparable challenge to intellectual initiative and academic achievement may be substituted. All thesis work should be read and evaluated by more than one reader and, if appropriate, presented publicly in a departmental or Arts and Sciences forum. Departments may also require that students pass written and / or oral comprehensive examinations.

    All Honors students are to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.3 while participating in the program. Exceptions require approval by the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

    If at any time the student or the major department decides that Honors work should not continue, the department should submit a request for withdrawal to the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

    Recognition of Honors Work

    A student who successfully completes the Honors Program will receive the degree with Departmental Honors, to be noted on the student's permanent record along with the title of the Honors Thesis or comparable work. The student's diploma and the Commencement Program will also indicate achievement of Departmental Honors, and the Honors Thesis or equivalent will be preserved in a separate collection in Boatwright Library.

Courses

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  • RHCS 100 Public Speaking

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduction to the art of public speaking. Students will learn the classical canons of rhetoric: the arts of invention, disposition, style, memory, and delivery. Emphasis is placed on the design and delivery of speeches. Applies to majors/minors and general electives.

  • RHCS 102 Interpersonal Communication

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSSA)

    Description

    Survey of theory and practice relating to one-to-one communication. Exploration of role of communication and meaning in development of self, perceptions, and relationships. Introduction to social scientific study of communication. Includes lab-based practicum.

  • RHCS 103 Rhetorical Theory

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduction to theoretical study of rhetoric where we learn to think about language, speech, argument, and symbolic action at large as social forces, influencing how we perceive ourselves and others, how we understand our relationship to local and global communities, and how we address important issues in politics, law, and culture. Applies to majors/minors and general electives.

  • RHCS 104 Interpreting Rhetorical Texts

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduction to critical interpretation of rhetorical texts such as speeches, written arguments, and various media. Topics covered may include audience analysis, lines of reasoning, logical fallacies, modes of proof, evidence types, generic forms, and visual vocabularies. Applies to majors/minors and general electives.

  • RHCS 105 Media, Culture, and Identity

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSSA)

    Description

    Basic theoretical frameworks and concepts in media studies. Through close analysis of a variety of texts including, but not limited to, films, music, television programs, newspapers, magazines, and websites, explores the ways in which culture is produced and consumed. Case studies and other examples will provide entry points into thinking about how culture shapes and also is informed by individual and collective identities.

  • RHCS 106 Introduction to Cultural Studies

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduces the history and theory of cultural studies, attempting to answer the question of: "what is the context that allows for a specific discourse, politics, ideology, cultural life, or economic situation to emerge?" Covers how the social, the political, the ideological, the cultural, and the economic all "articulate" with one another to make up our contemporary world.

  • RHCS 245 Digital Humanities

    Units: 1

    Description

    Brings together computational methods with humanities questions. Explores the possibilities and limits of methods such as data visualization, network analysis, and text analysis for analyzing humanities data and modes of communication for scholarly arguments. Asks questions about computation, data, and digital methods.

  • RHCS 250 Critical Intercultural Communication

    Units: 1

    Description

    Provides an introduction to the study of intercultural communication through a critical lens, with a special emphasis on how power affects communication between different types of cultures on a transnational, national, and local level. The course highlights the many communicative contexts (economic, governmental, legal, educational, family, media and more) that surround this power and lead to both cross-cultural collaboration and conflict. Students will engage with global perspectives that challenge Western worldviews and offer alternative narratives about issues such as borders, bodies, space, and place.

  • RHCS 279 Special Topics in Rhetoric and Communications Studies

    Units: 1

    Description

    Special topics course offering lower-level/introductory inquiry in rhetoric and communication studies.

  • RHCS 295 Topics in Research

    Units: 1

    Description

    These topical courses focus on theory and practice of selected research methods (e.g. rhetorical criticism, ethnography, interview and survey methods, etc.), providing students with critical understanding of published research, a grounding in research methodology, and a working knowledge of the research process. May be repeated for credit when topics differ.

  • RHCS 302 Advanced Theories in Interpersonal Communication

    Units: 1

    Description

    In-depth exploration of specific theories in area of interpersonal communications. Will focus on role of communication in creating, maintaining, repairing, and transforming individual's sense of self and other. From this foundation, students will explore essence of dialogue through works of Buber, Bakhtin, Arnett, and Baxter.

  • RHCS 333 Theory and Pedagogy

    Units: 1

    Description

    For students who have successfully applied for positions as student consultants and speech fellows at the speech center.

  • RHCS 343 Rhetoric and Politics

    Units: 1

    Description

    Analysis of American political systems from rhetorical perspective using several theoretical frameworks and applied research. Examine interpretive processes on which political arguments and ideologies are based. Study impact of language on issues, candidates, and campaigns. Develop perspective of government's role in the "ongoing conversation" of politics and evaluate rules, choices, and strategies employed in different political arenas.

  • RHCS 345 Data and Society

    Units: 1

    Description

    Explores how topics such as algorithmic decision making, media manipulation, and "big" data effect our daily lives in the past and present.

  • RHCS 347 Advertising and Consumer Culture

    Units: 1

    Description

    Critical approach to the study of advertising and consumer culture, challenging students to reconsider entrenched assumptions and ideas about advertising and consumer culture more broadly. Issues of representation, production, reception, and citizenship, considering the material advertisement as well as its relationship to individuals and larger institutional structures. Application of theoretical concepts to historical and contemporary advertisements and objects of consumer culture. Application of different methodological approaches to the study of advertising including ethnography, focus groups, and textual analysis.

  • RHCS 349 Memory and Memorializing in the City of Richmond

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examines various sites of memory production (i.e. films, museums, monuments) -- how they have been conceptualized and debated -- and asks students to consider memory not only as an entity used in reconstructing the past but capable of being reconstructed itself. Over the course of the semester, students may take several field trips to historical sites and museums throughout the city of Richmond to experience how memory is reproduced and to consider alternate ways of crafting narratives of the past.

    Prerequisites

    Determined by instructor.

  • RHCS 350 Rhetoric in a Globalized World

    Units: 1

    Description

    Exploration of the rhetoric of U.S. internationalism in the 20th century and its impact on the discourse of globalization in the 21st century through close analysis of speeches, public documents, maps, photos, posters, radio, and films. A broad historical/critical perspective is offered on important public arguments pertaining to the global expansion of American power, while also engaging with significant archival and other primary materials from both American and international perspectives. Special attention to the relationship between historical and contemporary rhetorics of intervention, foreign aid, and exceptionalism.

  • RHCS 352 Media Theory

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduces alternative media and communication studies theories that include and exceed questions of representation, with special emphasis on the implications of media form on media content. Asks questions about how media are implicated in what many media theorists have called "man," i.e., the human, critically interrogating what this human means in terms of race, gender, class, and sexuality, while also thinking about the relation between said human and media technologies.

  • RHCS 353 Rhetoric and Law

    Units: 1

    Description

    Inquiry into the law from rhetorical perspectives, using the history and theory of rhetoric and its long-standing association with law and justice. Examination of interpretive processes on which legal arguments and ideologies are based. Exploration of the language of legal argument, court decisions, and of the role of rhetoric and the law in shaping of public life and social justice.

  • RHCS 354 Communication Theory and Race

    Units: 1

    Description

    Communication Theory and Race is a subsection of communication theory. Applies the work of Western, modern theory to communication and rhetorical studies. Seeks to understand epistemology (knowledge), ontology (being or existence), Marxism (materialism), and/or resistance as of central importance for communication studies.

  • RHCS 359 Media and War

    Units: 1

    Description

    Engages students in an inquiry into the rhetorical and communicative dimension of war in the twenty-first century.

  • RHCS 387 Independent Study in Rhetoric

    Units: .25-1

    Description

    No more than one unit of independent study may count toward the major or minor.

    Prerequisites

    Permission of instructor.

  • RHCS 388 Individual Internship

    Units: .25-1

    Description

    Practical application of speech communication principles and skills in a supervised, out-of-class environment. Graded pass/fail only. No more than one unit of internship may count toward rhetoric and communication studies major. Open to majors and minors only, but does not count toward the rhetoric and communication studies minor. No more than 1.5 units of internship in any one department and 3.5 units of internship overall may be counted toward required degree units.

    Prerequisites

    Faculty approval before beginning work.

  • RHCS 406 Summer Undergraduate Research

    Units: 0

    Description

    Documentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 8 weeks, the student must engage in the project full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.

    Prerequisites

    Approval for summer Arts and Sciences fellowship by faculty mentor

  • RHCS 412 Communication Studies Seminar

    Units: 1

    Description

    Special topics courses allow for advanced inquiry and research in Rhetoric and Communication Studies.

  • RHCS 490 Senior Capstone

    Units: 1

    Description

    Special topics seminar for seniors only focusing on research with an oral presentation requirement. Course is required for the major.

    Prerequisites

    Senior standing. Rhetoric and communication studies majors only.

  • RHCS 498 Honors Thesis Writing

    Units: 1

    Description

    Advanced research and writing opportunity for departmental honors students. Requires completion and presentation of honors thesis.

    Prerequisites

    Participation in department honors program.

  • RHCS 499 Honors Thesis Writing

    Units: 1

    Description

    Advanced research and writing opportunity for departmental honors students. Requires completion and presentation of honors thesis.

    Prerequisites

    Participation in department honors program.