Accueil > Rhetoric - 1st part semester

OCOE 2010 - Rhetoric - 1st part semester

Type d'enseignement : Workshop

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


At least, level 4 in English.

Course Description

Rhetoric was born with democracy and, like democracy, has been viewed with suspicion ever since. What is the relationship between persuasion and manipulation, between style and substance, between winning an argument and revealing the truth? On the political stage, in courts of law, and in the free press the din of debate echoes on. Yet even after two thousand years, these questions about the use and abuse of rhetoric still cry out for answers. To English essayist Francis Bacon, rhetoric was the art of “applying reason to imagination for the better moving of the will.” With this principle in mind, the rhetoric workshop has two aims: to better understand the philosophy and history of this elusive art, and through practice to develop it more fully in ourselves. The workshops will be based on continual student participation, with a variety of assignments both critical and practical. We will immerse ourselves in the history of rhetoric, from Cicero and Shakespeare to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, making use both of texts and of videos to examine not only the content and context of a speaker's words, but such elements as body language, tone, technology, and audience. In addition, each student will develop his or her own oratorical style, through filmed exercises, debates, and collaborative self-critique. The intended result: a deeper appreciation of rhetoric in theory, and a keener capacity for rhetoric in one's own voice.


PAULSON, Lex (Vice-President stratégie, La Nouvelle Ecoles d'Athènes)

Pedagogical format

24 hours of in-person class time, divided into six workshops of four hours each

Course validation

The final grade will be based primarily on student performance in the sixth and final class session, in which they will deliver a 5-minute filmed final speech (60%) and participate in a group critique of other students' filmed speeches, drawing upon the concepts discussed in the class (20%). The remaining 20% of a student's final grade will be based on their participation and progression in the previous five weeks of the course.

Required reading

  • Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media
  • Aristotle, Rhetoric
  • Cicero, De inventione
  • Plato, Phaedrus & Gorgias

Additional required reading

  • Pericles' funeral oration, Thucydides' History of the Pelopennesian War
  • Shakespeare, Julius Caesar and Henry V
  • Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (1863) and Second Inaugural Address (1865)
  • F. Roosevelt, “Four Freedoms” and Pearl Harbor speeches (1941)
  • Gandhi, “Quit India” speech (1942)
  • M. L. King Jr., “I Have a Dream” (1963)
  • N. Mandela, Inauguration Address (1994)
  • B. Obama, Keynote Address to DNC (2004)