Spring 2020 Courses
COMM 438: Propaganda. (syllabus)
We will examine issues relevant to the public sphere, citizenship, and democracy by examining propaganda in American political discourse. Our readings and discussions will focus on four topics: 1) understanding propaganda; 2) propaganda message creation and analysis; 3) propaganda circulation and amplification; and, 4) whether or not it is possible to debunk propaganda. Our course readings, class discussions, and written work will examine the importance of propaganda in American political discourse.
COMM 440/651: Presidential Communication. (syllabus)
There has been a distinct disruption in presidential communication over the past four years. This course will put those changes into their institutional and historical context. We will examine how American presidents have responded to changes in communication technologies in a predictable arc from the rhetorical presidency to the post-rhetorical presidency to the outrage presidency. We will examine both traditional topics related to communication and the American presidency and recent concerns about communication and the American presidency. We will focus on theories of the presidency and presidential rhetoric (e.g., rhetorical presidency and bully pulpit, imperial presidency), perceptions of the presidency (e.g., textbook presidency, expectations gap, symbolic presidency, heroic presidency, presidentiality), as well as the analysis of presidential campaigning, presidential discourse, and presidential speechwriting. We will also examine how President Donald Trump has harnessed the logics of outrage, engagement, and attention to dominate the American public sphere.