Communication/Rhetorical Criticism

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In this course we will acquire and demonstrate an understanding of the major approaches to the analysis and criticism of rhetoric in various contexts. We apply rhetorical criticism methods to oral and written analyses of communicative acts and from a variety of contexts. Examples include: comedy, music, public address, new media, and visual art.

Lovely Person, Great Professor

I took a course taught by Dr. Dawkins once and had to enroll in another class! I only had the opportunity to take two courses with her, but they are both memorable. Her approach to rhetoric and the application to reality, both everyday life and celebrity life, offered a unique outlook to the theories. The course is rigorous, but it is nothing short of what should be expected of a 400 level class. Dr. Dawkins engages by forcing you to think and create your own opinions, helping you understand the material and not just memorizing it.

Her overview of this class does not do it justice. It is really something to experience. Thanks so much for being the wonderful person you are and bringing that brightness to your work.

-Brandy Andrews :)

RE: The Amazing Marcia Alesan Dawkins

I feel extremely honored to have been taught by Dr. Dawkins. She is so amazing because she really opened our brains to the world. The many messages the world creates from visual art, music, comedy, poetry, movies, television shows, public addresses, etc. I was sincerely blown away and had the incredible opportunity to broaden my emphasis in rhetorical criticism by all the wonderful viewpoints she presented as well as apply some of her amazing techniques in my own classroom. She is intelligent, personable, cares about her students, cares about her field, and she is so amazing at what she does. The passion and compassion she has shines through everyday, regardless of the day. She is truly one in a million and has taught me so much in education and in life. Thank you for touching my life and showing me how special I am. Much love.

On why I would take this course again!

Who said communication criticism can't be modern? I really enjoyed taking this course with Dr. Dawkins because it was relevant to our every day lives. While it is important to understand the origins of rhetoric, I was happy that this course took criticism and applied it to pop culture (which is something I really enjoy).

Not only was it fun to take this course, but I also enjoyed the conversations I shared with Dr. Dawkins. She is very approachable, intelligent, and really knows what she is doing. You do not encounter very many instructors who are as amazing to interact with and to learn from.

Thank you Dr. Dawkins!
~Raffaela S.

I can go on forever.

I entered this class as an undergrad, so I used this as an elective. My only reason at first to sign up for this course was because Dr. Dawkins was teaching this course. I had her for another human communications class and I enjoyed the way she taught and lectured. Going into a graduate course as an undergrad was kind of intimidating, or so I thought... This class had made me look and analyze everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, at a completely different angle. Walking into that class, I had become a professional critic. One thing I learned is that it is okay to question or critique a piece of work,(i.e. a television show, a painting, a poem, etc...) and create different possible outcomes for the end result. I was able to challenge society.
Dr. Dawkins is a splendid professor, super sweet, strong, self accomplishing, determined...I can literally go on forever.
If you like discussing things like pop culture I would recommend this course. Take it :)

A Rewarding Experience

A semester's worth of rhetorical studies is tricky for anyone. I took this class as a graduate student, but noticed quite a few undergraduates mixed in. Dr. Dawkins did a wonderful job of making the content interesting and intellectually stimulating for both groups.

Dr. Dawkins demonstrated a firm grasp on rhetorical "traditions," as well as a refreshing ability to apply "old school" concepts to contemporary issues. Our pre-lecture discussions of current events were never arbitrary, because Dr. Dawkins fostered a class environment that promoted insightful comments from all students. Although you generally notice only a handful of students commenting on class issues, almost all students in the class provided some perspective each class period. This is a testament to the way Dr. Dawkins fosters a favorable learning climate. I felt extremely comfortable in her class.

Dr. Dawkins is intelligent, but never pompous. From what I have observed, she treats her students with respect and kindness. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with her in and outside of class. I'm glad I know her.

-Brent Bracamontes

My Favorite class thus far

I found this course (Rhetorical Crit) to be very engaging, interesting, and met my high threshold of what I want out of the grad program in Human Communication Studies. I felt I was able to freely express my controversial options in regards to subjects such as race, sexuality, and gender without being reprimanded by the instructor. I learned more in this class about communication than I have in the whole communication program thus far. Her teaching style was so focused on immediacy and addressing the needs that we had with the material. If we did not understand certain material she would extend the lesson to make sure we at least got the foundation of the theory. Her teaching style was not to just talk at us but with us. She was the epitome of the Frierien concept of the teacher occupying the position of student as well because she simultaneously learned from us.

Great class

This was my third course with Dr. Dawkins, and it was no less informative or fun than the others--I have come to expect this from her, and she has yet to disappoint. Truth be told, this course was far more in-depth and powerful than I imagined. Dr. Dawkins inspects every aspect of communication, from art to television to music to to political debate to general conversation, and helps you to apply concepts and theories to reality. If a subject is difficult to understand, she's more than willing to break it down for you, to put it in layman's terms. This course helps you to understand the power of communication and how important it is to use the right word and that everything is done for a reason; in essence, she exemplifies that the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug. Apologies for the Twain reference, but it certainly holds true. Dr. Dawkins is one of the most informative, kindest, and helpful professors out there. You'd be lucky to take any course with her.

Steph Bee

Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to construct meaningful lectures and assign such insightful readings, I can already see that the care you have taken to construct this course is far more valuable than the price of admission, and for that I am grateful.

-J. Sawtelle

Good class

I just wanted to drop a post and tell you how much I enjoyed your class! It's so refreshing to talk about the things that really interest me in the study of rhetoric.