Department of Rhetoric
P.O. Box 846
Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943
Lizabeth A. Rand, Chair
Spring 2013 Rhetoric 401 Course Description
Topics in Rhetorical Theory and Practice
Communication and Gender
Course Description: This course is designed to give students who have completed the regular Rhetoric course sequence theoretical insights into issues related to writing and speaking—overall, to our use of language to communicate. The particular issue that we will be examining this semester is how gender affects the communication process—a “hot-button topic” these days. We will spend some time discussing ways gender itself is defined by different scholars, and will then examine the issues in several key gender-related debates: whether or not “masculine” or “feminine” writing/speaking styles exist, and whether young men have more difficulty than young women in developing their reading and writing skills in school settings. Students will read theoretical discussions of these issues and will also read and analyze works by major writers, especially those whose writing style has been traditionally viewed by critics as particularly “masculine” or “feminine.” Arrangements are in progress to allow the class to interact with male and female high school students to provide real-world material for students’ research projects. Students will write two major, research-based essays in the course of the semester (each one about 1250-1500 words); students will also be asked to write other, shorter, informal essays throughout the semester; oral presentations of ideas will also be required.