Speaking and Arguing: The Rhetoric of Peace and War
Politics 112

Vincent Ferraro, 103 Skinner, x2669, vferraro@mtholyoke.edu
Sara R. Curtin, x 4350, srcurtin@mtholyoke.edu
Lioudmila Abramova, x4708, lmabramo@mtholyoke.edu

Purpose of the Course

This course has two principal objectives.  The first is to examine the rhetoric of war and peace.  Throughout history orators have rallied people to war or have advised them against resorting to arms.  These moments are ones of great drama for humanity, and speeches have been powerful shapers of public opinion.  We will analyze the techniques used by various speakers to promote values and policies on matters of war.

The second objective is to examine techniques of public speaking.   Students will have three opportunities to prepare and present speeches.  These speeches will be critiqued by the instructor and the members of the class.  In addition, the speeches will be videotaped and each student will have the opportunity for self-critique.   The objective here is not to produce orators, but rather to develop basic speaking skills.

Procedural Matters

All the materials for this course are online.  To access this syllabus and the links to the reading materials, simply go to the site: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/speech/fall00.htm.

You will be expected to give four speeches during the term.  The last half of the course is devoted to giving and critiquing speeches in class.  We will work up the schedule of speeches in the second week of classes.

My Office Hours are Monday nights, 7-9 and Tuesday mornings, 10-12. 

Course Outline

11 September:  Breaking the Ice

Filling Out the Questionnaire

Speeches by Lioudmila and Sara

Robert F. Kennedy, Speech at the University of Capetown, Day of Affirmation, 6 June 1966

13 September: Depersonalization


Personal Speeches

Readings from Kennedy's Speech

18-20 September:  The Difference Between Written and Oral Language



Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," April 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream," Washington, DC. August 1963

Written Assignment:  "What are the differences between written and oral language?"

September 25-27: Extemporaneous Speeches

October 2: Evidence


Library Handouts

Assignment: Evidence Exercise

October 4:  Listening as the Key to Understanding


Hitler at Nuremberg, 1933 from Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will

John Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 1961  (Recording)

October 11- 16: Argument


Pericles Funeral Oration, from Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Book II 

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 19 November 1863

Slobodan Milosevic, Speech to the Serbian Nation after the end of the war in Kosovo, 10 June 1999

October 18 - 30:  Assigned Topic Speeches

The Nature of Critique

Winston Churchill, 18 June 1940 from Real Audio Archives, "...this was their finest hour"

November 1- 6: Robert Kennedy's Speech Again

November 8 - 13: Delivery


Martin Luther King, "I Have a Dream," 28 August 1963

November 15-December 13:  Policy Speeches

December 15:  Conclusion