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Rhetoric in American Politics

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Clinton - Hillary for America/Trump - Michael Vadon
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Flickr via Creative Commons

Hateful. Inflammatory. Empty. The word “rhetoric” has a bad reputation. But it has a pedigree: in history, rhetoric is a skill. Plato called it “the art of winning the soul by discourse.” As the campaign for president hits high gear, the public is getting a heavy dose of political rhetoric. How does the discourse this election season compare to campaigns of the past? What kinds of rhetorical strategies are candidates using? We’ve all heard of logical fallacies like the red herring and the slippery slope. How often do they crop up in political speech, and how can we learn to recognize them? From alliteration to tapinosis, the role of rhetoric in politics. Our guests: Trevor Parry-Giles, a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, and Shirley Logan, a newly retired English professor from the University of Maryland. 

Shirley Logan and Trevor Parry-Giles will present a talk titled "Rhetoric and Politics in America: What’s Past is Prologue" on October 10 at 1pm at the University of Maryland. They will discuss the influence of rhetoric and persuasion on the course of politics in the U.S. over the past two centuries. They will also consider rhetoric’s role in the contemporary political campaign environment.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Andrea no longer works for On The Record.