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Rhetoric: The Enabling Discipline

Rhetoric is concerned with the state of Babel after the Fall.

—Kenneth Burke

Since 1985, the English Department of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has offered a graduate degree with a concentration in Rhetoric. The program is designed for English graduate students who are interested in rhetoric, composition theory, professional writing, the teaching of rhetoric and composition, the administration of writing programs and writing laboratories, and the study of linguistics.
Questions about the rhetoric concentration of the English advanced degree may be addressed to

Dr. James McDonald
Professor of Rhetoric
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department of English
P.O Box 44691
Lafayette LA 70504-4691.
Mission Statement
The English department offers both an M.A. and Ph.D. concentration in Rhetoric. The Rhetoric emphasis is designed for students who wish to prepare themselves for college teaching, English teachers who wish to broaden their knowledge within this speciality, those who plan to enter high school teaching, and those who wish to receive training in professional writing. The courses focus on contemporary theory and pedagogy, the history of rhetoric and literacy, and on linguistics.
Keith Dorwick, Ph.D.
John W. Ferstel, M.A.
Shelly M. Leroy, M.A.
James C. McDonald, Ph.D.
Clancy Ratliff, Ph.D.
Sample Course Offerings
The following courses have been taught by various rhetoric faculty members:
  • English 457 Classical Rhetoric
  • English 501 Teaching College English
  • English 555 Modern Composition Theory
  • English 590 Teaching Remedial English (one-hour course)
  • English 556 Seminar in Rhetoric:
    • Cyberpedagogy
    • Rhetoric and Ideology
    • Medieval, Renaissance, and 18th-Century Rhetoric
    • Gender Issues in Rhetoric and Composition
    • Major 20th-Century Rhetorical Theories
  • English 675 Special Topics in Literature and Communication
    • Studies of Literacy and Culture
  • English 462 Special Projects in Technical Writing
  • English 463 Technical Writing Practicum
  • English 465 Advanced Technical Writing
  • English 476 Nonfiction Workshop
  • English 425 Semantics
  • English 452 Sociolinguistics
  • English 458 Discourse Analysis
  • English 461 Psycholinguistics
  • English 506 Principles of Linguistics
  • English 553 Seminar in Linguistics
    • Cybercommunities
    • Standard English
  • English 459 Literary Theory and Practical Criticism
  • English 560 Seminar in Literary Theory English 660 Special Topics in Criticism 
Rhetoric Program Activities
The rhetoric program offers three extracurricular activities of note:
  • The Rhetoric Symposium draws noted scholars in the field of rhetoric as guest lecturers to the University. Past guests have included Cindy Selfe, Shirley Brice Heath, Edward P.J. Corbett, Winifred Horner, James Berlin, Jeanette Harris, Jim Corder, Richard Gerbhardt, Gary Tate, Wendy Bishop, Elizabeth Cowen, Sharon Crowley, and Robert Conners. Participation in the symposium is open to the public, and student participation satisfies the “colloquium” requirement of the M.A. and Ph.D. degree.
  • The Rhetoric Reading group consists of students interested in or majoring in rhetoric who meet informally to discuss current articles in the field. These pot-luck socials are scheduled once per semester and are held off campus.
Job Placement
Graduates majoring or minoring in the Rhetoric concentration have found tenure track positions at private and public universities and colleges in Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas.
A list of recently placed graduate students is available.

Document last revised Monday, March 30, 2009 12:16 PM

Copyright 2003 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department of English · P.O. Box 44691, Lafayette LA 70504
Griffin Hall, Room 221 · english@louisiana.edu · 337/482-6908