Digital Rhetoric

Professor: Daniel Adleman
Course code: WRR303H1
Format: Lecture/Discussion

About this course

Traditionally, the humanities and social sciences have turned a blind eye to the pivotal role of media in our daily lives. This course brings media front and centre. Beginning with U of T rhetorician Marshall McLuhan’s far-reaching ideas about media environments, we undertake a journey through different ideas about the integral role that media plays in culture. While scholars of rhetoric, philosophy, and literary studies have traditionally been allergic to new developments in popular culture, we go to great lengths to think through the implications of social media, online activism, and dating apps for what it means to be a person in the digital twenty-first century.

What you’ll learn

In this course, you will do the following:
  • Study the history of media studies and its relationship to rhetoric.

  • Bring your expertise, as a media navigator, to bear on theoretical and practical conversations about contemporary media phenomena.

  • Write critically about media phenomena.

Good to know

This is an introductory course open to all students. No specific background in Writing & Rhetoric is required. The midterm assignment is a short essay and the final assignment is a research essay.

A personal note from your instructor

Dan Adleman

Daniel Adleman

I developed WRR303 to provide Writing & Rhetoric students with a survey of critical rhetorical ideas about media. As a student, I studied rhetoric and media studies as relatively independent disciplines. But when I discovered that Marshall McLuhan (who, along with Harold Innis, pretty much invented modern-day media studies at the U of T) was a classically trained rhetorician, I began to realize that rhetorical concepts — like persuasion, identification, affect, and influence — have a great deal to contribute to media studies. In my recent scholarship, as in WRR303, I’ve been doing my best to bring rhetorical tools into resonance with new developments in our media environment.

Good to know

Recommended preparation:

Exclusions: INI303H1

Distribution requirements:

Breadth requirements:

Have a question?

Need more info? Want to discuss if the Writing & Rhetoric Program is right for you? Looking for help in choosing courses? Jannie Chien, the Innis College academic program coordinator, can help!