Communication Studies

Special Topics

COM 495 Course Descriptions Fall 2012

COM 495-001 Rhetoric of Civil Rights
Day/Time: TR 12:30-1:45pm
Instructor: Dr. Pat Comeaux

Open to all Juniors and Seniors

Description of Course:

This course examines the persuasive strategies of the key events, well known leaders and ordinary citizens fighting for their civil rights during the era in American history from 1954-1985. Primary source documents of speeches, documentary film (Eyes on the Prize), biographies and autobiographies will be used to examine the most powerful mass protest movement in modern US history. This course also examines the powerful white resistance to this freedom struggle during this time period. In addition to viewing documentaries and analyzing speeches and key events for their persuasive strategies, a focus will be on a comparison/contrast of the distinctly different strategies used by the followers of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the non-violent protesters with those of the followers of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panthers and the call for forceful-violent resistance. Finally, the most recent civil rights protest occurring in Jena, LA, 2007 will be examined in conjunction with Barack Obama's speech on race relations (2008).

Course Learning Activities (Major Assignments):

  • Debate/discussions of the major events viewed on the Eyes on the Prize video-documentaries;
  • Two Essay Papers (analyzing the rhetorical strategies and the selected events, individuals or organizations associated with the Civil Rights Movement)

NOTE from Dr. Comeaux

  • Former students have expressed appreciation for learning more about this important part of our identity as U.S. citizens and the opportunity to examine this aspect of American culture and the power struggles for rights of citizenship.
Don't miss out on this unique learning opportunity!

COM 495-002 Applied Qualitative Methods
Day/Time: TR 2:00-3:15pm
Instructor: Dr. Julie-Ann Scott

Course Description: In this class we will explore qualitative research from a communication perspective as it applies to communication studies and human interactions. Students will practice interviewing people and analyzing personal narratives, focus groups, and observing others actions in a location of your choice, and sharing oral and written findings of your reports. We will focus on how these skills translate across professional contexts (marketing, public relations, journalism, law etc.) in addition to traditional academic research contexts.

COM 495-003 Applying CMM to the World Around Us
Day/Time: TR 2:00-3:15pm
Instructor: Dr. Vernon Cronen

Course Description: This course is based on the theory Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM). It was developed to deal with questions like these: How do people get themselves trapped into patterns of talk the participants themselves do not want? How do emotions and aesthetics function in communication practices? How does culture enter the communication picture? How do we create understandings of what we can do, must do, and must not do? How can problematic patterns of communication be changed and creative ones fostered? In this course we will address these and related questions by focusing on "joint action." That is, how persons jointly create possibilities and constraints for how they live together. CMM has a wide range of application including relationships, organizations, small groups, families, mass media and the new personal media. The emphasis on particular areas of application can follow student interests.

COM 495-004 Advanced Public Speaking
Day/Time: TR 11:00am-12:15pm
Instructor: Dr. Vernon Cronen

Course Description: Quality public speaking is at the core of the communication studies discipline and remains a highly-prized skill in the market place. Advanced Public Speaking is ideal for those eager to polish fundamental talents acquired and practiced in such courses as Public Speaking, Art of Persuasive Speech, and Business and Professional Communication as well as allied classes such as Performance of Literature and Storytelling in the Community. This course offers opportunities across various modes of speech (impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, memorized) and rhetorical objectives (informative, persuasive, inspirational). The approach is holistic, emphasizing the interplay between audience analysis, speaker goals, quality of written or outlined texts, and delivery, toward developing a personal style of oratory. This is a course for SERIOUS public speakers dedicated to expanding their experiences and abilities.

Spring 2012 Course Offerings

Fall 2011 Course Offerings