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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18

GOVT 86.02 Political Speech

This class focuses on political speeches from Cicero to Obama—but mostlyon speeches drawn from American politics over the past 100 years. The class aims to answer two basic questions: what is a great speech, and what is so great about political speech? It is often said that what distinguishes and elevates human beings among the animals is the capacity for speech: speech, Aristotle argued, is what makes us “political animals.” What is it about speech that is so special? The answer is found not in every sort of utterance, but in a distinctive kind of speech—political speech. Political speech is believed to distinctly reveal (and betray) our freedom and dignity. We will listen to, read, and evaluate a number of speeches, each of which vies for the status of “great speech.” In addition to reading a number of allegedly “great” political speeches, we will also read classic accounts of political rhetoric found in Plato and Aristotle, and some contemporary accounts of political rhetoric.



Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:SOC; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


Not offered in AY 2017-2018. May be offered in AY 2018-2019.