There are many similar courses in US universities and it is perhaps a bit surprising that no-one has pursued this idea before in this country. President Obama may have something to do with the sudden inspiration though:
“We want to promote the idea of considered debate rather than the soundbite,” says Dr Siebers. “Understanding rhetoric is important for citizens to be able to be function in a democracy,” he says.
At the moment, Barack Obama is the finest exponent of political rhetoric, says Dr Siebers. Wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was another great speech maker, he says. And in terms of written rhetoric, he says George Orwell was a “consummate user of rhetoric”.
It is also claimed that
the course will give students “a comprehensive understanding of the history, theory and current status of the field of rhetoric and will be able to apply rhetorical theory and skills in a critical and reflective manner”.
Handy. Should be a ticket to employability too: “the university says it will be useful for law, politics and teaching.”