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Pennsylvania State University
Communication Arts & Sciences 475
Spring 2005

Monday and Wednesday 9:45-11:00 a.m.
309 Sparks Building

Professor Thomas W. Benson
227 Sparks Building
814-865-4201
t3b@psu.edu

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 11:00-12:00
and by appointment

 

Studies in Public Address

American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era: 1932-1945



This course examines the rhetoric of political speeches and popular culture in the New Deal Era, from 1932 to 1945, the time of the Great Depression and World War II. We read a number of speeches by major political figures of the time, especially President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and discuss fiction, drama, photography, film, and the music of the time. The course is built on a model of intensive conversation about the texts we study, both in class and in on-line discussion forums. Students prepare two short critical papers as a way of extending on skills of academic conversation to more formal research and writing.

Unit 1 -- The Coming of the New Deal

(1)

Monday

January 10

 

Introduction: the rhetoric of American public address and popular culture in the Depression and World War Two.

(2)

Wednesday

January 12

FDR campaigning in Topeka, Kansas, September 14, 1932

 

FDR, address at the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, September 23, 1932. Print text from Angel readings and resources folder.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, “Prologue” (1-9); chapter 1, “The American People on the Eve of the Great Depression” (10-42); chapter 2, “Panic” (43-69).

(3)

Monday

January 17

FDR, First Inaugural Address, Washington, DC, March 4, 1933. Text is at American Presidency project.

You can hear an audio clip from the speech online.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 3, “The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover” (70-103); chapter 4, “Interregnum” (104-130); chapter 5 “The Hundred Days” (131-159).

(4)

Wednesday

January 19

 

FDR, the First Fireside Chat, March 12, 1933; the Second Fireside Chat, May 7, 1933. Text is at American Presidency project.

Film showing: The River (1938), produced by the Farm Security Administration; written and directed by Pare Lorentz.(31 minutes)

 

Unit 2 -- Documenting the Depression

(5)

Monday

January 24

Margaret Bourke-White
Self Portrait 1943

Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White, You Have Seen Their Faces, through chapter 2.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 6, “The Ordeal of the American People” (160-189); chapter 7, “Chasing the Phantom of Recovery” (190-217).

(6)

Wednesday

January 26

Margaret Bourke-White

 

 

Caldwell and Bourke-White, You Have Seen Their Faces, 17-54.

Unit 3 -- FDR's Second Term and Voices of Opposition

(7)

Monday

January 31

Father Charles Coughlin

 

FDR, The Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937. Text is at American Presidency project. Listen to the speech on the History Channel web site.

(8)

Wednesday

February 2

Huey Long

Father Charles Coughlin, "A Third Party," radio address, June 19, 1936. Print a copy of the text from the Angel readings and resources folder. Listen to an audio sample from a Coughlin broadcast on the History Channel.

Huey Long, "Sharing Our Wealth," radio address, Washington, D.C., January 19, 1935. Listen to an audio file of part of the speech. Print a copy of the text from the Angel readings and resources folder.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 8, “The Rumble of Discontent” (218-248).

Unit 4 -- In Dubious Battle

(9)

Monday

February 7


 

John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle, chapters 1-6, pages 1-127.

(10)

Wednesday

February 9

 

John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle, chapters 7-11, pages 128-213.

(11)

Monday

February 14

 

John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle, chapters 12-15, pages 214-349.

Unit 5 -- Labor and Civil Rights

(12)

Wednesday

February 16

John L. Lewis

Sit-down striker arrested, 1937

 

John L. Lewis, "The Rights of Labor," radio address, Washington, D.C., September 3, 1937. The text of the address is in the Angel readings and resources folder.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 9 “A Season of Reform” (249-287); “Strike” (288-322).

You may hear a brief audio file of Lewis at the PBS great American speeches web site.

Film showing: The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936); directed by Pare Lorentz for the Department of Agriculture.

(13)

Monday

February 21

Martin Dies, Texas Congressman, chair of House Committee on Un-American Activities. Brochure advertising lecture series.

FDR at Gettysburg

Address at Gettysburg, May 30, 1934; and Address at the Dedication of the Memorial on the Gettysburg Battlefield, July 3, 1938. Texts of the speeches may be found at the American Presidency project.

Thomas W. Benson, “FDR at Gettysburg: The New Deal and the Rhetoric of Presidential Leadership, ” in Leroy G. Dorsey, ed., The Presidency and Rhetorical Leadership (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2002), 145-183." Print a copy from the Angel readings and resources folder; the essay reproduces the texts of the speeches.

Letter, Eleanor Roosevelt to Walter White of the NAACP, March 19, 1936, on the anti-lynching bill. In the readings and resources folder.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, “The Ordeal of Franklin Roosevelt” (323-362).

Unit 6 -- Hollywood Imagines Washington

(14)

Wednesday

February 23

 

Frank Capra, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. [Please see the film on your own before coming to class; you may purchase or rent a copy or view it in the Arts and Humanities Library in Pattee Library, where it is on reserve for the course].

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 12, “What the New Deal Did” (363-380).

(15)

Monday

February 28

 

still from The City (1939)

 

 

Frank Capra, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Discussion continues.

The City.[The film will be shown in class].

Medhurst & Benson, “The City: The Rhetoric of Rhythm,” Communication Monographs 48 (1981): 54-73. Print a copy from the Angel readings and resources folder.

Paper 1

(16)

Wednesday

March 2

Paper #1 due. 8-10 pages. Rhetorical analysis. Choose one of the following topics and write a detailed critical description, analysis, and interpretation of the text(s). You are encouraged to consult (and cite) a variety of journalistic and academic sources, though the core of your paper should be a detailed analysis and interpretation of the rhetoric of the text itself. For example, you might look at contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts, or histories of the era, to establish the situation. You might consult academic books and journals for critical analysis with which you might find yourself agreeing or disagreeing.

Topics:

(1)   “Speech” as action and figure in John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle or in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

(2)    The issue of race in You Have Seen Their Faces.

(3)   Individual liberty and communal responsibility in one or more FDR speeches or in In Dubious Battle.

(4)   Tradition and innovation as themes in a speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (choose a speech not assigned in class).

(5)   Depicting politics, the individual, and the law in Dashiell Hammet’s The Glass Key (1931).

 

March 7 - 11

Spring Break – no classes

(photo: Edwin Rosskam, FSA photograph, Swimming Hole, Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania, July 1941)

Unit 7 -- Imagining Community and Identity in Our Town and Double Indemnity

(17)

Monday

March 14

 

 

Thornton Wilder, Our Town. Reading.

 

 

(18)

Wednesday

March 16

 

Thornton Wilder, Our Town. Reading and discussion.

(19)

Monday

March 21

 

 

 

James M. Cain, Double Indemnity.

(discussion will focus on chapters 1-7)

 

(20)

Wednesday

March 23

 

James M. Cain, Double Indemnity.

(discussion will include chapters 8-14)

 

Unit 8 -- The FSA Photography Project -- Pennsylvania

(21)

Monday

March 28


The New Deal and World War II in Pennsylvania.

Cohen and Filippelli, Times of Sorrow and Hope.

(22)

Wednesday

March 30

The New Deal and World War II in Pennsylvania.

Cohen and Filippelli, Times of Sorrow and Hope.

Unit 9 -- War Comes to America

(23)

Monday

April 4

Poster for WPA production of Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here, 1936 or 1937

FDR, Warm Springs, Georgia, April 4, 1939

 

FDR, the Quarantine Speech. October 5, 1937.

FDR, the Arsenal of Democracy. Fireside Chat, December 29, 1940.

Texts are at American Presidency project and in the readings and resources folder on Angel.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 13, “The Gathering Storm” (381-425).

(24)

Wednesday

April 6

 

FDR, Annual Message to Congress (State of the Union Address), January 6, 1941 -- The Four Freedoms Speech.

Laura Crowell, "The Building of the 'Four Freedoms' Speech," Speech Monographs 22 (1955): 266-283.

Norman Rockwell "Four Freedoms" paintings at the National Archives.

FDR, the Third Inaugural Address, January 20, 1941.

FDR, Freedom of the Seas. September 11, 1941.

FDR texts at American Presidency project.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 14, “The Agony of Neutrality” (426-464); chapter 15, “To the Brink” (465-515).

(25)

Monday

April 11

USS Shaw exploding, Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

 

FDR, War Message, December 8, 1941.

FDR, Fireside Chat on the war, December 9, 1941.

Texts at American Presidency project.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 16, “War in the Pacific” (516-564).

(26)

Wednesday

April 13

 

Casablanca. [Please see the film on your own before coming to class].

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 17, “Unready Ally, Uneasy Alliance” (565-614); chapter 18, “The War of Machines” (615-668).

(27)

Monday

April 18

Keep Mum: The World Has Ears

 

FDR, Fireside Chat on the War, February 23, 1942.

Text at American Presidency project.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 19, “The Struggle for a Second Front” (669-708); chapter 20, “The Battle for Northwest Europe” (709-745).

(28)

Wednesday

April 20

 

FDR, Fireside Chat, June 5, 1944.

FDR, D-Day Prayer, June 6, 1944.

Texts at American Presidency project.

George S. Patton, speech to soldiers before D-Day, May 17, 1944. In Angel readings and resources folder.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 21, “The Cauldron of the Home Front” (746-797).

(29)

Monday

April 25

Winston Churchill, FDR, and Stalin at the Yalta Conference, February 1945

 

 

FDR, the Teamsters Speech, September 23, 1944.

FDR, the Fourth Inaugural Address, Washington, DC, January 20, 1945.

Texts at American Presidency project.

(30)

Wednesday

April 27

FDR, “Last Speech,” prepared for delivery April 13, 1945.

Thomas W. Benson, “Inaugurating Peace: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Last Speech,” Speech Monographs 36 (1969): 138-147.

Harry Truman, Statement on the A-Bomb, August 6, 1945.

Harry Truman, Radio Address, September 1, 1945.

FDR and Truman texts at American Presidency project.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 22, “Endgame” (798-851); “Epilogue: The World the War Made” (852-858).

Paper 2

Friday

April 29

Paper #2 due. 8-10 pages. Rhetorical analysis. Choose one of the following topics and write a detailed critical description, analysis, and interpretation of the text(s). You are encouraged to consult (and cite) a variety of journalistic and academic sources, though the core of your paper should be a detailed analysis and interpretation of the rhetoric of the text itself. For example, you might look at contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts, or histories of the era, to establish the situation. You might consult academic books and journals for critical analysis with which you might find yourself agreeing or disagreeing.

(1) Representations of race and/or gender in selected photographs from Times of Sorrrow and Hope.

(2) The rhetoric of choice and fate in James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934); Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (1930); or Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (1939).

(3) Depictions of the enemy and our allies in one of the films from the Why We Fight series.

(4) FDR Fireside Chat, September 8, 1943.

(5) The rhetoric of leadership and duty in John Ford's film They Were Expendable (1945).

(6) or, any one of the topics for paper #1 that you did not choose for that assignment.

Your paper is due in my mailbox in Sparks Building by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29.

 

May 2-6 FINAL EXAMINATIONS

Final Exam

 

Required Textbooks

Some of the course readings will be available on Angel lessons folders. The other primary texts, both books and two DVDs, are available for purchase.

Casablanca . DVD. Warner Home Video. ASIN: B00009W0WM.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . DVD. Columbia/TriStar. ASIN: B00003L9CJ

John Steinbeck. In Dubious Battle. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White. You Have Seen Their Faces . University of Georgia Press , 1995. ISBN: 082031692X

Allen Cohen and Ronald Filippelli. Times of Sorrow and Hope . Penn State University Press, 2003. ISBN: 0271022523

James M. Cain. Double Indemnity . New York : Vintage, 1992. ISBN: 0679723226

David M. Kennedy. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 . New York : Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0195144031.

Thornton Wilder. Our Town . Harper Collins, 1998. ISBN: 0060929847

Internet Resources

Some of the readings, such as the speeches of FDR, will be made available as electronic texts on the course Angel site.

Music and recorded speeches from 1932 to 1945 at the Penn State Digital Music Library (accessible only to Penn State users).

The American Presidency Project, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Searchable database of presidential documents, including all of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's official papers.

The American Memory project at the Library of Congress. Access to thousands of significant American documents, including digital copies of photographs from the FSA-OWI photography projects, posters, and related materials.

FSA-OWI photographs at the Library of Congress

Voices from the Dust Bowl at the Library of Congress.

The New Deal Network is a project of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Teachers College, Columbia University.

ANGEL homepage at Penn State. Course documents and message boards.

Google search page.

American Rhetoric online speech bank.

PBS Great American Speeches archive.

Taylor and Francis journal page -- access to current journals in communication.

Links to journals in rhetoric

National Communication Association -- the national academic association for academics in communication studies.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

U. S. National Archives and Records Administration. Access to government archives and presidential libraries.

Douglass: Archives of American Public Address at Northwestern University.

A number of excellent resources may be found in the electronic databases available on-line at the Penn State University Libraries; go to http://www.lias.psu.edu -- click on E-RESOURCE LIST and search the databases of Academic Ideal, Lexis-Nexis, America: History and Life; Communication and Mass Media Index; JSTOR; MetaPress; MUSE; New York Times Historical; Periodicals Contents; ProQuest -- among others.

To read some of the Internet and Angel files, you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You may download this software free at

 

Academic Integrity


All work submitted for the course is assumed to be your own unless otherwise indicated. Violations of this standard will result in failure of the assignment and possibly in failure of the course or sanctions by University discipliinary authorities. You may of course discuss your work with other students, but all work that is quoted or paraphrased should be clearly identified. Do not submit for this course work that you have also submitted or plan to submit for other courses. Please consult me if you are in doubt about how to handle these issues.


The College of Liberal Arts policy states that, "Penn State defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. All students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts (Faculty Senate Policy 49-20). Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated in this course. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions and will be reported to the University's Judicial Affairs office for possible further disciplinary sanction."


Grades

 
Grades will be based on

How Penn State calculates grade equivalents:

Quality of Performance   Grade Grade-Point Equivalent
Excellent Exceptional achievement A
A-
B+
4.00
3.67
3.33
Good Extensive achievement B
B-
C+
3.00
2.67
2.33
Satisfactory Acceptable achievement C 2.00
Poor Minimal achievement D 1.00
Failure Inadequate achievement F 0.00
Academic dishonesty   XF 0.00

 

Papers

Here are some general guidelines for your papers:

 

Attendance

 


Attendance is expected. Readings are due on the date indicated in the syllabus, and students are expected to be ready to discuss them. Please bring to class the assigned readings for the day. Failure to attend will affect final grades. This class is based on a model of cooperation, participation, and active learning. Your work is to learn more about rhetoric and rhetorical criticism, and also to teach others about these subjects through your participation in discussion of course readings and film viewings.

The College of the Liberal Arts policy: "It is the policy of the University that class attendance by students be encouraged and that all instructors organize and conduct their courses with this policy in mind. A student should attend every class for which the student is scheduled and should be held responsible for all work covered in the courses taken. In each case, the instructor should decide when the class absence constitutes a danger to the student's scholastic attainment and should make this fact known to the student at once. A student whose irregular attendance causes him or her, in the judgment of the instructor, to become deficient scholastically, may run the risk of receiving a failing grade or receiving a lower grade than the student might have secured had the student been in regular attendance."

 

Angel

MESSAGE BOARDS:
In order to extend class discussion beyond the Monday and Wednesday meetings and to provide an opportunity for each student to participate fully in the discussion, each student is assigned to contribute to an on-line class discussion at least twice each week. These contributions will be counted as part of the class participation grade. At a minimum, each student should send a well considered contribution to the class by Sunday and Tuesday evenings, commenting on the readings that will be discussed in class on the next day. For full credit, these commentaries should be submitted BEFORE the class in which the readings are to be discussed. An excellent contribution would be 200-250 words, stating one or more questions or observations about the text and, ideally, citing one or more examples from the text for analysis. Additional comments are welcome, and you are invited to respond to the notes of other students in a spirit of cooperative inquiry.

Send your notes to the message boards on the Angel lesson pages for the course.

ANGEL also contains a number of other resources for the course, including some of the texts assigned in the syllabus, quizzes, and drop boxes for papers.

Access


 "The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admissions, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. The Pennsylvania State University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status." Penn State University Affirmative Action Office.

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