Pennsylvania State University
Communication Arts & Sciences 500
Fall 2014

Monday 2:30 - 5:30 p.m.
309 Sparks Building

Professor Thomas W. Benson
216 Sparks Building

Office Hours: (to be announced-in any case, also by appointment)


Seminar in Public Address

American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era, 1932-1945

This seminar examines American political and cultural rhetoric of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the World War II eras. The period saw fundamental changes in American government and public life, in popular and public culture, and in the role of the United States in the world. We will explore in some detail the political rhetoric of the time, with a special focus on the rhetorical presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We will also examine the rhetoric of a variety of cultural forms that created ways of coming to terms with, or resisting, the changes at work in society. We will examine popular film, both fiction and documenetary, novels, theatre, photography, and other forms.

Students in the seminar will achieve sufficient mastery of the rhetoric of this rich period to undertake further work in the area on their own, commencing with a major seminar paper on some aspect of the rhetoric of the time.

Additionally, it is hoped that graduate students will develop a sense of how the approach employed here, of examining the rhetoric of a period through its political and cultural rhetorics, might be put to use in their own teaching and research in this or other periods and places.



The Coming of the New Deal


(1) Monday, August 25



White billboard

Margaret Bourke-White, 1937



Introduction: the rhetoric of public address and popular culture in the Great Depression and World War II.


(2) Monday, September 1

Labor Day Dubois PA 1940

Labor Day Parade, DuBois, Pennsylvania, 1940. FSA collection.


Labor Day -- no classes -- but there is plenty of reading to keep us busy in the two-week gap, with participation in the ANGEL discussion forum, before we meet again in September 8.


(3) Monday, September 8

FDR in Topeka

FDR at microphones

FDR portrait

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, presidential portrait



Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew (1946).

FDR, "The Forgotten Man," radio address, April 7, 1932.

FDR, Commonwealth Club Address, San Francisco, September 23, 1932.

FDR, First Inaugural Address, Washington, D.C., March 4, 1933.

FDR, First Fireside Chat, March 12, 1933.

FDR, Second Fireside Chat, May 7, 1933.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, prologue and chapters 1 - 5.

Thomas W. Benson, "Introduction: American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era"; Vannessa B. Beasley and Deborah Smith-Howell, "No Ordinary Rhetorical President: FDR's Speechmaking and Leadership, 1933-1945"; Suzanne M. Daughton, "FDR as Family Doctor: Medical Metaphors and the Role of the Physician in the Fireside Chats"; Davis W. Houck and Mihaela Nocasian, "Dictator, Savior, and the Return of Confidence: Text, Context, and Reception in FDR's First Inaugural Address," in Benson, ed., American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era, 1932-1945" (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2006). [uncorrected page proofs in PDF available on ANGEL].

Browse the Quarterly Journal of Speech, 1932, 1933.

Recommended: Jeffrey Tulis, The Rhetorical Presidency; Herbert A. Wichelns, "The Literary Criticism of Oratory"; Davis Houck, FDR and Fear Itself: The First Inaugural Address; Amos Kiewe, FDR's First Fireside Chat: Public Confidence and the Banking Crisis; Malcolm Cowley, Exile's Return; The Dream of the Golden Mountains: Remembering the 1930s; Robert Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins; Ann George and Jack Selzer, Kenneth Burke in the 1930s; Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933; The Coming of the New Deal: 1933-1935; The Politics of Upheaval: 1935-1936; Edmund Wilson, American Earthquake.



In Dubious Battle


(4) Monday, September 15
In Dubious Battle Rothstein Apple Picker Vachon migrant father

John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle.

Browse QJS, 1934.


Arthur Rothstein, Apple picker in orchard. Camden County, New Jersey. October 1938. FSA-OWI Collection, Library of Congress.

John Vachon, Migrant father and sons living in back of truck in fruit pickers camp. Berrien County, Michigan. The two older boys work with their father picking cherries. July 1940.

Recommended: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; Of Mice and Men; Harvest Gypsies; Kenneth Burke, Counter-Statement; Attitudes toward History; A Grammar of Motives; A Rhetoric of Motives; Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction; The Company We Keep; Upton Sinclair, The Jungle.

Films: Grapes of Wrath (1940); How Green Was My Valley; Matewan (1987); Salt of the Earth; Harvest of Shame; O Brother Where Art Thou; I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang; Sullivan's Travels; Scarface (1932); A Farewell to Arms (1932); Gold Diggers of 1933; 42nd Street; Duck Soup; Flying Down to Rio; The Thin Man; The Man Who Knew Too Much; Strike; The Battleship Potemkin; Ten Days That Shook the World.


Voices of Opposition and Dissent; The 1936 Campaign


(5) Monday, September 22

Father Coughlin

Father Charles Coughlin

Huey Long

Huey Long

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover

Clifford Odets

John L. Lewis


Martin Dies

Martin Dies, chair of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1938-1945

John L. Lewis

sitdown strike

The sit-down strike, 1937



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 Father Coughlin on You Tube.

Huey Long, "Sharing Our Wealth," radio address, Washington, D.C., January 19, 1935. You Tube excerpt. Print a copy of the text from the Angel readings and resources folder.

Herbert H. Hoover, "The Crisis to Free Men," Republican National Convention, June 10, 1936. See excerpt of Hoover campaign speech from 1932 at You Tube.

John L. Lewis, "The Rights of Labor," radio address, Washington, D.C., September 3, 1937. See Lewis on You Tube here.

Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty.

Richard J. Jensen, "The Thundering Voice of John L. Lewis"; Ronald H. Carpenter, "Father Charles E. Coughlin: Delivery, Style in Discourse, and Opinion Leadership"; Robert S. Iltis, "Reconsidering the Demagoguery of Huey Long," in Benson, ed., American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era.

Browse QJS, 1935.

Recommended: Mary Stuckey, The Good Neighbor: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Rhetoric of American Power (2013); Mary Stuckey, "FDR, the Rhetoric of Vision, and the Creation of a National Synoptic State," QJS 98 (2012): 297-319; Harold Clurman, The Fervent Years; Alan Brinkley, Voices of Protest; Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal (2010); Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men; Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here (1935); Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (2004); Albert O. Hirschman, The Rhetoric of Reaction:Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy; Michael Denning, The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (1997); Mark Fearnow, The American Stage and the Great Depression: A Cultural History of the Grotesque (1997); Mordecai Gorelik, New Theatres for Old.

Films: Cradle Will Rock (2000); Golden Boy; Paradise Lost (1971); The 39 Steps; Top Hat; A Night at the Opera; Triumph of the Will; The Informer; The Lives of a Bengal Lancer; Modern Times; My Man Godfrey; Black Fury (1935); The Molly Maguires.

(6) Monday, September 29
FDR train platform 1934


FDR, "Acceptance Speech for the Renomination for the Presidency," Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, June 27, 1936.

FDR, remarks at Hayfield, Minnesota, 9 October 1936

FDR, address at Fort Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 11 October 1936.

FDR, Address at Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, October 29, 1936.

FDR, Address in Madison Square Garden, New York, October 31, 1936. Also, hear an excerpt on You Tube.

FDR, The Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937.

Browse QJS, 1936.

Recommended: Studs Terkel, Hard Times.

Films: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; The Awful Truth; La Grande Illusion; Black Legion.

Music: "Happy Days Are Here Again"; "We're In the Money"; "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"



Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Documentary in Thirties America


(7) Monday, October 6

Evans landowner

Walker Evans. "Landowner in Moundsville, Alabama." August 1936. FSA-OWI collection, Library of Congress.



James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Browse QJS, 1937.

Recommended: James Agee, A Death in the Family; William Stott, Documentary Expression and Thirties America (1986); John Louis Lucaites, Visualizing "The People": Individualism vs. Collectivism in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," Quarterly Journal of Speech 83 (1997); Thomas W. Benson & Carolyn Anderson, "Justifying Curiosity: Primate," in Benson & Anderson, Reality Fictions: The Films of Frederick Wiseman, 2nd ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002); George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London; Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell, Homage to Catalonia; Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives; Lorena Hickock, One Third of a Nation: Lorena Hickock Reports on the Great Depression; Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor [1861-2](selections reprint New York: Penguin, 1985); Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz; Hard Times; Bleak House; Edgar Allen Poe, "The Man of the Crowd"; Henry James, The Princess Casamassima; Walter Benjamin,The Arcades Project, Jack London, The People of the Abyss (1903); Dana Brand, The Spectator and the City in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (1991); Image Ethics: The Moral Rights of Subjects in Photographs, Film, and Television, ed. Larry Gross, John Stuart Katz, and Jay Ruby (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988); Carlo Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli; Walker Evans, American Photographs; Robert Frank, The Americans.

Films: The African Queen; The Night of the Hunter; White Mane; The Quiet One; P. J. O'Connell, Visiting With Darlene (WPSU-TV, Penn State).

Music: Aaron Copland, The Tender Land; suggested by James Agee: Sleepy John Estes, Married Woman Blues; Salty Dog Sam, New Salty Dog and Slow Mama Slow; Mitchell's Christian Singers, Who Was John and My Poor Mother Died Ashouting.


Native Son; Civil Rights; Reunion


(8) Monday, October 13

Wolcott colored entrance

Marion Post Wolcott, "Negro Going in Colored Entrance of Movie House on Saturday Afternoon," Bellzoni, Mississippi Delta, Mississippi. 1939. FSA-OWI collection, Library of Congress.



Richard Wright, Native Son.

Browse QJS, 1938.

Recommended: Richard Wright, Black Boy; 12 Million Black Voices; Paul Robeson Speaks, ed. Philip S. Foner; Paul Robeson, Here I Stand; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Dust Tracks on a Road (1942); Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns; Richard H. Crossman, ed., The God That Failed; Robin D. G. Kelley, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression; Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks; Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment;Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy; Albert Camus, The Stranger; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, Clarence Darrow, speech to the Court in the case of Leopold and Loeb; David Lewis, The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader; Watson, The Harlem Renaissance; Nathan Irvin Huggins, Harlem Renaissance; Alain Locke, The New Negro: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance.

Films: Robin Hood; Bringing Up Baby; Boys Town; You Can't Take It With You; Pygmalion; The Dawn Patrol; Alexander Nevsky.

Music: Duke Ellington, "Black, Brown, and Beige."


(9) Monday, October 20

Collins Oswego monument

Marjory Collins, "Oswego, New York. A park scene with a Civil War monument." FSA-OWI Collection, Library of Congress. June 1943.


Evans Vicksurg monument

Walker Evans, "Civil War Monument, Vicksburg, Mississippi." March 1936. FSA-OWI Collection, Library of Congress.


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.

Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke White, You Have Seen Their Faces.

Film of Gettysburg reunions in excerpt from Ken Burns, Civil War.

Marian Anderson at Lincoln Memorial (1939); You Tube; Harold Ickes speech at the event Harold Ickes.Harold Ickes 1939

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

Abraham Lincoln, "Gettysburg Address."

Browse QJS, 1939.

Recommended: Patricia Sullivan, Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era (1996); John Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South (1994); Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (2013); Hortense Powdermaker, After Freedom; Nan Woodruff, American Congo: The African American Freedom Struggle in the Delta; W. J. Cash, The Mind of the South; John Dollard, Caste and Class in a Southern Town; C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow; John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans; W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk.

Films: Gone With the Wind; The Wizard of Oz; Goodbye Mr. Chips; Gunga Din; Ninotchka; The Rules of the Game.

Music: Billie Holiday, "Strange Fruit" (1939).


Double Indemnity


(10) Monday, October 27
Double Indemnity


James M. Cain, Double Indemnity.

Film: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (see outside of class).

Browse QJS, 1940.

Recommended: James M. Cain, The Postman Always Rings Twice; crime novels of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler; Stanley Cavell, Pursuits of Happiness.

Films: Double Indemnity; Rebecca; Pinocchio; Philadelphia Story; The Great Dictator; Fantasia; His Girl Friday; Foreign Correspondent; Night Train to Munich; Abe Lincoln in Illinois.


Seminar Paper - First Draft


(11) Monday, November 3

Delano expert typist

Jack Delano, "Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin. To type the complex statistical tables accurately, there is a specially trained staff of expert typists." April 1942. FSA-OWI Collection, Library of Congress.

The River

frame from The River.


First draft of seminar paper due. Peer editorial review begins.

Films: The River; The Plow That Broke the Plains (in class).

Browse QJS, 1941.



The FSA-OWI Photographs: Times of Sorrow and Hope in Pennsylvania


(12) Monday, November 10
Times of Sorrow and Hope


Cohen and Filippelli, Times of Sorrow and Hope.

Explore FSA-OWI photographs on Library of Congress web site; choose a photograph to share.

See also photogrammar

Film: The City (see outside of class).

Martin Medhurst & Thomas W. Benson, “The City: The Rhetoric of Rhythm,” Communication Monographs 48 (1981): 54-73.

Cara Finnegan, "FSA Photography and New Deal Visual Culture," in Benson, ed., American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era, 1932-1945.

Browse QJS, 1942.

Recommended: Cara Finnegan, Picturing Poverty.

Films: Citizen Kane; The Maltese Falcon; How Green Was My Valley; Suspicion; Here Comes Mr. Jordan; Dumbo; High Sierra; Sergeant York; This Gun for Hire; The Palm Beach Story; Random Haravest; Pride of the Yankees; Went the Day Well?; The Talk of the Town.



War Comes to America


(13) Monday, November 17

Palmer Arsenal posters

Alfred T. Palmer, "Four Freedoms and Arsenal of Democracy posters. All set but for the overhead lighting. This 15 x 30 foot panel and a second of life size entitled the Four Freedoms were displayed in Defense Square, Washington for a month beginning November 7, 1941. The panels, entitled The Four Freedoms and Arsenal of Deomocracy, were designed for the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) by Jean Carlu, eminent poster artist. They were shown first in New York and after the Washington showing went on a tour of many large cities throughout the country." FSA-OWI Collection, Library of Congress. 1941-1942.



FDR, The Quarantine Speech, October 5, 1937.

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

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, War Message, December 8, 1941. Film on You Tube.

Hermann G. Stelzner, “‘War Message,’ December 8, 1941: An Approach to Language,” Speech Monographs 33 (1966): 419-437.

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

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

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapters 14-20.

FILM: Casablanca (see outside of class)

Charles Lindbergh, speech at Des Moines, September 3, 1941 (and at You Tube )

Browse QJS, 1943-1944.

Recommended: David Kaiser, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation Into War (2014); Nigel Hamilton, The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942 (2014); Susan Dunn, 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler--the Election amid the Storm (Yale University Press, 2013); John Morton Blum, V Was for Victory.

Films: Over the next three weeks or so, make time to see all of the OWI Why We Fight series: Prelude to War; The Nazis Strike; Divide & Conquer; Battle of Britain; Battle of Russia; Battle of China; War Comes to America; The Negro Soldier. You might also enjoy Grand Illusion; Foreign Correspondent; Saboteur; The 39 Steps; Lifeboat, The Lady Vanishes; Black Legion; Triumph of the Will; Olympia; Listen to Britain; Desert Victory; Fires Were Started; Watch on the Rhine; In Which We Serve; Mrs. Miniver; They Were Expendable.



Thanksgiving break - November 24-28

Rockwell freedom from want


(14) Monday, December 1

FDR and Fala

Keep Mum

Remember Dec 7


FDR, Fireside Chat, June 5, 1944.

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

George S. Patton, speech to soldiers before D-Day, May 17, 1944. Patton on You Tube.

FDR, the Teamsters Speech, September 23, 1944.

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

FDR, Address to Congress on the Yalta Conference, March 1, 1945.

Edward R. Murrow, "For Most of It I Have No Words" Buchenwald: April 15, 1945. CBS Radio Broadcast, April 15, 1945.

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.

James Agee, "A Soldier Died Today," Time, April 23, 1945.

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

Harry Truman, Radio Address, September 1, 1945.

Texts at ANGEL site. FDR funeral on You Tube.

Bob Dylan sings Woody Guthrie's "Dear Mrs. Roosevelt" on You Tube.

Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, chapter 21, “The Cauldron of the Home Front” (746-797); chapter 22, “Endgame” (798-851); “Epilogue: The World the War Made” (852-858).

Browse QJS, 1945.

Recommended: Primo Levi, If This Is a Man; John Hersey, Hiroshima.

Films: Ken Burns, The War (2007); Saving Private Ryan (1998); Band of Brothers (2001); The Pacific (2010); Mrs. Miniver (1942); John Ford, Battle of Midway (1942); John Huston, The Battle of San Pietro (1945); Steven Spielberg, Empire of the Sun (1987); and Schindler's List (1993); Shadow of a Doubt; The Ox-Bow Incident; For Whom the Bell Tolls; Lassie Come Home; Watch on the Rhine; Five Graves to Cairo; To Have and Have Not; Going My Way; Lifeboat; A Canterbury Tale; Hail the Conquering Hero; Henry V; The Fighting Seabees; Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo; National Velvet; The Lost Weekend; Spellbound; Rome, Open City; Brief Encounter; Anchors Aweigh; I Know Where I'm Going; The Best Years of Our Lives; Great Expectations; Notorious; The Killers; A Matter of Life and Death; The Big Sleep; The Blue Dahlia, Beauty and the Beast; My Darling Clementine; It's a Wonderful Life; Paisan; Shoeshine.


(15) Monday, December 8

FDR memorial

FDR and Fala. FDR Memorial, Washington, D. C.


Seminar paper paper reports and discussion.


Monday, December 15

The City

still from The City (1939)


First day of final examinations: final draft of seminar paper due.



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

Frances Perkins. The Roosevelt I Knew. [1946]. reprint, Penguin, 2011. 978-0143106418 .

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

Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty and Other Plays. Perseus. ISBN: 9780802132208

James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.[1941]. Mariner Books, 2001. 978-0618127498.

Richard Wright, Native Son. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2005. 978-0060929800.

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

Supplemental Reading, Viewing, Listening

The required reading schedule for this seminar is already pretty strenuous, but I hope participants will take the opportunity of this intensive study of the New Deal era to read widely in and about the period, to watch movies from and about the period, and to listen to some of the music of the period.

Music: Seek out jazz, blues, popular, and folk - this is the era of Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Woody Guthrie. And listen also to American classical music of the period - Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Samuel Barber, and others. And this is just a start.

Film: Films from the Great Depression and World War II are widely available on streaming video services and I hope you will adopt them as your entertainment for the duration--from gangster to film noir, the western, the musical, war films, newsreels, documentary, John Ford, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, and on and on--this is a period of great productivity and achievement in the studio motion picture.

Reading: The New Deal era is the focus of an enormous body of historical writing that continues to produce new and interesting accounts--dip into it as you can, and as it is relevant to your own seminar project. The literature of the era is also enormously rich--literary fiction, proletarian fiction, popular fiction, documentary and reportage, and oral histories (some of them the work of WPA artists at the time).

Public Address: And of course the period is rich in controversy and public discussion.

And then of course: Consider the international rhetoric of the era--Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and so on, and all the attendant cultural and historical currents bearing on a world economy in crisis and a world at war. And of course the antecedents of the New Deal era and its legacy, cultural, historical, and rhetorical.


Internet Resources

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

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

Photogrammar for exploring the FSA-OWI photographs

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.

Manufacturing Memory: American Popular Music in the 1930s at the University of Virginia -- an online jukebox.

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

Google search page.

American Rhetoric online speech bank.

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.

Miller Center, University of Virginia, Presidential Speech Archive -- texts and, in many cases, audio and video.

A number of excellent resources may be found in the electronic databases available on-line at the Penn State University Libraries; 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.

Seminar Papers

Seminar participants are asked to prepare a major seminar paper over the course of the semester--a chapter or article length manuscript presenting a case study as a critical inquiry from a rhetorical perspective on a single (or limited group of) text. Though the paper should focus largely on the text at hand as the problem for inquiry, it is also expected that there will be sufficient contextual development to make a genuinely rhetorical understanding possible. Hence, you will attempt, depending on the questions you develop as you work on the material, to put your paper in the context of the relevant rhetorical and historical scholarship and the relevant audience and author contexts. If possible and pertinent, you should attempt to discover archival and other related primary materials.

For this project, I recommend following the style guidelines of the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style -- endnote, humanities. In addition to endnotes, please also include a bibliography.

paper deadlines:

September 8-10 -- By this time you should have an idea of what you would like to write about (though this may change as you work forward). Please submit a one-page "proposal" in which you identify the case/text you want to write about, identify the sorts of questions you think the case raises for rhetorical inquiry, identify the bibliographic sources you have so far discovered, and be sure to indicate precisely the text in question and your access to it. Please do talk with the professor or correspond by email if you have questions about your project or any aspect of the seminar.

November 3 -- First draft of paper due. A complete and finished version of the paper, suitable for formal review. Include title page, abstract, paper, endnotes if any, and bibliography.

November 8 - December 1 -- Editorial reviews of first draft. Each student will read and respond in writing to several other student papers with suggestions for revisions.

December 8 -- Final oral reports on seminar papers in class.

December 15 -- Seminar paper due.


Cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers are wonderful technologies and highly useful for researching databases, reading research articles and books, and watching films; but in a class discussion these devices are often distracting to you, your fellow students, and the professor; please do NOT turn them on during class unless we have a collective need engage the technologies. (This is open to discussion as the semester begins).

On-line discussion

The primary discussions in this seminar will be conducted face-to-face, on Monday afternoons, and throughout the rest of the week on the ANGEL message boards (or we may decide to migrate the discussion forum to a blog). Although it is hoped that participation will be intense and ongoing, at least the following deadlines must be met: A contribution to discussion 24 hours before each class meeting, in which you offer some questions about the reading assignment for the next class (with supporting citations, thoughts, or suggestions) for possible discussion in class or on-line. You are also asked to participate in ongoing followup on-line conversations that extend some aspect of class discussion or raise an issue that did not make it into the discussion. In your contributions, please try to frame a proposition or question for discussion, relate it to some part of the readings, quote or paraphrase the relevant passage in the reading (including a page reference), and sketch a reasoned discussion-opener. In these conversations, your opinions are important, but we should also work beyond mere clash (or coincidence) of opinion to mutual enlightenment and a shared willingness to learn new ways of thinking.

Academic Integrity

Submission of all written work in this course is taken to imply that the work is your own unless otherwise indicated. Please be careful to document the work of others where appropriate. Under no circumstances submit for credit in this course any work that has been submitted in other courses. In selecting a text for critical analysis for your seminar paper, do not write about a text that is part of the syllabus of other courses you have taken without special permission.


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Note to students with disabilities: Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services.  For further information regarding policies, rights and responsibilities please visit the Office for Disability Services (ODS). Instructors should be notified as early in the semester as possible regarding the need for reasonable accommodations.