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Upcoming RHCS Spring 2022 Courses 

RHCS 100-01: Public Speaking (T/R) 9:00-10:15 AM

RHCS 100-02: Public Speaking (T/R) 10:30-11:45 AM

RHCS 103-01: Rhetorical Theory (M/W) 12:00-1:15 PM

RHCS 103-02: Rhetorical Theory M/W) 1:30-2:45 PM

RHCS 105-01: Media, Culture and Identity (T/R) 12:00-1:15 PM

RHCS 105-02:  Media, Culture and Identity (T/R) 1:30- 2:45 PM

RHCS 295: Qualitative Methods for Media Studies (T) 3:00-5:45 PM

RHCS 345: Data and Society  (M/W) 1:30-2:45 PM

RHCS 412-01 ST: Rhetoric and Terrorism (T/R) 10:30-11:45 AM

RHCS 412-02 ST: Disrupting School to Prison (M/W) 3:00-4:15 PM

RHCS 412-03 ST: Digital Humanities Workshop (M) 4:30-7:15 PM

RHCS 490-01 Senior Capstone (M/W) 10:30-11:45 AM

RHCS 490-02 Senior Capstone (M/W) 12:00-1:15 PM 


Course Descriptions

RHCS 295: Qualitative Methods for Media Studies — Dr. Cho

This course introduces students to qualitative ways of knowledge-building and teaches students how to design and conduct qualitative research in media and communication contexts. We will embark on a semester-long journey through the research process, from idea conception to literature review, formulating a research question, determining the research methodology and method(s), organizing and analyzing data, interpreting findings, and finally, writing up conclusions. The course takes a hands-on approach to understanding and learning qualitative methods, including ethnography, interviews, focus groups, content analysis, and research in digital spaces. Throughout the semester, we will discuss critical themes such as the role of ethics, reflexivity, positionality, and reciprocity in research.

Given the interactive nature of our learning, this course requires a significant time commitment outside of the classroom. We will partner with a film production company to evaluate the role of narrative film as an educational tool. Our partnership will take us “into the field” to put our qualitative methods skills to use and may require students to be available at specific times outside of our designated class time.


RHCS 412-01 ST: “Rhetoric and Terrorism” — Dr. Achter 

For most of your lives, the United States has been at war, and the many resources given and lost to war are still adding up. Whether human and physical, financial, political, or moral, war’s high costs call for any state that would wage one to define it, to explain its benefits, and to justify it. As students and scholarly critics of communication it is our job to examine war rhetoric in many forms in order to draw informed conclusions about how American military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere have been talked and written about.

The US war on terrorism is a defining act of our era. The cultural critic James der Derian argues that Americans today are part of a “Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment-Network” (MIME-NET). Der Derian’s concept is a reference to what President Dwight Eisenhower famously called the “military industrial complex.” Whereas in prior wars ordinary citizens had been hired away from their usual work to make stuff for the war effort, World War II saw the establishment of a permanent industry for war materials, from bombs to food to kevlar—a military industrial complex that made going to war profitable and easier and raised new, concerning ethical issues. MIME-NET describes the economic and social conditions that influence the way war rhetoric is taken up and circulated in American culture. It is in many ways a machine that creates revenue opportunities for many industries (weapons, oil, media itself) and intensifies the circulation of war’s signs and symbols on American screens. Media organizations rely on violence and drama to generate and profits, and war stories provide it. MIME-NET is thus a new way of expressing the same warning about for-profit wars that Eisenhower sounded in 1960. How can we temper the commercial motive for going to war? 

To study war rhetoric today we must also examine how it can be wielded at home. Figures like Donald Trump sound a lot like politicians already at war: they create enemies, rely on appeals to fear and violence, and attempt to shut down discussion with those who disagree. Whether the topic is terrorists abroad or minority groups at home, the enemies in American war rhetoric are often brown or black, and demagogues lead us to believe that an entire group of people is suspect, all of which raises a series of issues we must try to understand. Why is it difficult, for example, to call racists like Dylann Roof “terrorists?” What is a terrorist?

  1. How has MIME-NET used the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as a vehicle for story lines and programming choices? 
  2. Why has media coverage and political rhetoric about terrorism so often relied on racist stereotypes about the Middle East and Middle Easterners? Where are such stereotypes being challenged?3) How does war rhetoric make war attractive to Americans?
  3. How are media organizations in the Middle East cultivating new audiences and new subjectivities?
  4. How are the bodies of warriors, both terrorists and American troops, made and unmade as rhetorical subjects?

Over the course of the semester, we’ll attempt to answer these questions by reading scholarly literature about many concepts, including militainment, Orientalism, and the rhetorical construction of dominant feelings—anxiety, melancholy and resentment—that perpetuate war.


RHCS 412-02 ST: “Disrupting School to Prison” — Dr. Gale

The disruption of schools pipelining students to prisons involves a change in our educational system, change in the expectations we set on our children, and efforts in reforming the idea of prisons in our communities. Most of these students in prison are from low income, minority communities. The schools in these areas are underfunded and lack care and attention from our state and local governments. Students are growing up with schools that make education a joke. It is not about their capability but rather their available resources and the fact that their environment is teaching them that they aren’t “worth it.” There are millions of stories out there of students who had futures full of opportunities, and yet their path somehow still leads them to prison. Because of the lack of quality education, these students aren’t able to see their potential and are not properly equipped to enter environments that were essentially not built for them. 

This pipeline has been supported long enough by this country’s institutional racism and cycle of systemic inequity. I believe it’s time to start breaking down this pipeline. I have always been interested in our countries unjust criminal system and mass incarceration. Many people in my own family have gone through our countries prison’s system and I have seen how it has affected their lives. I want to help be part of a solution. I want to listen to the stories of these young adults who have been forced into our nation’s prison cycle. I want to understand and learn more about the deep-rooted corruption in our “picture perfect” government. While learning and absorbing all that this journey has to offer, I hope to become a voice for those who are not able to speak. 

Please note: Registration for this course requires permission of the professor. Please contact Professor Gale,, for approval.


RHCS 412-03 ST: “Digital Humanities Workshop” — Dr. Tilton

The Digital Humanities Workshop is a space where we experiment, design, and create with the aim of developing a collaborative, digital humanities project for the public. Participants in the course work together to conceptualize and create a DH project that facilitates the goals of the partner organization(s). The course will focus on:

  • Identifying project goals and audiences, with attention to best practices from the public humanities 
  • Creating, aggregating, and organizing the necessary data 
  • Learning about and applying the appropriate DH methods (ex. spatial analysis or text analysis)
  • Building the project using the appropriate technologies
  • Developing a communication strategy to share the project with appropriate audiences 
By the end of the course, the project team will build an initial version of the project. 

The partner organization for 2021-2022 is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). We will be working with Shannon Perich, Curator of the Photographic History Collection.