This course revives the study of the ancient art of persuasion (or rhetoric) for the twenty-first century, educating students in the skills necessary to become more persuasive communicators in a range of contexts, including legal. Beginning with a study of the fundamental elements of ancient rhetoric as set out by Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian, we will examine some of the most famous examples of persuasive speech from the ancient world, including the appeal to Achilles in Homer’s Iliad, Socrates' Apology, and the speeches of Cicero. We will then apply our knowledge of rhetorical style to an analysis of famous examples of persuasive discourse and writing from the modern era, such as Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter from Birmingham Jail", John F. Kennedy's "Inaugural Address" and the speeches of Winston Churchill, Sir Robert Menzies and Paul Keating. The course will examine the role of persuasion in modern politics, law, advertising and marketing and there will be opportunities for students to practise their skills in persuasive writing and discourse. Students will have opportunities to analyse the rhetorical techniques deployed in legal judgments and guest lecturers will specifically address the art of persuasion in the legal context, particularly with respect to advocacy in court.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- formulate structured, persuasive, clear and fluent forms of spoken discourse in general, and legal discourse in particular;
- construct and recognize logical, reasoned legal arguments in written discourse;
- critically analyse different methods of persuasion, including media, advertising, political and legal discourse;
- apply a high level of precision and style in oral and written legal communication and reflect on its effectiveness in different contexts;
- evaluate the role of rhetoric in ancient Greece and Rome and the influence of ancient rhetoric on modern discourse.
Classes may be offered in non-standard sessions and be taught on an intensive basis with compulsory contact hours (a minimum of 36 hours). Please refer to the Law Course Search . Please contact the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services to request a permission code to enrol in classes offered in non-standard sessions.
- First speech (15) [LO 1,2,4,5]
- Research essay (30) [LO 2,3,4,5]
- Second speech (25) [LO 1,2,4,5]
- Final Exam (30) [LO 2,3,4,5]
The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.