What is Rhetoric Club?

The club’s mission: To recognize and promote undergraduate research and critical practices within the tradition of rhetorical theory. The club is interested in pursuing community engagement ambassadorships between rhetoric and other disciplines on campus, and working through personal research projects.

What the mission means: Language is powerful; thoughtful language, even more so. Club members recognize that, and using the club as a venue, we work together to think about, practice, and create methods for, effective and responsible communication. Be it on campus, or off, members get valuable experience thinking academically and engaging practically to put their knowledge and skills to use in the community.

What is rhetoric?

Rhetoric is both a theoretical tradition of thinking about communication, as well as a tool for doing communication. Defined broadly (and perhaps controversially) rhetoric is the study and practice of how symbols can be thoughtfully and creatively employed to move people. Thinking critically about the things we say, and sometimes more importantly, how we say them, is powerful. The human disposition is one of the mightiest things we know of—investigating how it can be shaped by mere utterances is a major goal of rhetorical study.

Photo from the wikimedia commons

Image from the wikimedia commons

Why is rhetoric important?

Image from wpclipart

Image from wpclipart

Effective communication relies on the artistic abilities of individuals to inform or persuade others. Fiction, corporate advocacy, journalism, marketing, speech writing, poetry, correspondence, scientific manuscripts, cinema, comic books, music, photography, oil paintings, software, and even architecture can be rhetorically examined. Doing so provides deeper, more meaningful understandings of the things that we experience regularly in our public lives. The job of the rhetorical critic then, is to study, analyze, and evaluate the communicative practices that take place in public so as to propose ways for others to communicate more effectively and to more effectively appreciate the communication of others. This is important because someone who knows how to do good rhetorical thinking is someone who is more apt to understand what it means to communicate well, and to avoid the “devils in our mouths.”

How to Get Involved

If you interested in participating, you can:

  • To learn more about the Rhetoric Club, or if you have any questions about upcoming events, please email KC Lynch at  kcl@uw.edu
  • Just come to one of our events (announcements updated below, under “Upcoming Events”)

Resources to Learn More About Rhetoric

Previous Events



Rhetoric Club, Winter Event


Rhetoric Club, Spring 2015