Utrecht, Netherlands

Rhetoric Recrafted

when 8 July 2024 - 12 July 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1.5 EC

Are you surprised by your neighbour Karen's political support for the corrupted politician? Do you think Chad, your childhood friend, would really be happier if we all stuck to two genders, had no vaccines for children and only consumed cow milk?

In this rapidly evolving landscape, individuals equipped with critical thinking, empathetic insight, public speaking skills and flexibility will distinguish themselves, safeguarding democratic principles essential for transformative societal shifts.

Through the application of rhetorical principles – such as recognizing the potency of the enthymeme, discerning between practical and theoretical reasoning, navigating modes of persuasion, acknowledging inherent biases, interacting with media, and discerning dialogic structures – during this immersive course, participants will acquire a comprehensive toolkit for fostering proactive citizenship, and embracing their innate capacities for analytical thinking and content creation.

This course will expand your mind and encourage you to embrace (and practice!) your given abilities to think and create. These skills are becoming increasingly crucial in the face of modern-day threats such as fake news, misinformation, propaganda, polarization, climate change, conspiracy theories, deepfakes, AI, susceptibility to online influencers, and apathy towards civic participation.

In the early days of democracy, rhetoric was developed to aid individuals in advocating for themselves. Rhetorical education involved reflecting on others' words and expressing one's own thoughts, aiming not only for personal growth but also broader societal significance. Wouldn’t it be great to reclaim that superpower*, tailored to life in this century?

The course consists of two parts: an in-person meeting in July in Utrecht and two online assignments—one before and one after the on-site session. During the in-person session, you will acquire knowledge and information, while also having time to refine your skills and exchange insights with peers. By the end of the course, you will gain a new perspective on media practices, political decision-making and communication, interpersonal relationships and advertising, leaving you forever changed.

The course includes assessments: standardized evaluations and those designed specifically for this program. You will have the opportunity to compare yourself before and after, and later (whether a day, a week, or at the start of a new academic year), recognize the newfound confidence to change the world.

Are you ready to make a difference? If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate.

Topics we plan to cover:

Day 1 – Communication, Audience, and Dialogue

Day 2 – Persuasion, Reasoning, and Argumentation

Day 3 – Rhetoric and (Social) Media

Day 4 – Rhetorical Citizenship: Argument, Media, and Content Analysis

Day 5 – Now it’s your turn to speak. And self-reflection

This program is part of research for a doctoral dissertation. Students will be kindly asked to participate, with the option to withdraw consent at any time.

*What do we mean by a superpower? It involves the ability to differentiate between truth and falsehoods, grasp the real meaning of words and reasons, understand others' perspectives, recognize fallacious behavior, and precisely articulate own thoughts through speaking and writing.

Course leader

Ana Vlah

Target group

Bachelor and Master students of all disciplines, and young professionals, who want to work on their thinking and writing/speaking skills.

Fee info

EUR 0: Course fee: €295.00
Included: Course + course materials + lunch
Housing fee: €250
Housing provider: Utrecht Summer School
Online participation possible. The fee is then reduced € 245.

Register for this course
on course website