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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Peter Murphy


Previously coded COM3650, DTS3650


This unit introduces students to the role of political rhetoric and communication in great social dramas played out in key historical moments such as war and civil war. It looks at major examples of political rhetoric and official writing inspired by such dramas, the use of theatrical ideas and gestures in politics, and the structural parallels between staged drama and social drama. Examples discussed will include the political rhetoric of Lincoln and the American Civil War, and Winston Churchill and the Second World War. The plays of Shakespeare will be used to analyse the relationship of rhetorical traditions, staged drama and social drama.


On successful completion of this unit, students will

  1. Understand principles of political rhetoric
  2. Be familiar with great examples of such rhetoric
  3. Understand how political speech-making and official writing influences grave political events including world war, civil war and the overthrow of tyranny
  4. Understand how history plays especially the Shakespearean tradition and the study of dramaturgy prepares social actors to engage in great social dramas
  5. Understand how history plays especially the Shakespearean tradition and the study of dramaturgy utilizes, influences and shapes great political rhetoric.


Research essay (1800 words): 40%
2 Hour exam (1800 words): 40%
Exercise (900 words): 20%

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture/seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



Minor in Communications and Media Studies, Drama and Theatre Studies or other approved discipline