Spring 2024 - ENGL 214 D100

History and Principles of Rhetoric (3)

Class Number: 5512

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 12, 2024
    Fri, 12:00–12:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    12 units or one 100-division English course.



Introduction to the history and principles of rhetoric, and their application to the creation and analysis of written, visual, and other forms of persuasion.


This course explores the social functions of the Art of Rhetoric and how this discipline has evolved from its distant origins to how we perceive it and define it today. The participants will be exposed to the principles of rhetoric and its five canons and will be encouraged to find practical ways in which these principles apply to public and private communications in our post-modern world. The ultimate purpose is to equip the participants with analytical tools to interrogate reality and reflect on the ways we use language to persuade, influence, achieve goals, and become agents of change in our communities.


  • Define the purpose and scope of Rhetoric as a scholarly discipline and as an art.
  • Identify key rhetorical precepts and methods and their application to our context.
  • Analyze how Rhetoric has evolved from its origins to our current times.
  • Examine modern rhetorical phenomena in the light of theoretical principles.


  • Quizzes 15%
  • Discussions 20%
  • Text Analysis (800-1000 words) 30%
  • Persuasive Piece (1500-1700 words) 35%



Toye, Richard. Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2013

This book and other additional readings such as articles and book chapters will be available via SFU Library. 

You are only encouraged to purchase the book if you prefer reading from a traditional paper-based text as opposed to reading from a screen.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html