Philosophy: Post Truth and Populism - Rhetoric and Politics

Ref: C2337862

The success of populists such as Donald Trump shows that rhetoric now has more influence in politics than truth – or does it? This course uses up to date research to examine the rhetoric and political dynamics of populism Topics 1. definitions of political populism 2. rhetoric and manipulation 3. rhetoric and the public good 4. the tools of rhetoric 5. case studies : how rhetoric is used in populism – and how it can be used in informed debates about populism sources : • Wikipedia : • Economist : • Independent : • BBC R 4 programme on new US political language : • R Toye, Rhetoric. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford Univ Press 2013)

Course aim

To give students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with current analyses of political populism and with key features of rhetoric, and to apply what has been learnt to current case studies (of their choice)

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is for anyone who wants to make (a little more) sense of recent political developments

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. identify key features of populism
  • 2. explain different ways of understanding the purpose of rhetoric
  • 3. identify at least two rhetorical devices
  • 4. apply what you have learnt in 1. – 3. to examples or case studies of your choice

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Students will be encouraged to carry out their own research, especially on case studies, but will not be expected to do so

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Philosophy: Post Truth and Populism - Rhetoric and Politics


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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