Rhetoric, film, and screen studies (formerly known as "Rhetoric") offer an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human communication that focuses on the intersectional nature of meaning and knowledge. Rhetoric is a vital aspect of modern democracy. Courses offered by the Department of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies teach students to understand how citizens use the symbolic in processes of negotiation within democratic states. Historically, this understanding has come through study of oratory, writing, and debate. But as the public sphere has expanded, so have the skills needed for successful agency: skills also now address visual media such as film, television, and virtual worlds.