In this proseminar we will focus on the way language can be put to use in political contexts, i.e., in contexts where (extra-linguistic) stakes are high and therefore in contexts where speakers need to be particularly cautious in the way they express themselves. This entails that we will reflect on language as an instrument meant to fulfil social and political functions, among which persuasion and legitimation. To account for the variety of discursive practices found in the political realm, we will be concerned with different genres (interviews, debates, discourses, etc.) and try to characterise them precisely. A focus on rhetoric, and above all on its linguistic dimension, will lead us to reflect on the importance of words and linguistic structures in political communicative settings. The proseminar will moreover require students to engage with political texts by analysing them, using the theoretical input that will be provided week after week to perform linguistic analysis. Most of the material discussed will be taken from the American and British political arenas, and particular attention will be paid to current discourses around climate change.