The Call for Rhetoric in Everyday Life
From its origins in the classical period, rhetoric—its study, its practice, its pedagogies, its theories, its powers—has been valued as a means for addressing matters of urgent public concern and for facilitating collective public decision making in complex situations where no clear solution exists among people with competing ideologies, politics, cultures, sensibilities of the world, and relationships to power.
In this course, we will survey a range of contemporary concepts, theories, and conversations within rhetorical studies—focusing, in part, on what rhetoric and its study might contribute to our understanding of and capacities for responding to contemporary public issues and controversies. We will spend some time exploring key figures and theories throughout the 20th and 21st century, as well as examining emergent concepts in theory and pedagogy of the public, ecology and network, bodies and affect, (new) materialisms, multimodalities, visual culture, among others. In so doing, we will consider how these approaches shift the key terms in rhetorical studies—such as the rhetorical situation, agent/agency, audience, invention, delivery, persuasion, argument, rhetorical objects of study, and so on.
This course, then, will not only explore various rhetorical concepts, theories, and methods that are currently being taken up in contemporary scholarship, it will also examine one of the most enduring concerns of rhetoric and its study: the question of how we might best discover and use the available means of persuasion to ethically and effectively respond to our collective public problems and exigencies.
Texts under consideration:
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Agency
James Herrick, The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction
John Lucaites, Celeste Michelle Condit, Sally Caudill. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
Mailloux, Steven, Disciplinary Identities: Rhetorical Paths of English, Speech, and
Thomas Rickert, Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being
Krista Radcliff, Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness
Jim Rodolfo and William Hart-Davidson. Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities
David Sheridan, Jim Ridolfo, and Anthony Michel.The Available Means of Persuasion:
Mapping a Theory and Pedagogy of Multimodal Public Rhetoric
Selection of articles