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English 472 A Review. Overview  Histories  Theories  Questions and Quandaries.

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Presentation on theme: "English 472 A Review. Overview  Histories  Theories  Questions and Quandaries."— Presentation transcript:

1 English 472 A Review

2 Overview  Histories  Theories  Questions and Quandaries

3 Histories  Pre-modern  Modern  Postmodern

4 Theories  Sophistic Rhetoric  Platonic Rhetoric  Aristotelian Rhetoric  Enlightenment Rhetoric  Audience  The Rhetorical Situation  Ideological Criticism  Foucauldian

5 Questions  What is Rhetoric?  What is Language?  How do we Communicate?  How are we Persuaded?  What about Audience?  How are we influenced by ideology?  What about Power?

6 Enlightenment  General  Absolute Truth  The world can be controlled and ordered  We can picture and represent the world  Belief in linear progress  Universal  Universality means text must be studied in isolation (context, personal ideologies)  Human nature is unchanging  People's individuality (personality) is transcendent  Purpose = humanist enhancement of life

7 Enlightenment  There is a stable, coherent, knowable self.  The knowledge produced by science is "truth," and is eternal.  All human institutions and practices can be analyzed by science (reason/objectivity) and improved.  Reason is the ultimate judge of what is true, and therefore of what is right, and what is good (what is legal and what is ethical).  Freedom consists of obedience to the laws that conform to the knowledge discovered by reason.

8 Enlightenment  Science is neutral and objective  Language, or the mode of expression used in producing and disseminating knowledge, must be rational also.  To be rational, language must be transparent; it must function only to represent the real/perceivable world which the rational mind observes.  There must be a firm and objective connection between the objects of perception and the words used to name them (between signifier and signified).

9 Modernity  Characteristics  questioning received truths of Christian tradition  elevating rationality over other sources of truth  seeking solutions to social problems by means of scientific method  viewing the universe as governed by inviolable physical laws

10 Modernity  tends to present a fragmented view of human subjectivity and history,  presents that fragmentation as something tragic, something to be lamented and mourned as a loss.  Modernity is fundamentally about order: about rationality and rationalization, creating order out of chaos.  modern societies rely on continually establishing a binary opposition between "order" and "disorder," so that they can assert the superiority of "order."  The ways that modern societies go about creating categories labeled as “order" or "disorder" have to do with the effort to achieve stability.

11 Postmodernism  questions the representation of history and cultural identities: history as "what 'really' happened" (external to representation or mediation) vs. history as a "narrative of what happened" with a point of view and cultural/ideological interests.  Dissolution of the transparency of history and tradition: Can we get to the (unmediated) referents of history?  Multiculturalism, competing views of history and tradition.  Shift from universal histories. History and identity politics: who can write? for whom? from what standpoint?  Postmodernism, in contrast to Modernism, doesn't lament the idea of fragmentation or incoherence, but rather celebrates that.

12 What is Rhetoric?  In its broadest sense, rhetoric concerns both the practice and study of effective communication in literature and in social discourse. Until well into the 19th century, rhetoric was a fundamental area of academic study and a direct influence on the compositional styles of poets, playwrights, and novelists.  Rhetoric is the art of discovering all the available means of persuasion in any given case (Aristotle)  A mode of altering reality, not by the direct application of energy to objects, but by the creation of discourse which changes reality through the mediation of thought and action (Bitzer)  Rhetoric is communication which helps people think alike so that they may share values, dispositions toward actions, and actions. (Burke and Perelman)

13 Why is Rhetoric Important?  Humans cooperate by the social act of constructing mutually compatible interpretations of reality.  Rhetoric is the refinement of the communicative life of the individual for the good of the society. It is essential to democracy  It is essential to meaningful communication  It serves to help us to figure out what we mean: as a mode of inquiry, a means of discovering knowledge and giving shape to experience;  It helps us to protect ourselves from those who use it to their advantage (and others’ disadvantage);  To preserve, or even more basically, to define, our humanity; as an alternative to solving conflicts through violence.

14 Primary Questions  Nature of truth  Sophistic and postmodern concepts of truth as a construct  Platonic and Modernist notion of a Big “T” universal truth. For Plato, it is the rhetor’s job to reveal the truth; for the modernist, this truth is available through science and the self  Nature of self  Modernist concept of the cartesian stable self  Postmodernist concept of the fragmented self  Role of community and society

15 Primary Questions  Role of community and society  Pre-modern and postmodern focus on community and society versus  Modernist focus on the individual

16 Some Contemporary Rhetorical Perspectives  Rhetoric and argumentation (Perelman)  Rhetoric and performance (including cultural studies) ( Burke)  "Other" Voices and cultural challenges (Feminism, Asian, African, African-American, Native American, South American/Latino)  Historical (esp. revisionist) (Jarratt, Berlin)  Movement and genre work (Campbell)

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