Retrospective History of Rhetoric

The Grammarian teacher rhetoric historyFlorence 1437 WC pdOverall
The students this semester suggested that perhaps instead of starting at the farthest point from modern understanding, it might be more beneficial for the students to read the modern rhetoric chapters first. These are connected to literary theory via Foucault and Derrida and are, therefore, perhaps more accessible.

Next year the modern chapters will be their first readings. In order to ensure an understanding of the text, however, I will also introduce the early theorists who are mentioned in those chapters. Plato, the sophists, Aristotle, Cicero, and perhaps even Quintilian could be introduced with a “known for these things particularly” approach.

In my desire to make the class interesting and hands-on, I have drifted from the focus on history of rhetoric in the activities in class. So I am considering what things would be interesting and prospectively helpful that focus on the history of rhetoric and historical rhetoric.

Greek writing ancient pottery by TkoletsisKeep the introduction and the intro to the sophists. Maybe bring in a few pages from sophistic writing. Or we could look in class at the Paul and sophists article. It is 22 pages long, so maybe instead use it to understand how Galatians is sophistic and then have the class look through Galatians and discuss in terms of sophistic rhetoric.

That would be a really good idea. I think that would work very well and would be interesting and would tie into the Christian aspect and the sophists. –Why didn’t I think of doing that before?

Perhaps also use the Ewing Lecture notes to discuss Ezekiel and rhetoric. Mark Hamilton did folkloric, but it is also clearly connected with rhetorical. Make that rhetorical connection clear and then discuss Ezekiel in those terms. …That might be a different way to approach the rhetoric history. We’re looking at how biblical authors employed it before there was a history of rhetoric. Ezekiel was written before Plato wrote, before the sophists taught.

We can look at Plato’s presentation of the sophists and look at this work for built-in flaws that he created to show their work. We can do that in class if it isn’t too long a work or if we can take pieces of it.

For Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian… Beef up the discussion of how and where we see the appeals. Perhaps look at book covers specifically for the appeals. Maybe even discuss the “turning in a paper” ethos or other points. Why is it important to look like what has gone before? People recognize it and have a place to put it. This is partially ethos. Definitely want to talk about how Cicero applies to writing in the modern classroom. Both Aristotle and Cicero are used in AP courses, so the students need to know those, if they don’t.

typingFirst class
Looking at a way to introduce rhetoric and the history of rhetoric that doesn’t just involve me talking, I looked at multiple PowerPoints and videos. I wanted something that would approach the information from a common or lay perspective, but would focus on rhetoric very specifically.

I think I have found a few videos that would be useful, after the original PowerPoint introduction.

History of Rhetoric in Under 4 Minutes (or Over 3 Minutes) has a good introduction to the historical aspects of rhetoric AND ends with the idea that people think of rhetoric pejoratively.

Then talk about what you know about rhetoric. How do people talk about rhetoric? That will introduce the ideas here. “Oh, that’s a rhetorical question.” Not discussed, but still would work as an answer. (Rhetorical question originally meant that the question itself was intended to persuade you or lead you into a correct answer.)

ancient woman with bookThen use the UClemson video In Defense of Rhetoric.

I really like this. It is well done, interesting, and introduces a lot of modern rhetoricians. Also it’s epistemic rhetoric, which is how I view rhetoric.
It discusses what rhetoric is and how it has been perceived, focusing on epistemic rhetoric.

Set of criteria, rank order the criteria, systematic way = epistemic rhetoric
Epistemic = creates understanding/perception of reality
Rhetoric is a way of knowing.
Facts are monolithic, unchanging. But how you think of them… Rhetorical.
Knowledge is a process.

Josh’s introduction to rhetoric—very fast introduction, but could pause and discuss
Focuses 3.45 minutes on ancient rhetoric. Then 3 minutes on modern. Has questions that he puts on the screen and then writes “Think about it!” Could stop the video at those points and discuss.

How do perceptions of truth, authenticity, and reality affect communication?
How does your authorship, authority, and power affect your rhetoric?

Toulmin model + semiotics can be used to examine visual and digital rhetoric.

Would need to be sure that I mention that this is a history of rhetoric (even though we’ve already seen one) and we are going to use it to talk about some questions that are relevant to all of rhetoric.

Denelson83 WC CC
Denelson83 WC CC
Is introducing the history of rhetoric as an overview multiple times a problem? Or can I do this as they are coming at it from very different angles?

Perhaps when I start to use the videos say that these overlap what I’ve already said and what the videos say, but they offer different discussion points that I think are valid for the course….
Think about it.

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