Group A Moves
Preparation Guide 2012
Implicating Morality and History in Rhetoric
By now you have a sense for the active creative force of text in creating the socio-cultural world
in which humans live. Discourse serves a practical role in the knitting of our day-to-day activities.
Once rhetoric is seen as a force for textual merger, then a number of questions open seeking to
understand traditional concepts and their relationship to this process. Two of those that have
been a focus of rhetorical theorists are morality and history.
In addressing the practical reasoning problem, theorists had discovered that one of the most
important advantages of rhetorical logic was its more powerful account of morality in human
action. The initial development here was the concept of an advisory rhetoric: as individuals we
use rhetoric to provide moral advice to others. But then, with the growth of the constitutive
rhetoric, attention turned to rhetorically constituting morality. The rhetorical construction of
morality became a central problem just as the rhetorical construction of reality was a problem for
the social epistemics.
Similarly, history could be seen not as a study of material events told in language, but as a
construction brought textually into rhetorically constituting the moment. But on what terms?
Clusters: Rhetoric as advisory; Rhetoric and history; Rhetoric and morality; Collective memory
Questions to stimulate thought:
- What changes in our concept of "morality" are required by these new understandings?
- Differentiate among patterns of doing moral work in formist, mechanistic,
and contextualist theories.
- What is the relationship between rhetoric and morality?
- Are there differences between public and private morality? What are those
differences? Is rhetoric relevant to one and not to the other?
- How do positivist views of history differ from contextualist views? What
role do contextualist theories give to rhetoric and history?
- What do these theorists mean by "community"? What are the relationships
among community, rhetoric, morality, and history?
- Differentiate between the place of discourse in material theories of history
and theories which constitute history discursively. How does intellectual
history relate to each of these?
Before Class Preparation:
Read the following:
Harold, Christine, and Kevin Michael DeLuca. "Behold the corpse: Violent images and the case of Emmett Till." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 8, no. 2 (2005): 263-286. We will talk about pp. 263-66.
This excerpt from Harold and DeLuca will guide our discussion as a place to anchor and meditate upon the theoretical concepts associated with morality/history Read the excerpt. As you read, think about how the critics construct the Till incident. What kind of role do history and morality play in this construction? How is the past, present, and future implicated by their narrative? As you read the other selections, return to Harold and DeLuca's article as a place to anchor theoretical concepts of history, morality, and collective memory.
Answer the following as you read the other readings:
- How does Weaver define the interactions of rhetoric, morality, and history? How does Weaver he situate these in the tradition of battle between rhetoric and dialectic?
- How does Weaver define dialect and how does it color his argument about history, morality, and rhetoric?
- Do you see Weaver's concepts reflected or challenged in Harold and DeLuca's account? Where?
On Klumpp and Hollihan
- What does morality mean here? What does it mean to say that criticism is a "moral action"?What should critics do with this conception?
- Do Harold and DeLuca engage in explicitly moral criticism in the excerpt? How (do they not)?
On Aden et al.
- How do you understand these scholars' project of re-collection?
- How do you understand the (non)relationship(s) between the concepts [collective memory], [re-collection], [history], and [morality]?
- What can we take from the concept of re-collection to understand the critic's role in history/collective memory?
- Do you find traces of re-collection in Harold and DeLuca's account? Where?
- Bellah, Robert N., et al. "Transforming American Culture." Habits of
the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Berkeley: Univ.
of California Press, 1985. 275-296.
- Clark, E. Cully, & McKerrow, Raymie. E. The rhetorical construction of history. In Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases, ed. Kathleen J.
Turner, 33-46. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
- Condit, Celeste Michelle. "Crafting Virtue: The Rhetorical Construction
of Public Morality." Quarterly Journal of Speech 73 (February 1987):
- Cox, J. Robert. "Memory, Critical Theory, and the Argument from History." Argumentation and Advocacy 27 (Summer 1990): 1-13.
- Fisher, Walter. "Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm: The Case of
Public Moral Argument." Communication Monographs 51 (March 1984):
- * Foss, Foss, and Trapp on Weaver.
- * Klumpp, James F., and Thomas A. Hollihan. "Rhetorical Criticism as
Moral Action." Quarterly Journal of Speech 75 (February 1989): 84-96. (CMMC)
- * Weaver, Richard M. "The Cultural Role of Rhetoric." In Language is sermonic: Richard M. Weaver on the nature of rhetoric. eds. Richard L. Johannesen, Ralph T. Eubanks, & Rene Strickland, 161-84. 1970; Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1985. ( Read pp. 161-165; 169-184)
- Weaver, Richard M. "Language is Sermonic." In Language is sermonic: Richard M. Weaver on the nature of rhetoric, eds. Richard L. Johannesen, Ralph T. Eubanks, & Rene Strickland, 201-33. 1970; Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1985.
- Zarefsky, David. The four senses of rhetoric history. In Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases ed. Kathleen J. Turner, 19-32. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
- * Aden, Roger C., Min Wha Han, Stephanie Norander, Michael E. Pfahl, Timothy P.p Pollack, Jr. and Stephanie L. Young. "Re-Collection: A Proposal for Refining the Study of Collective Memory and its Places." Communication Theory (10503293) 19, no. 3 (August 2009): 311-336. (CMMC)
- Brown, Vivienne. "The Moral Self and Ethical Dialogism: Three Genres." Philosophy
and Rhetoric 28 (1995): 276-99.
- Carpenter, Ronald H. History as Rhetoric: Style, Narrative and Persuasion. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
- Crusius, Timothy W. "A Question of Kenneth Burke's Ethics." KB Journal 3.1 (Fall 2006)
- Gehrke, Pat J. "Turning Kant Against the Priority of Autonomy: Communication
Ethics and the Duty to Community." Philosophy and Rhetoric. 35.1,
- Hicks, Darrin. “The New Citizen.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 93, no. 3 (2007): 358-360.
- Lozano-Reich, N., & Cloud, D. (2009). The uncivil tongue: Invitational rhetoric and the
problem of inequality. Western Journal of Communication, 73, 220-226.
- McDaniel, James P. "Responsibilities: Speculations on Rhetoric and the
Ethico-Political in Postmodernity." Argument and the Postmodern Challenge:
Proceedings of the Eighth SCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation, ed. Raymie
E. McKerrow, 159-61. Annandale VA: SCA, 1993.
- McGee, Michael. G. "The Fall of Wellington: A Case Study of the Relationship
between Theory, Practice, and Rhetoric in History." Quarterly Journal
of Speech 63 (1977): 28-42.
- Meyers, O. (2009). The engine’s in the front, but its heart’s in the same place: Advertising, nostalgia, and the construction of commodities as realms of memory. Journal of Popular Culture, 42(4), 733-755.
- Miller, S. (2007). Trust in texts: A different history of rhetoric (pp. 1-27). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP.
- Murray, Jeffrey W. "Bakhtinian Answerability and Levinasian Responsibility:
Forging a Fuller Dialogical Communicative Ethics." Southern Communication
Journal 65 (2000) 133-150.
- Norton, Janice. "Rhetorical Criticism as Ethical Action: Cherchez la
Femme." Southern Communication Journal 61 (Fall 1995): 29-45.
- Shotter, John., and Gergen, Kenneth. J. "Social Construction: Knowledge,
Self, Others, and Continuing the Conversation." Communication Yearbook 17 (1994).
- Spinner-Halev, J. (2008). Democracy, solidarity and post-nationalism. Political Studies, 56(3), 604-628.
- Thompson, C., & Tian, K. (2008). Reconstructing the South: How commercial myths compete for identity value through the ideological shaping of popular memories and countermemories. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(5), 595-613.
Recent Work: (Selected by Lauren Harris, Yvonne Slosarski, Meredith Styer)
- Arnett, Ron C., "Situating a Dialogic Ethic." In The Handbook of Communication Ethics, eds. GeorgeCheney, Steve May, and Debashish Munshi, 45-63. New York: Routledge, 2011.
- Arnett, Ron, Leeanne M. Bell, and Janie M. Harden Fritz. "Dialogic Learning as First Principle in Communication Ethics." Atlantic Journal of Communication 18, no.3 (2010): 111-126.
- Ashuri, Tamar. "(Web)sites of memory and the rise of moral mnemonic agents." New Media & Society 14, no. 3 (April 2012): 441-456.
- Balthrop, V. William, Carole Blair, and Neil Michel. "The Presence of the Present: Hijacking 'The Good War'?" Western Journal Of Communication 74, no. 2 (March 2010): 170-207.
- Bietti, Lucas M. "Towards a cognitive pragmatics of collective remembering." Pragmatics & Cognition 20, no. 1 (January 2012): 32-61.
- Chronis, Athinodoros, Eric J. Arnould, and Ronald D. Hampton. "Gettysburg re-imagined: the role of narrative imagination in consumption experience." Consumption, Markets & Culture 15, no. 3 (September 2012): 261-286.
- Edwards, Jason A. "Apologizing for the Past for a Better Future: Collective Apologies in the United States, Australia, and Canada." Southern Communication Journal 75, no. 1 (January 2010): 57-75.
- Foss, Sonja K. and Karen A. Foss. "Constricted and Constructed Potentiality: An Inquiry Into Paradigms of Change." Western Journal Of Communication 75, no. 2 (March 2011): 205-238.
- Gehrke, Pat J. "Being for the Other-to-the-Other: Justice and Communication in Levinasian Ethics." Review of Communication 10, no.1 (2010): 5-19.
- Hume, Janice. "Memory Matters: The Evolution of Scholarship in Collective Memory and Mass Communication." Review of Communication 10, no. 3 (July 2010): 181-196.
- Jenkins, Alexander, Alexander Nikolaev, and Douglas V. Porpora. "Moral Reasoning and the Online Debate About Iraq." Political Communication 29, no. 1 (2012): 44-63.
- Phillips, Kendall R. "The Failure of Memory: Reflections on Rhetoric and Public Remembrance." Western Journal of Communication 74, no. 2 (March 2010): 208-223.
- Reyes, G. Mitchell, ed. Public Memory, Race, and Ethnicity. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.
- Savoie, Hillary. "Memory Work in the Digital Age: Exploring the Boundary Between Universal and Particular Memory Online." Global Media Journal: American Edition 9, no. 16 (Spring 2010): 1-22.
- Schouten, Fiona. "The Paradox of Memory Studies: Studying a Praxis From Within." At The Interface / Probing The Boundaries 73 (December 2010): 137-151.
- Soukup, Charles. "I Love the 80s: The Pleasures of a Postmodern History." Southern Communication Journal 75, no. 1 (January 2010): 76-93.
- Stroud, Scott R. "Kant on Education and the Rhetorical Force of the Example." Rhetoric Society Quarterly 41, no. 5 (October 2011): 416-438.
- Veil, Shari R., Timothy L. Sellnow, and Megan Heald. "Memorializing Crisis: The Oklahoma City National Memorial as Renewal Discourse." Journal Of Applied Communication Research 39, no. 2 (May 2011): 164-183.
- Vivian, Bradford. Public forgetting: The rhetoric and politics of beginning again. University Park: Penn State University Press, 2010.
- Yack, Bernard. Nationalism and the Moral Psychology of Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012
Identity and Subjectivity
Three problems have marked the stages in the development of this move in contemporary
rhetorical theory. The beginning lay in George Herbert Mead's notions of the
role of the communication in the formation of the identity of the individual.
Mead theorized the individual integrated through what he called "gestures"
(that we would call "symbolic acts") reflected off significant others
to construct our notions of ourselves. Mead founded symbolic interactionism
and his followers began to map the strategies by which identity developed and
Mead's notion of how the identity of individuals was formed involved an inherently
social context. So it was a small extension to seeing how groups of people were
integrated by common discourses and the symbolic actions that they performed
with those discourses. Social order could be seen as arrays of identifications
jockeying for position, gaining and losing strength, clashing with others, aligning
with still others, and defining the texture of social action in their activity.
Of particular interest was how new identities formed and became the grounds
of social action. McGee and then Charland theorized the ways in which rhetoric
The introduction of new identities seeking power in the competitive environment
of societies of interlocking identities gave rise to the third stage of this
work: subjectivity. The question was how the process of identity formation empowered
individuals and positions to resist hegemonic discourses of control. This overt
insertion of the freedom/domination problem led to questions about the tensions
that compose social order: silence and voice, power and powerlessness, individual
and community. How can the rhetor empower his/her rhetoric? This became known
as the problem of agency or subjectivity.
Clusters: rhetoric and identity, constructing the subject, constructing
agency, constituting subjectivity, <the people>.
Questions to Stimulate Thought:
The following questions will help you orient to the problems of this
- As we situate ourselves as scholars in the postmodern world, in what ways
must we negotiate identity (of the self and other)? What are the benefits
of our hyper-identity focused environment with its focus on authorship (and the speaker) to us as scholars? What does authorship permit us to do? How are we
limited by this sensitivity to identity?
- What is the "subject"? What is "subjectivity"?
- How does one go about defining her own subjectivity?
- How can we differentiate between subjectivity and agency? Can we?
- Is the subject always the product of power relations?
- How do we decenter the subject? What do we accomplish in doing so?
- What role does "the body" play in the construction of the subject?
- How does memory help constitute the subject? (Individual vs. Community)
Structure for Classroom Discussion
- After reading Foucault, how must a theory of rhetoric change when we accept his critique of the author?
- Charland considers rhetoric as constituting subjectivity. Is his treatment of “subjectivity” is compatible with Foucault and McKerrow? What is "interpellation"? Do rhetors interpellate? Or, does rhetoric interpellate?
- What key theoretical concepts do Jackson and Moshin introduce into their analysis? How do they reinterpret concepts introduced by Foucault or Charland?
We will allow an organic discussion to flourish, focusing on the discussion questions as they naturally arise from our conversation.
- * Charland, Maurice. "Constitutive Rhetoric: The Case of the Peuple
Quebecois." Quarterly Journal of Speech 73 (May 1987): 133-50. (CMMC)
- * Foucault, Michel. "What is an
Author?" Trans. Josué V. Harari. Foucault Reader, ed. Paul
Rabinow, 101-20.. New York: Pantheon, 1984.
- Stuart Hall. "Introduction: Who Needs
'Identity'?" Questions of Cultural Identity, eds. Stuart Hall and
Paul Du Gay, 1-17. London: Sage, 1996.
- McGee, Michael C. "In Search of 'The People': A Rhetorical Alternative."
Quarterly Journal of Speech 61 (October 1975): 235-49.
- Raymie McKerrow. "Critical
Rhetoric and the Possibility of the Subject." The Critical Turn: Rhetoric
and Philosophy in Postmodern Discourse, eds. Ian Angus, and Lenore Langsdorf, 51-67.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois U. P. 1993.
- Mead, George Herbert. "Self." Mind, Self, and Society.
Ed. Charles W. Morris. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1934. 135-86.
- Anderson, Dana. Identity's Strategy. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2007.
- Black, Edwin. "The Second Persona." Quarterly Journal of Speech
56, no. 2 (April 1970): 109-119.
- Bruner, M. Lane. Strategies of Remembrance: The Rhetorical Dimensions
of National Identity Construction . Columbia : University of South Carolina
- Conrad, Charles, and Elizabeth A. Macom. "Re-Visiting Kenneth Burke:
Dramatism/ Logology and the Problem of Agency." Southern Communication
Journal 61 (Fall 1995): 11-28.
- Dow, Bonnie J. "Politicizing Voice." Western Journal
of Communication (1997): 243-251.
- Eisenberg, Eric M. "Building a Mystery: Toward a New Theory of Communication
and Identity." Journal of Communication 51.3 (2001): 534-52.
- Gergen, Kenneth J. "Narrative,
Moral Identity and Historical Consciousness: A Social Constructist Account.."
- Habermas, Jürgen. "An Alternative Way out of the Philosophy of
the Subject: Communicative versus Subject-Centered Reason." The Philosophical
Discourse of Modernity. Trans. Frederick Lawrence, 294-326. 1985; Cambridge MA:
MIT Press, 1987.
- Hay, Kellie D. and Mary M. Garrett. "Engaging Materialist, Poststructuralist
and Postcolonial Rhetorics." Quarterly Journal of Speech 87 (2001):
- Nakayama, Thomas K. "Whiteness and Media." Critical Studies
in Media Communication 17 (2000): 364-381.
- Rogers, Richard A. "Overcoming the Objectification of Nature in Constitutive
Theories: Toward a Transhuman, Materialist Theory of Communication."
Western Journal of Communication (1998): 244-272.
- Watts , Eric King. "'Voice' and 'Voicelessness' in Rhetorical Studies."
Quarterly Journal of Speech 87 (2001): 179-96.
- Zagacki, Kenneth S., “Constitutive Rhetoric Reconsidered: Constitutive Paradoxes in G.W. Bush’s Iraq War Speeches,” Western Journal of Communication 71 (2007), 272-293.
Recent Work: (Selected by Tiffany Bell, Katie Kuhn, and Michael Stueudeman)
- Allen, Sara, "The Cultivated Self: Self Writing, Subjectivity, and Debate," Rhetoric Review 29 (2010), 364-378.
- Bass, Jeff D., "Imperial Alternity and Identity Slippage: The Sin of Becoming 'Other' in Edmund D. Morel's King Leopold's Rule in Africa," Rhetoric & Public Affairs 13 (2010), 107-134.
- Cargonja, Hrvoje, "Ambiguous Experience: A contribution to understanding experience as discourse," Stud. ethnol. Croat. 23 (2011), 283-308.
- Cisneros Josue David, "Reclaiming the Rhetoric of Reies Lopez Tijerina: Border Identity and Agency in 'The Land Grant Question,'"” Communication Quarterly 60 (2012), 561-587.
- Dunn, Thomas R., "Remembering Matthew Shepard: Violence, Identity, and Queer Counterpublic Memories," Rhetoric & Public Affairs 13 (2010), 611-652.
- Elseewi, Tarik A., "A Revolution of the Imagination," International Journal of Communication 5(2011), 1197-1206.
- Enck-Wanzer, "Decolonizing Imaginaries: Rethinking ‘the People’ in the Young Lords' Church Offensive," Quarterly Journal of Speech 98 (2012), 1-23.
- Enck-Wanzer, Darrel,"Tropicalizing East Harlem: Rhetorical Agency, Cultural Citizenship, and Nuyorican Cultural Production," Communication Theory 21 (2011), 344-367.
- Endres, Danielle and Samantha Senda-Cook, "Location Matters: The Rhetoric of Place in Protest," Quarterly Journal of Speech 97(2011), 257-2.
- Good, Byron J., "Theorizing the ‘subject’ of medical and psychiatric anthropology," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(2012), 515-535.
- Gulbrandsen, Cari L. and Christine A. Walsh, "It Starts With Me Women Mediate Power within Feminist Activism," Affilia 27 (2012), 275-288.
- Gunn, Joshua and Dana L. Cloud, "Agentic Orientation as Magical Volunteerism," Communication Theory 20 (2010), 50-78.
- Hayden, Sara, "Constituting Childless Aunties: From Childless Women to Child-Focused Consumers," Women's Studies in Communication 34 (2011), 1-19.
- *Jackson, Ronald L. and Jamie Moshin, "Identity and Difference Race and Necessity of the Discriminating Subject." In The Handbook of Critical Intercultrual Communication, eds. Thomas K. Nakayama & Rona Tamiko Halualani, 348-363. Chicester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2011.
- Kahane, Claire, "The Smile of the Cheshire Cat: Uncovering the Author in the Text," Women's Studies 39 (2010), 119-135.
- Leff, Michael C., "Tradition and Agency in Humanistic Rhetoric," Philosophy and Rhetoric 45 (2012), 213-226.
- Madonia, Salvatore, "Experiencia y rearticulacion identitaria en mujeres espanolas convertidas al Islam," Reis 140(2012), 49-66. (Translated into English)
- Moss, Kristin Lee, "Cultural Representation in Philadelphia Murals: Images of Resistance and Sites of Identity Negotiation," Western Journal of Communication 74(2010), 372-395.
- Neocosmos, Michael, "Are those-who-do-not-count capable of reason? Thinking political subjectivity in the (neo-)colonial world and the limits of history," Jounral of Asian and African Studies 47 (2012), 530.
- Perez, Kimberlee and Dustin Bradley Goltz, "Treading Across Lines in the Sand: Performing Bodies in Coalitional Subjectivity," Text and Performance Quarterly 30(2010), 247-268.
- Pringle, Richard G. and Christopher Hickey, "Negotiating Masculinities via the Moral Problematization of Sport," Sociology of Sport Journal, 27(2010), 115-138.
- Shi, Yu, "Creating New Subjectivities: The Resistant Tactics of the Dislocated People in China's Real Estate Development," Communication, Culture & Critique 4 (2011), 275-295.
- Siles, Ignacio, "Web Technologies of the Self: The Arising of the ‘Blogger’ Identity," Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 17(2012), 408-421.
- Sweet, Derek and Margret McCue-Enser, "Constituting 'the People' as Rhetorical Interruption: Barack Obama and the Unfinished Hopes of an Imperfect People," Communication Studies 61 (2010), 602-622.
- Reyes, G. Mitchell, "Memory and Alterity: The Case for an Analytic of Difference," Philosophy and Rhetoric 43(2010), 222-252.
- Vanderhaagen, Sara, "Practical Truths: Black Feminist Agency and Public Memory in Biographies for Children," Women's Studies in Communication 35 (2012), 18-41.
- Warren, J, T. "It Really Isn’t about You Whiteness and the Dangers of Thinking You Got It," in The Handbook of Critical Intercultrual Communication, eds. T.K. Nakayama and R.T. Halualani, 446-459. Chicester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2011.
- Zingsheim, Jason, "X-Men Evolution: Mutational Identity and Shifting Subjectivities," Howard Journal of Communications 22 (2011), 223-239.
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