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AL 805 Copresentation
 

AL 805 Copresentation

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Copresentation/discussion for a class on rhetorical theory and history

Copresentation/discussion for a class on rhetorical theory and history

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    AL 805 Copresentation AL 805 Copresentation Presentation Transcript

    • Ancient Near Eastern and Greek Rhetorics: Narrative(s) & Methodologies Lisa Eldred and Stacey Pigg AL 805 Co-presentation 16 October 2006
    • In our co-presentation, we will. . .
      • Provide a brief overview of each reading
      • Implement a primary text analysis activity in small groups to provide application for key concepts
      • Discuss key questions that connect this week’s readings (as time permits)
    • I. Mesopotamia and the Near East
    • Kennedy: Origins of Writing
      • Developed with needs of society (move from hunter-gatherer to agrarian)
        • Originally meant as form of identification vs. communication (i.e. personal marks and seals)
        • Pictographs—used for basic record-keeping
        • Cuneiform (wedge-shaped) ideographs— stylized version of pictographs
        • Phonetic alphabets—now able to record historical, religious, legal, and literary texts
      • Allowed for the standardization of grammar and personal authorship
    • Kennedy: Mesopotamia
      • Epic of Gilgamesh
        • Interaction with council of elders
        • Persuasion vs. debate
        • Prayer to gods vs. appeal to rulers/people
        • Dreams as divine rhetoric
      • Historical records
        • Reliant on brute force and dependency
        • Historical precedent not mentioned (see the Iliad)
    • Kennedy: Egypt
      • Appeals for justice
        • Persuasion vs. debate
      • Schooling
        • Grammar, style, religious, historical lore
        • Practical knowledge (building and agriculture)
      • Rhetorical canons
        • Keeping silent
        • Waiting for the right moment
        • Restraining passionate words
        • Speaking fluently but deliberately
        • Speaking the truth
    • Kennedy: Israel
      • Divine inspiration
        • God provides words to those who trust him (sixth canon)
        • Prophets as speakers from God
        • Signs and miracles
        • Covenantal persuasion
      • Rhetoric as passive
        • Responsibility of the respondent
        • True words will not fail to persuade
        • Persuasion as negative
    • Some notes on Kennedy
      • Purpose of book
      • Omissions
        • Women’s rhetoric
        • African American scholarship
        • “And isn't it rather odd that Kennedy in the first paragraph of Chapter 6 acknowledges pictographs in his discussion of writing in Mesopotamia, when before, when he discussed Aztec contributions, identified them as non-literate (115)” (Staci Perryman-Clark)
    • Lipson and Binkley: Introduction
      • Key Claim:
      • Enriching our understanding of ancient rhetorics means understanding rhetorics as situated and embedded in the cultures in which they originally existed.  However, because we have lost many of the texts and memories associated with those cultures, methodological challenges are involved with studying ancient cultural rhetorics.
      • Enabling Assumptions
        • They assume that interdisciplinary approaches can enrich our understanding of ancient cultural rhetoric.
        • Rhetorical analysis means textual analysis.  
      •  
      • Contextual Notes
        • Like Berlin, Binkley and Lipson are interested in how issues of power affect our understandings of rhetoric and how our own subjectivities provide lenses through which we view ancient cultures.
      •  
      • Limits and Questions
        • Binkley and Lipson are not interested in rethinking Greco-Roman rhetoric as the dominant rhetorical tradition, and they often refer to "alternate" or "alternative" rhetorics and rhetorical traditions. What's at stake in naming ancient cultural rhetorics as alternate or alternative?
        • Do the essays anthologized in Lipson and Binkley’s text actually do what their introduction says they do? Do they really read ancient artifacts in terms of their own cultural embeddedness?
      Lipson and Binkley: Introduction (cont.)
    • Hallo: The Birth of Rhetoric
      • Key Claims:
      • Works to expand a “high art” definition of rhetoric by arguing that educational texts and ancient epics are both canonical and rhetorical
      • Is “prepared to defend” notion
      • of Mesopotamia as the birthplace
      • of rhetoric and humanitas
      • Enabling Assumptions
        • Assumes a definition of rhetoric always concerned with persuasion and speaker/writer intention, and most often looks for stylistic tropes as evidence of rhetoric
        • Assumes that most people equate the rhetorical with the literary or belletristic
      • Contextual Notes
        • Binkley and Lipson make it clear that Hallo does not identify himself as a rhetorician, but rather as an Assyriologist.
        • Hallo has got to get in control of his use of exclamation points.
      • Limits and Questions
        • What other definitions of rhetoric might enable different understandings of Mesopotamian texts?
        • How does Hallo show the benefits and related challenges of transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary rhetorical work?
      Hallo: The Birth of Rhetoric (cont.)
    • Binkley: The Rhetoric of Origins and the Other: Reading the Ancient Figure of Enheduanna
      • Key claims:
      • Reading the texts of Enheduanna challenges conventional rhetorical quests for origins, as well as highlights ideological positioning against Other(s).
      • Mesopotamia operates as a geographical Other; Near Eastern women become gendered others “in contradistinction to the largely uncovered western female body” (55); and the goddess invoked by Enheduanna becomes the sacred other juxtaposed against the male monotheistic God of Judeo-Christian tradition
      • Enabling Assumptions:
        • Assumes that classical rhetorical notions of invention and ethos can open up generative readings of Enheduanna’s text.
      • Contextual Notes:
        • Gently critiques Kennedy for not mentioning Enheduanna in his survey of Near Eastern rhetoric and for suggesting that women of the Near East lacked agency.
      • Limits and Questions:
        • Is it fair to make the reading of ancient Othered texts about rhetoric’s dominant tradition? Is it escapable?
        • Even as she critiques origins, she falls back on them, positing Enheduanna as an example of an alternative origin. How are we supposed to deal with this? Are there alternatives?
      Binkley: Enheduanna (cont.)
    • Hoskisson and Boswell: Neo-Assyrian Rhetoric: The Example of the Third Campaign of Sennacherib (704-681 B.C.)
      • Key Claims:
      • rely on an English translation of the annals from an unidentified source to find patterns, coherence, and stylistic tropes
      • suggest that the annals helped maintain power in the kingdom, legitimizing and inductively performing an argument for the king’s right to the throne
      • Enabling Assumptions
        • assume rhetoric is persuasion
        • assume a rhetorical artifact is a linear text with a beginning, middle, and that they need to make an argument for how a text with no ending might be rhetorical
      • Contextual Notes
        • confirmatio : proof
        • confutatio : refutation
      • Limits and Questions
        • Hoskisson and Boswell never problematize the translation they use. What differences might this make in their reading?
      Hoskisson and Boswell: Neo-Assyrian Rhetoric
    • II. Ancient Greece
    • Bizzell and Herzberg: Greek Culture
      • Literacy increased during 6 th century B.C.E.
        • Pre-literate communication characterized by simplicity (concrete imagery, ritualized references, simple juxtaposition of ideas)
        • Literacy permitted complexity (logical hierarchies, generalizations appealing to reason, questioning relationship to authority and custom, disinterested criticism of ideas)
      • Rhetoric introduced as cultural force in 5 th century B.C.E.
        • Self-conscious study of the power of language
        • Use for practical ends
        • Search for/study of truth
    • Bizzell and Herzberg: The Sophists
      • Interested in exploring all branches of knowledge
      • Knowledge relies on sense perception—inherently flawed
        • Truth revealed through debate
        • Self-improvement
        • Called attention to the function of language in inducing belief (Gorgias)
          • Helen innocent because she was either bewitched, forced by a god, raped, or persuaded by powerful speech
    • Bizzell and Herzberg: Greek Women
      • Generally confined to the home
      • Limited opportunities for education
        • Some privately run schools for upper-class girls
      • Aspasia
        • Pericles’ mistress
          • Pericles’ speech in Thucydides
        • Possibly Socrates’ teacher
      • Muses and Goddesses
    • Bizzell and Herzberg: Education, Philosophy and Rhetoric
      • Isocrates
        • Previously considered one of the 10 canonical Attic orators
        • Mainly is seen in juxtaposition with Plato (his competitor).
        • Three elements of rhetorical and philosophical success were natural talent, practice, and instruction.
      • Plato
        • generally characterized as a philosopher vs. teacher
        • taught that discourse should uncover absolute truth, not just induce belief in probable truth
        • Defines false rhetoric as rhetoric that relies on the situation to determine probable knowledge and true rhetoric as the method that the philosopher and pupil use to free themselves from conventional beliefs and worldly encumbrances in pursuit of absolute truth.
    • Bizzell and Herzberg: Education, Philosophy and Rhetoric (cont.)
      • Aristotle
        • Pupil of Plato’s and teacher of Alexander’s
        • Attempted to put all knowledge in systematic order (rhetoric was a part)
        • Defined rhetoric as the art of discovering the means of persuasion available for any occasion (30), and strongly encouraged audience consideration
        • The originator of the five canons of rhetoric
        • Absolute truth only available through scientific demonstration
    • Bizzell and Herzberg: Rhetoric in Rome
      • Roman power increased as Greek culture became dispersed
        • Picked up Greek rhetorical practices/studies from assimilated Greek colonies in the Italian peninsula
      • Women in Rome were afforded a bit more social presence
        • Their importance as educators of their children was highlighted
        • Occasionally allowed to speak in public settings
    • Bizzell and Herzberg: Rhetoric in Rome (cont.)
      • Greek rhetorical education was the model for Roman education
      • Cicero
        • Illustrated the five-part process for composing a speech (taken from Aristotle): invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery
        • Had high aspirations for the rhetor’s social power.
      • Quintillian
        • Argued that rhetoric was to be used for moral ends
        • Encouraged following Cicero’s unadorned style vs. that of the Sophists
        • Goal was to produce “a good man speaking well”; i.e. one who was committed to both seeking truth and performing social services
    • Notes on Bizzell and Herzberg
      • Purpose of text
      • Limitations
        • Fragmented or lost texts
    • Berlin: Revisionary Histories of Rhetoric: Politics, Power, and Plurality
      • Key Claims:
      • In the face of postmodern theories which challenge master narratives, rhetorical studies must write contextualized histories while clearly articulating methodologies and biases
      • There is always a plurality of rhetorics, and “the revisionary historian of rhetoric must realize that there are also numerous rhetorics of the past that never attained enough currency in their own day to offer a serious challenge to the powerful” (117)
    • Berlin: Revisionary Histories of Rhetoric (cont.)
        • Key claims (cont.)
        • “ All historians are interested, writing their narratives from a particular ideological position. It is impossible to become a tabula rasa innocently recording the raw data of the historical record. For one thing, the raw data is imply too overwhelming to be dealt with without selection, and some ideological principle will always guide the selection” (121).
        • Ultimately argues for “provisional, contingent narratives in explaining the past and present” (124).
      • Enabling Assumptions
        • Assumes we can get outside our own assumptions and ideologies enough to and articulate them openly as part of our methodology
      • Contextual Notes
        • Berlin, for many rhetoric and compositionists, represents particular theories and pedagogies related to social-constructivism and critical pedagogy. Berlin alludes to this throughout the piece as he talks about his own “lenses” that emphasize radical democracy.
        • Diachronic means understanding language changes over time, while synchronic means having access to the linguistic system of a particular time without reference to its context.
      Berlin: Revisionary Histories of Rhetoric (cont.)
    • Berlin: Revisionary Histories of Rhetoric (cont.)
      • Limits and Questions
        • Berlin is talking about limitations within the dominant Greco-Roman Rhetorical tradition. In other words, when calling for “revisions” to the traditions, he focuses on the lack of attention to Greco-Roman women, to sophists associated with the Greek tradition, and to the time periods in Europe—such as the Middle Ages and the late nineteenth century—which prove difficult for scholars who try to trace linear narratives.
    • Methodological Application
      • Group 1: What information would you need to know (contextual, historical, etc.) in order to read this text in its own context? Use specific examples from the text to explain.
      • Group 2. How does this text exemplify or not exemplify rhetoric? Articulate the definition of rhetoric under which you are operating as you make your claim.
      • Group 3. Using what you’ve read for this week, develop a methodology for a close reading of this artifact. What can you gather about the meaning of the poem from what you have in front of you? What ideologies or assumptions are enabling your reading of the text?
    • Concluding Questions
      • From what this week’s readings tell us, what are five possible canons of Near Eastern rhetoric?
      • Do methodologies for studying ancient cultural rhetorics always have to be rooted in textual analysis? Why or why not?
      • Berlin suggests that to tell our history we must rely on contingent narratives that we constantly revise. Do you agree? Is there another possibility?