COMM 401Interpreting Strategic DiscourseWeek Five Identity
Studying Identity Race-Class-Gender Studies Identity of speaker Identity of audiences Impact of identity on message production and reception
Women’s Rhetorical History Women have not just been observers, they have played an integral part in developing our rhetorical traditions Women's presence mentioned by Plato & Aristotle Women often used conversation and writing to show their competence and pursue intellectual interests. In the 18th and 19th centuries, women started giving speeches for their rights and against slavery. As women had more access to education, they started entering the public domain more.
Six Reasons for Women’s Exclusion from Rhetorical History Women feel rather than think Women empathize rather than argue Women are robbed of eloquence by conception, gestation, and birth Women who speak in public sacrifice their womanhood Women who speak in public sacrifice their reproductive capabilities Women who speak in public are “unsexed”
Powerful Female Leadership Medieval/Enlightenment Leaders: Medieval period marked a change in the cultural scene, increasing opportunities for education for girls and women. Powerful female leaders emerged Women began to have the opportunity to exercise power via rhetorical skills However, still little historical record of women’s rhetoric Very few women were taught to read Emergence of Christian women as social-activist orators created a new sense of sexual equality
Christine de Pizan, 1364-1430 Taught medieval women about persuasion and public speaking Sought to show that: women could develop their minds and still achieve a good afterlife woman’s intellect and words could empower her gender Widowed at age 25, she began writing to make money. Some feminist scholars date the beginning of the modern feminist movement to her works She was France’s, and possibly Europe’s, first woman known to have earned her living through writing.
Margaret Fell, 1614-1702 The spread of Protestant Christianity promoted women’s education. Women were still not allowed to attend universities. However, some protestant groups encouraged using preaching to address social evils Margaret Fell a key figure of Quakerism a prolific writer an activist She used biblical passages to argue that women: Were equal to man Could be involved in public ministry Had the right to speak in public
Mary Astell, 1666-1731 One of the first English protofeminists Demonstrated that women have the ability to participate in rhetorical activities Astell insisted: on women’s right to participate in the rhetorical tradition that custom, not nature, produced inferior women that women and men were intellectual equals, but lack of education held women back
Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759-1797 The first to insist that women’s nature was basically the same as men’s: free, rational, and independent She believed and argued that: reason would lead the way to a progressive social order women had the right to participate in public debates the position of women in a given culture is not natural but is produced by that culture Wrote a book: Vindication of the Rights of Women A feminist manifesto Arguing that the rights of man should be extended to women
Waves of Feminism—First Wave (1840-1925) Specific events: Mid/late 1700s—revolutions in France and America 1792—Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women 1848—Seneca Falls Convention 1890s—Suffrage movement begins 1918—Women win right to vote in U.K. 1920—Women win right to vote in U.S.
Waves of Feminism—Second Wave (1960-1995) Also called women’s liberation movement Grew out of New Left politics Protested Vietnam war Fought for civil rights New Left men treated women as subordinates 1964: women in SNCC challenged sexism in New Left male members unresponsive 1965: women in SDS also found no receptivity Many women withdrew and formed their own organization Basic principle: oppression of women is fundamental form of oppression on which others are modeled Relied on “rap” groups Ensured equal participation Identification of structural basis of oppression The personal is political
Waves of Feminism—Third Wave (1997-?) Recognize women differ in many ways Commitment to building alliances with men Leads to understanding of intersections among forms of privilege and oppression Social change requires efforts from both sides Power exercised and resisted in local situations Goal to incorporate structural changes wrought by second wave into life Challenging racist comments Confronting homophobic attitudes Examine class privilege
Race & Rhetoric—Critiquing Liberalism What has liberalism meant for race/how does liberalism confront race? Is liberalism meaningfully dealing with the material inequalities of race? What does the rhetoric of liberalism and race mean for oppositional voices? Examples in rhetoric: MLK vs. Malcolm X
Other Critiques of Liberalism Other identity-based rhetorics employ a critique of liberalism: Gay rights/Gay marriage Latina/o rights Disability Activists
Identity & Rhetoric—Narrative Rooted in the power of narrative in the formation of moral reason/public discourse Recognizes the power of non-narrative technical rhetoric to oppress Rhetorical examples: slave narratives/civil rights testimony
Identity & Rhetoric—Narrative Other identity movements employ rhetorics of narrative, both to highlight injustice and to memorialize their own history Stonewall Uprising The 1965 Easter March from Delano to Sacramento
Revisioning & Revalorizing Revisioning rhetorics recognize that the revealed and conventional narratives of race and civil rights are often sanitized and naturalized (hegemony) Revalorization strives to find lost voices, create new canons, rewrite existing visions of greatness Rhetorical examples: Rosa Parks; Thurgood Marshall
Revisioning/Revalorism—Name the Orator
Revalorism at Work—Name the Orator
Revalorism—Name the Orator
Structuralism & Materialism Race relations and considerations of race are as much about economy and materiality as about values Explore rhetorics for how they manifest or mask these concerns Rhetorical Examples: Oprah; Clarence Thomas How do structural and material factors influence and affect the rhetoric of other identity groups? Role of class/privilege? Immigration?
Essentialism & Non-essentialism Essentialism is the view that a given entity entails characteristics or properties that all individual units must possess. Non-essentialism denies this vision of essentialism. Rhetorical examples: eugenics; miscegenation; segregation How do essentialist rhetorics affect current rhetorics of identity? Gay marriage Immigration—Americanism
COMM 401Interpreting Strategic DiscourseWeek Five Culture
Culture of Strategic Discourse Culture = a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period. Lots of different meanings of culture: biological, anthropological, sociological, etc. To discuss the “culture” of strategic discourse is to highlight important dynamics of the contemporary condition that affects the circulation of discourse/rhetoric. Examine two dynamics of the culture of strategic discourse: journalism & popular culture
Journalism & Strategic Discourse 1833 Ben Day’s New York Sun Elemental and emotional Cheap material…mass produced (technology) Flippant but readable Assumes widespread literacy for success Jacksonian Democracy and egalitarianism. James Gordon Bennett’s New York Herald, 1835 The “Extra” Starts the first “letters column” Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, 1841 Supports Henry Clay and “Manifest Destiny” Social engineering
Journalism & Strategic Discourse Yellow Journalism Newspapers based on: Human-interest/crime stories Large headlines Readable copy Celebrity news; sensationalism Investigative reporting Hearst’s New York Journal Pulitzer’s New York World
Journalism & Strategic Discourse Objectivity Ochs and the New York Times. Times became the newspaper of record— found in libraries, etc. Provided a contrast to yellow press. Inverted pyramid style Most important summary info in first paragraph Least important material last (can be cut) Who, What , When, Where, Why, How. Brief, accurate writing style. Does the style make news bland?
Journalism & Strategic Discourse Media Changes: USA Today (TV-shaped vending box; introduced in 1982). Gannett Color Brief, almost broadcast-length copy Broader cultural changes Less reading MTV; 24-hour news Since 1994, the Internet Drudge Report (breaks Lewinsky story) Reduced standards for journalism accuracy?
Journalism & Strategic Discourse Bias Is the news media biased? If no, is that a good thing? Should the news media be biased? If yes, what is the nature of the bias? How would we describe it?
Journalism & Strategic Discourse D’Alessio and Allen (Journal of Communication, 2000) examined 59 scholarly studies of news media bias using a meta-analysis—a method that combines numerous studies to determine larger knowledge claims. They examined studies of news media bias in presidential election campaigns. They discover no statistically significant bias in newspaper coverage. They conclude there is a small, coverage bias in television news (52.7% airtime for Democrats; 47.3% for Republicans). They find a slight pro-Republican bias in major newsmagazine coverage of presidential elections. Overall, any bias is insubstantial. Most discussions of news media bias are subjective, impressionistic, and anecdotal (Goldberg, Alterman, FAIR, AIM).
Popular Culture & Strategic Discourse Popular Culture = the arts, artifacts, entertainment, fads, beliefs and values that are shared by large segments of society. Continued media proliferation expands the range and reach of popular culture. Tension: High Culture vs. Popular Culture Matthew Arnold: Culture is properly described as the love of perfection; it is the study of perfection; it is to know the best that has been said and thought in the world.
Understanding Popular Culture The Historical Approach— Social historians attempt to understand the role of popular culture in explaining the past. Studies include examinations of the development of literacy, the history of the book, the role and place of particular examples of popular culture, etc.
Levine on Shakespeare in 19th century America
Shakespeare’s plays were frequently performed all over the U.S. Audiences were diverse and complex—like today’s sports crowds. Shakespeare’s values, morality, and form were ideally suited to 19th century America
Understanding Popular Culture The Anthropological Approach Structuralism relies on language and a structure or framework of order Popular culture becomes a means for a society/collectivity to structure its systems and relationships Interpretivism sees popular culture not as a representation of structure and order, but as a symbolic force that creates it. Allows for the possibility of disorder and post-structures to emerge.
Understanding Popular Culture The Sociological Approach— Production-of-culture: How does a society produce, manufacture, market, sell culture? What do such processes tell us about the culture? Culture and popular culture are manufactured products—not simply/only repositories of meaning. Concerned with the cultural production of fads, icons, celebrity, etc.
Understanding Popular Culture The Literary Approach Appreciates and analyzes the symbolic, the meaning-centered sense of popular culture texts. Focus is less on how the texts operate in culture, but the meanings they produce, the messages they communicate. Such criticism is performed for aesthetic purposes, ideological purposes, etc.
COMM 401Interpreting Strategic DiscourseWeek Five Delivery
Homeric Rhetoric Homer lived in an oral society Rhetors were bards – storytellers Homeric orator learns by imitation and repetition Speech is extempore and comes from God
Delivery—(pronunciatio) Demosthenes—three greatest qualities for a good speaker: “Delivery, delivery, delivery” Rhetorica ad Herennium: Conversational delivery Debating delivery Pathetic delivery Cicero believed strong delivery came from nature.
Delivery—(pronunciatio) Quintilian saw a blending of nature and training in good delivery. Articulated the relationship between emotions, delivery, vocal quality, gesturing.
Delivery in the Second Sophistic Second Sophistic Lasted from 50 A.D. to 400 A.D. “a period of oratorical excess in which the subject matter became less important than the interest in safer matters like the externals of speech, especially style and delivery.” One form of oratory (“Asianism,” “Ionian,” or “Ephesian”) was particularly prone to “theatrical excess.” Philostratus claimed such oratory was “flowery, bombastic, full of startling metaphors, too metrical, too dependent on the tricks of rhetoric, too emotional.”
Rhetorical Delivery & the Middle Ages Grammar/Verse (arspoetriae) Concerned with correctness in language and with analysis of literature Laid claim to all uses of language Letter Writing (arsdistaminis) Dictated by the demands of the culture Imitated a classical approach to rhetoric and applied it to letter writing Preaching (arspraedicandi) Preaching was the “characteristic form of oratory” in the Middle Ages Exceptional preachers include: Leo the Great; Gregory the Great; Thomas Aquinas
Elocution Elocution was rooted in the belief that existing rhetorical theories neglected the importance of delivery Thomas Sheridan (Lectures on Elocution-1762) condemned Locke and others for not discussing delivery. They also observed poor delivery in churches, government, schools, etc. Why study delivery? Allows for a greater understanding of human nature Only canon of rhetoric not attacked in the modern era English was a good language for public speaking and oratory
Neglect of Delivery In The Art of Speaking in Public (1727), British clergyman John “Orator” Henley complained that Aristotle didn’t offer any rules about delivery. Quintilian’s advice on delivery was only appropriate for legal speaking. Problem was belief that delivery came from nature.
Poor Delivery in England “It proceeds, perhaps, from this our national virtue, that our orators are observed to make use of less gesture or action than those of other countries. Our preachers stand stock-still in the pulpit, and will not so much as move a finger to set off the best sermons in the world. We meet with the same speaking statues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a smooth, continued stream, without those strainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majesty of the hand, which are so much celebrated in the orators of Greece and Rome. We can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper in a discourse which turns upon everything that is dear to us.” The Works of the Right Honorable Joseph Addison, 1811
Sheridan’s Rules Force: the orator should “fix his eyes upon that part of his auditory which is farthest from him,” and “mechanically endeavour to pitch his voice so as that it may reach them.” Speed Correction: “The most effectual method will be, to lay aside an hour every morning, to be employed in the practice of reading aloud, in a manner, much slower than necessary.” “To improve the pronunciation of vowels and consonants, these sounds should be repeated over and over again.” Accents: “lay the accent always on the same syllable, and the same letter of the syllable, which they usually do in common discourse, and to take care not to lay any accent or stress, upon any other syllable.”
Elocution Influences on elocution: Relationship between the voice and gesture Faculty psychology Connections between invention and delivery Critiques of contemporary delivery practice Elocution created a series of rules and guidelines for correct/effective delivery (p. 192) Most notable work of elocution was Gilbert Austin’s Chironomia (1806)
Austin’s Chironomia Delivery was important to “conceal in some degree the blemishes of the composition, or the matter delivered, and...add lustre to its beauties.” Delivery was an ignored, understudied canon. Chapter breakdown: Two on voice One on Countenance One on Reading One on Declamation One on Oratory One on Acting Fifteen chapters on gesture
Elocution "The human figure being supposed to be so placed within this sphere, that the centre of the breast shall coincide with its centre, and that the diameter of the horizontal circle perpendicular to a radius drawn to the projecting point, shall pass through the shoulders, the positions and motions of the arms are referred to and determined by these circles and their intersections" (Chironomia Plate 2, Figure 18.)
Elocution The position of the orator is equally removed from the awkwardness of the rustic with toes turned in and knees bent, and from the affectation of the dancing-master, constrained and prepared for springing agility, and for conceited display" (Chironomia Plate 1, Figures 8, 9).
Elocution Clasped, crossed, and folded hand positions. (Chironomia Plate 8, Figures 75, 76, 78)
Elocution’s Impact Prescriptive, mechanical rules that led to excess. Ignored or minimized the close relationship between message and channel, between content and form. “voice and gesture seem much more trivial when studied by themselves than they are when studied within the context of the best possible conceptions of invention, arrangement, and style.”—Wilbur Samuel Howell, 1959
Elocution’s Impact “It is the elocutionists’ primary claim to fame in rhetorical history that they applied the tenets of science to the physiological phenomena of spoken discourse, making great contributions to human knowledge in that process…The methodology of the elocutionary movement, like that of science, was a combination of observing and recording.” Frederick W. Haberman, History of Speech Education in America, 1954.
Elocution’s Impact Contemporary focus on delivery Media and corporeality Embodied rhetoric and moving images Toastmasters