Introduction to Rhetoric and Writing for English Majors


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A couple of these slides were shared with me by Doug Eyman in the GMU English department, they're the ones with the code on the bottom.

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  • Taste is in the reader; eloquence in the writer. If taste is privileged, then the reading of literature has higher value than eloquence in writing
  • Introduction to Rhetoric and Writing for English Majors

    1. 1. Writing and Rhetoric
    2. 2. “Writing---the art ofcommunicatingthoughts to the mind,through the eye---isthe great invention ofthe world.”Abraham Lincoln
    3. 3. What is writing?Writing is a tool of thinkingWriting is a means of learningWriting is a tool for communicationWriting is a method of self-representationWriting is a tool of knowledge creationAcross space and time …
    4. 4. What counts as writing?
    5. 5. Process Domain Specific Content KnowledgeRhetoric Genre KnowledgeDiscourse Community Knowledge
    6. 6. College Board. (2000). Writing a ticket to work...or a ticket out: A survey of business leaders. RetrievedDecember 3, 2009, from
    7. 7. The History of Writing• De-familiarizing the familiar
    8. 8. 30,000 BC
    9. 9. Chauvet Cave, near the village ofVallon-Pont-d’ Arc, France
    10. 10. The Origins of Writing• The available evidence shows that writing arose autochthonously in three places of the world: in Mesopotamia, about 3200 BC, in China about 1250 BC, and in Mesoamerica around 650 BC. – Autochthonously: Adj. Originating where found; indigenous: autochthonous rocks; an autochthonous people; autochthonous folktales. See synonyms at native.
    11. 11. Sumerians created the first writtenlanguage based on abstract signsaround 3000 B.C.E. Imprints of thesigns, called cuneiform, were madeby pressing a wedge-shaped stylusinto wet clay.
    12. 12. • In China, the earliest written event, name of a person or object was found marked on large animal bones or tortoise shalls. The earliest of marks on these bones date from about 1600BC. These scratch marks are ideographs, similar in principle but not related to Mesopotamian and Egyptian symbols used for writing. These are the so-called Chinese Oracle Bone Inscriptions (jiaguwen) which were found at the site of the last Shang capital near present-day, Henan province.
    13. 13. This is the earliest form of Chinese writing, used probablyfrom the Middle to the Late Shang dynasty (approximately1500 BC ?? to 1000 BC). Most of the time, this script wasetched onto turtle shells and animals bones, which werethen used for divination in the royal court.
    14. 14. Early Meso-American WritingThe Dresden Codex: circa 650BCE
    15. 15. How Writing Started …
    16. 16. The Invention of Printing• The invention of printing is considered to be one of the defining inventions for the advancement of civilization. Printing was invented in China, possibly between the 4th and 7th century AD. Gutenbergs movable type printing press about 1450 AD is often cited as the single greatest invention for world civilization.
    17. 17. Writing and Knowledge
    18. 18. • The Fabrica filled revolutionary drawings of human anatomy. This work marks the turning point in the understanding of the human body.
    19. 19. Leonard Fuchs New Kreiterbuch (1543) a texton the medicinal properties ofplants "which marked the beginning of thebotanical textbook”.
    20. 20. Robert Hookes Micrographia "the first greatwork devoted to microscopicalobservations (1665)
    21. 21. Writing in the Digital Age
    22. 22. What role do texts and writing play in a networked world?
    23. 23. Three kinds of writing• Knowledge telling• Knowledge transforming• Knowledge crafting
    24. 24. Rhetoric Rhetoric can be used as both analytic and productive art Analytic → Analysis Heuristic → Production
    25. 25. DefinitionsAristotle: Rhetoric is “the faculty of discovering in anyparticular case all of the available means of persuasion.”Cicero: “Rhetoric is one great art comprised of fivelesser arts: invention, arrangement, style, memory, anddelivery." Rhetoric is "speech designed to persuade.”Quintilian: “Rhetoric is the art of speaking well" or "...agood person speaking well.”
    26. 26. Aristotle’s Rhetoric provides a solid foundation for practicing, learning, and teaching communication, including writing It Logos (Text) Purpose Kairos (Urgent and Non-Trivial) I Ethos You Pathos (Speaker) (Audience)
    27. 27. Persuasive Communication• Rhetoric: The ability in any particular case to see all the available means of persuasion (Aristotle, The Rhetoric). – Being persuasive is an ability • It can be developed through study and practice – Will give you more options to accomplish your communication goals – There are multiple means of persuasion • But, first be clear about your purpose • Know your audience • Use ethos, logos, and pathos
    28. 28. Classical Rhetoric: AristotleAristotle named three rhetorical appeals Logos: logical appeal Pathos: emotional appeal Ethos: ethical appeal
    29. 29. Classical Rhetoric: AristotleBranch Time Purposes TopicsJudicial Past accuse or defend justice/injusticeDeliberative Future exhort or good/unworthy dissuadeEpideictic Present praise or blame virtue/vice
    30. 30. In College Writing You Must Develop Your Logical Argumentation Abilities LOGOS = LOGICAL ARGUMENTATION Purpose Kairos (Urgent and Non-Trivial) I Ethos You Pathos(Writer) (Audience(s))
    31. 31. Contemporary research also adds a great deal to ourunderstanding of what works in communication, and writing in particular
    32. 32. Cicero 3 functions of oratory – teach, delight, and move• INFORM: What do I want my audience to know?• ENTERTAIN: What do I want my audience to feel?• PERSUADE: What do I want my audience to do?
    33. 33. Characteristics of rhetorical discourse1. Planned2. Adapted to an audience3. Shaped by human motives4. Responsive to a situation5. Persuasion-seeking6. Concerned with contingent issues
    34. 34. Social functions of the art of rhetoric1. Rhetoric tests ideas2. Rhetoric assists advocacy3. Rhetoric distributes power4. Rhetoric discovers facts5. Rhetoric shapes knowledge6. Rhetoric builds community
    35. 35. Ethos = credibility• What counts as credibility differs among groups of people• OKeefe (1990) defined credibility as "judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator"• In other words “credibility is in the eye of the beholder”
    36. 36. • The two most important elements in establishing credibility are expertise and trustworthiness
    37. 37. Credibility is subject to change over time
    38. 38. What will compromiseyour credibility in theshort and long term?
    39. 39. • A single spelling error on a resume of cover letter could seriously undermine your competitiveness in applying for an internship or job.
    40. 40. Two kinds of credibility
    41. 41. Extrinsic: what people know aboutyou before they read your work or hear you speak
    42. 42. Intrinsic: what we do within acommunication setting through our actions.
    43. 43. Putting ethos to work in your writing• Know your material• Cite evidence (Reinard, J.C. (1988) Human Communication Research, 15,3-59).• Share your interest, experience, and expertise• Have your reader’s best interest in mind• Identify similarities with your reader• If you lack extrinsic credibility increase your reader’s involvement with the topic, which will help focus them on the topic more than the messenger (Petty and Cacioppa, 1986).
    44. 44. Definitions of rhetoric shift in the 1700s: Belletristic RhetoricHugh Blair: Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles LettresAlexander Jamieson: A Grammar of Rhetoric and Polite LiteraturePrivilege the reader’s “taste” over the writer’s “eloquence”: reading and study of literature have more value than the production of eloquent writing
    45. 45. Rhetoric and English Studies• Focus on “Belletristic Rhetoric” in the mid-1800s opens the way for the establishment of the study of the literary arts as a focus for English departments.• Meanwhile, the first “tech writing” course is offered in 1860, for specific situations: English + Engineering = Technical Writing