Digital Rhetoric with Dr. Hauman, January 2020
Response 1 Readings: The Rhetorical Tradition: “General Introduction” and Digital Rhetoric: “Introduction” The “General Introduction”
Readings: The Rhetorical Tradition: “General Introduction” and Digital Rhetoric: “Introduction”
The “General Introduction” in the Rhetorical Tradition covered the highlights of the long and rich history of rhetoric, from its prominence in classical society (Aristotle) to its association to all, everyday language in the twentieth century (Kenneth Burke). He details influential thinkers and trends that can be observed in the Classical Period (birth in ancient Greece to about 400 c.e.), the Medieval Period(to about 1400), the Renaissance Period (to about 1700), the Enlightenment Period (late 17th through the 18th century), the Nineteenth Century, and the Modern and Postmodern Period (twentieth century). Throughout the ages, a few themes remain consistent: the relationship between knowledge and communication and exploration of the complexities between communication and persuasion. Another factor that changes overtime is the demographic allowed to participate in rhetoric, whether in academia or in the public sphere. From the beginning, elite males were able to study rhetoric and participate in public discourse, which was extremely influential in society. Eventually, women and those of color were reluctantly able to participate, but usually on a confined number of subjects or wouldn’t be able to due to safety concerns (for example, in the United States, women were confined to speaking politically about the condition of the home and family publicly until the 1920s. Many people of color worried for their safety due increase of lynchings in the 1930s). So while the definition of rhetoric is very flexible, there are some components that were established early on that still holds merit today.
For example, The five part process of preparing a speech remains a cornerstone for the study of rhetoric (the steps of Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery). The three forms of persuasive appeal are also introduced, logos (reason), pathos (emotion), and ethos (authority), which are still taught today. Speaking of today, many of the rhetoricians that were cited as being significant are also famous political theorists and we are required to read for my political theory course (and also Political Theory II which is more modern and talks about Locke and Nietzsche). It makes sense because the theorists must answer the detail their cosmology and oftentimes their epistemology (which means the way that we gain knowledge, as I just learned!) So I would like to attempt to analyze that aspect in future readings if I can and also practice my analyzation skills upon the thoughts of authors when discussing the relationship between communication and knowledge.
I would also like to emphasize the argument presented by Virginia Woolf and expand it slightly. Not only has there been a void of rhetorical expression by white women and people of color, but also the LGBTQ+ community. These social barriers caused the field to only recently expand beyond the expiration of heteronormative and traditional gender roles. Allowing for the development of rhetorical expression for these groups continues to enrich the field further, giving insight to previously marginalized populations.
As for the “Introduction” to Digital Rhetoric, Douglas Eyman wrote a technology literacy narrative in order for the audience to understand why he chose to write about rhetoric in specific lenses: history, methods, and practice. He also includes his professional qualifications (establishing his ethos) and a quick summary of the chapters. I think one of the smaller points made, but I actually really like was his observation of a choice that he and his brother were forced to negotiate. They had to choose between using the television and the internet. (My favorite comedian Hasan Minaj does a bit about this in a special; I highly recommend it!) While this may seem silly, Eyman has a point! Individuals were given a choice whether to seek out their entertainment through a computer and have more agency over the creation and interacting abilities, or to consume entertainment. Even the ability and access to becoming a creator increased. Participating in online communities, like social media, is considered to be customary and essential in some places.
500 words from the readings. “untangle and grapple with complex ideas, ask questions, discover how you feel, agree and argue with the authors we read.” “proof that you understand what we’ve read.” “make connections between what we’ve read and other texts and experience.”