In ancient Greece, rhetoric was first and always performative -- it was
highly structured and very well understood long before being written down.
This seems a very important for us to remember, mired as we are in the
primacy of print text. I know very, very little about rhetoric outside the
west--and wish I knew much, much more.
At 03:54 PM 3/2/1999 -0800, you wrote:
>Could be, but it seems to me that, unlike other disciplines, the study
>(theorizing) of rhetoric began in only one place in the ancient
>world--ancient Greece, especially Athens, which was atypically democratic,
>that we ought to consider its relationship to two crucial factors in
>Athens: (1) an advocacy-based legal system--remember ancient Athenians
>were were more litigious than modern-day USAmericans--and (2) political
>democracy to the extent that the ability to sway a sizable crowd of voters
>translated into power.
>What I see is a tendency for rhetorical study to be narrowed to stylistics
>(language as distinguished from thought) in less democratic contexts, i.e.,
>to matters of "clarity" and decoration. In the 19th century, if I
>remember correctly, some literacy scholars argue, the differences between
>Canada and the USA in literacy education parallel differences in levels of
>democracy and industrialization, including the greater advantage to be
>gained in the US by presenting written arguments effectively.
>Where rhetoric is studied--remember Burke argues in 1950 that is is studied
>mostly in the various social sciences--is a somewhat different question, I
>In Canada, I teach the rhetoric of the political brief (in the same slot
>where I might have taught classical or Rogerian persuasion) because that
>genre seems to be a more important aspect of the political process here
>than in the USA.
>At 04:21 PM 3/2/99 -0700, you wrote:
>>Could it be that primary rhetoric--the doing of rhetoric--flourishes in
>>a democratic culture, but secondary rhetoric--the study of it--is
>>something else again, more subject to the various winds of disciplinary
>>paradigms? Certainly rhetoric is studied extensively in Canada, but not
>>often _as_ rhetoric in a collected sense. Political scientists study
>>deliberative rhetoric, law profs study forensic, etc. As for the how-to
>>side of rhetoric, it is scattered among English departments
>>(composition, often remedial and despised), public relations,journalism,
>>So my quick take would be that the lack of a discipline of rhetoric does
>>not necessarily mark Canada as anti-democratic or even anti-rhetorical.
>>[log in to unmask] wrote:
>>> Hi Cathy,
>>> You asked whether Textual Studies in Canada got covered in U.S. indexes.
>>> In fact, we've been accepted by both the MLA and CCCC. However, for the
>>> MLA we had to wait a few years, ostensibly to ensure that we were
>>> However, the fact remains that the Canadian situation in rhetoric/tech
>>> writing is difficult.
>>> This leads me to an issue that I may have raised on this list recently,
>>> but I'm not sure. In any case, I'd like some feedback in preparation for
>>> the Atlanta roundtable. (For those of you that will be there, forgive me
>>> for telegraphing my punch!)
>>> In the history of rhetoric, it's a truism that rhetoric flourishes in a
>>> free society but languishes in an autocratic culture. If this is true,
>>> why has rhetoric had such a tough slog in Canada in the 20th C.? Does
>>> the anti-rhetorical bent in post-secondary education in Canada reflect
>>> something about a latent (to some not too hidden) resistance to free
>>> thought and expression in Canada?
>>> Is the resistance to rhetoric in 20th-C. Canada rooted in an
>>> English-Canadian colonial mind? Given the English lit. curriculum through
>>> most of the century, this is probably not a trick question.
>>> Any thoughts on this? Any personal experience? Russ's comments on the
>>> difference between a writer and a Writer sheds some light here. Since a
>>> Writer is born, not made, need we bother with the writer? Whence would
>>> such an attitude arise?
>>> Henry A. Hubert, Ph.D.
>>> Office of the Dean of Arts
>>> University College of the Cariboo | Phone: 250-828-5236
>>> P.O. Box 3010 | FAX: 250-371-5510
>>> Kamloops, B. C. | E-mail: [log in to unmask]
>>> V2C 5N3
>>Co-ordinator, Undergraduate Program in Communications Studies
>>Associate Dean, Academic Programs and Faculty Affairs
>>Faculty of General Studies, University of Calgary
>>Fax: (403) 282-6716