The Questions We Are Taught to Ask: A History of Teaching Rhetorical Criticism and Coming to Terms with Symbolically Mediated Influence
AuthorHaker, Ute Marlies
AdvisorMiller, Thomas P.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoEmbargo: Release after 5/4/2012
AbstractThis dissertation explores why, how, and to whom rhetorical criticism was taught in the four most noteworthy locations of a systematic rhetorical criticism instruction up to the end of the twentieth century: the schools of Isocrates, Plato, and Aristotle in ancient Greece and the twentieth-century speech communication discipline in the United States. The study shows that Isocrates, Plato, and Aristotle had clearly recognized the analysis of public speeches (and by extension the analysis of other symbolically mediated influence) as constituting a symbolic capital of the highest order and the core of their intellectual and pedagogical interest in the art of the word or rhetoric. It was precisely their recognition of rhetorical criticism's intellectual worth that prompted the three master teachers to reserve a systematic instruction in rhetorical criticism for Athens' future leaders. By contrast, the twentieth-century speech communication discipline found itself caught between a goal to teach production-oriented public speaking courses and a goal to function as a modern research discipline. Neither twentieth-century objective valued and supported rhetorical criticism as speech communication's intellectual foundation and as an advanced form of listening, reading, seeing, and thinking in which all members of the modern mass education system are entitled to receive an easily accessible, systematic, and explicit training. Both in ancient Greece and in the twentieth-century United States a systematic instruction in the analysis of symbolically mediated influence was made available to some but not others.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English