The Ethics and Politics of Speech: Communication and Rhetoric in the Twentieth Century

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Vital Speeches of the Day. Voices of multicultural America : notable speeches delivered by African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans, We shall be heard : an index to speeches by American women, to Words that shook the world : years of unforgettable speeches and events. Preparing Your Speech Analysis of a Speech. How to Give an Effective Presentation. UW Library Databases These library databases include publications that often print the transcripts of speeches. Includes "Vital Speeches of the Day" publication. Nexis Uni This link opens in a new window.

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Includes transcripts of television shows and newspapers - both are worth checking for speech transcripts. Speeches and Speechmakers Maintained by the University of Iowa Department of Communication Studies, this site provides links to information about analyzing and writing speeches, as well as to various online speech archives. Speeches Online American Rhetoric Includes full text, audio, and video versions of public speeches, movies, songs, and more.

Gifts of Speech: Women's Speeches from Around the World This site preserves and provides access to speeches by "influential contemporary women" from around the world. Browse for speeches by speakers' name or by year and see a list of the "Top American Speeches of the 20th century".

History Channel. From Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps the most influential development in English style came out of the work of the Royal Society founded in , which in set up a committee to improve the English language. Sprat regarded "fine speaking" as a disease, and thought that a proper style should "reject all amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style" and instead "return back to a primitive purity and shortness" History of the Royal Society , While the work of this committee never went beyond planning, John Dryden is often credited with creating and exemplifying a new and modern English style.

His central tenet was that the style should be proper "to the occasion, the subject, and the persons". As such, he advocated the use of English words whenever possible instead of foreign ones, as well as vernacular, rather than Latinate, syntax. His own prose and his poetry became exemplars of this new style. Arguably one of the most influential schools of rhetoric during this time was Scottish Belletristic rhetoric, exemplified by such professors of rhetoric as Hugh Blair whose Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres saw international success in various editions and translations.

At the turn of the 20th century, there was a revival of rhetorical study manifested in the establishment of departments of rhetoric and speech at academic institutions, as well as the formation of national and international professional organizations. Kuypers and Andrew King suggest that the early interest in rhetorical studies was a movement away from elocution as taught in departments of English in the United States, and was an attempt to refocus rhetorical studies away from delivery only to civic engagement.

Collectively, they write, twentieth century rhetorical studies offered an understanding of rhetoric that demonstrated a "rich complexity" of how rhetorical scholars understood the nature of rhetoric. The rise of advertising and of mass media such as photography , telegraphy , radio , and film brought rhetoric more prominently into people's lives. More recently the term rhetoric has been applied to media forms other than verbal language, e. Visual rhetoric.

Rhetoric can be analyzed by a variety of methods and theories. One such method is criticism. When those using criticism analyze instances of rhetoric what they do is called rhetorical criticism see section below.

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According to rhetorical critic Jim A. Kuypers , "The use of rhetoric is an art; as such, it does not lend itself well to scientific methods of analysis. Criticism is an art as well; as such, it is particularly well suited for examining rhetorical creations. For example, in the Sciences researchers purposefully adhere to a strict method the scientific method. All scientific researchers are to use this same basic method, and successful experiments must be percent replicable by others.

The application of the scientific method may take numerous forms, but the overall method remains the same—and the personality of the researcher is excised from the actual study. In sharp contrast, criticism one of many Humanistic methods of generating knowledge actively involves the personality of the researcher.

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The very choices of what to study, and how and why to study a rhetorical artifact are heavily influenced by the personal qualities of the researcher. In criticism this is especially important since the personality of the critic considered an integral component of the study. Further personalizing criticism, we find that rhetorical critics use a variety of means when examining a particular rhetorical artifact, with some critics even developing their own unique perspective to better examine a rhetorical artifact.

Edwin Black rhetorician wrote on this point that, "Methods, then, admit of varying degrees of personality. And criticism, on the whole, is near the indeterminate, contingent, personal end of the methodological scale. In consequence of this placement, it is neither possible nor desirable for criticism to be fixed into a system, for critical techniques to be objectified, for critics to be interchangeable for purposes of [scientific] replication, or for rhetorical criticism to serve as the handmaiden of quasi-scientific theory.

Jim A. Kuypers sums this idea of criticism as art in the following manner: "In short, criticism is an art, not a science.

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It is not a scientific method; it uses subjective methods of argument; it exists on its own, not in conjunction with other methods of generating knowledge i. There does not exist an analytic method that is widely recognized as "the" rhetorical method, partly because many in rhetorical study see rhetoric as merely produced by reality see dissent from that view below. It is important to note that the object of rhetorical analysis is typically discourse, and therefore the principles of "rhetorical analysis" would be difficult to distinguish from those of " discourse analysis ".

However, rhetorical analytic methods can also be applied to almost anything, including objects—a car, a castle, a computer, a comportment. Generally speaking, rhetorical analysis makes use of rhetorical concepts ethos, logos, kairos, mediation, etc. When the object of study happens to be some type of discourse a speech, a poem, a joke, a newspaper article , the aim of rhetorical analysis is not simply to describe the claims and arguments advanced within the discourse, but more important to identify the specific semiotic strategies employed by the speaker to accomplish specific persuasive goals.

Therefore, after a rhetorical analyst discovers a use of language that is particularly important in achieving persuasion, she typically moves onto the question of "How does it work? There are some scholars who do partial rhetorical analysis and defer judgments about rhetorical success. In other words, some analysts attempt to avoid the question of "Was this use of rhetoric successful [in accomplishing the aims of the speaker]? This question allows a shift in focus from the speaker's objectives to the effects and functions of the rhetoric itself.

Rhetorical strategies are the efforts made by authors to persuade or inform their readers. Rhetorical strategies are employed by writers and refer to the different ways they can persuade the reader. According to Gray, there are various argument strategies used in writing. He describes four of these as argument from analogy, argument from absurdity, thought experiments, and inference to the best explanation. Modern rhetorical criticism explores the relationship between text and context; that is, how an instance of rhetoric relates to circumstances.

Since the aim of rhetoric is to be persuasive, the level to which the rhetoric in question persuades its audience is what must be analyzed, and later criticized. In determining the extent to which a text is persuasive, one may explore the text's relationship with its audience, purpose, ethics, argument, evidence, arrangement, delivery, and style. The antithetical view places the rhetor at the center of creating that which is considered the extant situation; i. Following the neo-Aristotelian approaches to criticism, scholars began to derive methods from other disciplines, such as history, philosophy, and the social sciences.

Throughout the s and s, methodological pluralism replaced the singular neo-Aristotelian method.

Judith Butler. Ethics and Politics After the Subject. 2009 4/8

Methodological rhetorical criticism is typically done by deduction, where a broad method is used to examine a specific case of rhetoric. By the mids, however, the study of rhetorical criticism began to move away from precise methodology towards conceptual issues. Conceptually driven criticism [85] operates more through abduction, according to scholar James Jasinski , who argues that this emerging type of criticism can be thought of as a back-and-forth between the text and the concepts, which are being explored at the same time.

The concepts remain "works in progress", and understanding those terms develops through the analysis of a text. Criticism is considered rhetorical when it focuses on the way some types of discourse react to situational exigencies—problems or demands—and constraints. This means that modern rhetorical criticism is based in how the rhetorical case or object persuades, defines, or constructs the audience.

Teaching English in the Two-Year College, Vol. 39, No. 1, September

In modern terms, what can be considered rhetoric includes, but it is not limited to, speeches, scientific discourse, pamphlets, literary work, works of art, and pictures. Contemporary rhetorical criticism has maintained aspects of early neo-Aristotelian thinking through close reading, which attempts to explore the organization and stylistic structure of a rhetorical object. Rhetorical criticism serves several purposes or functions. First, rhetorical criticism hopes to help form or improve public taste.

It helps educate audiences and develops them into better judges of rhetorical situations by reinforcing ideas of value, morality, and suitability. Rhetorical criticism can thus contribute to the audience's understanding of themselves and society. According to Jim A. Kuypers , a dual purpose for performing criticism should be primarily to enhance our appreciation and understanding.

These are not hollow goals, but quality of life issues.


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