Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases

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Overview

This collection argues that rhetorical history, both as a methodology
and as a perspective, offers insights that are central to the study of
communication and unavailable through other approaches.

The current field of communication derives from the historical study
of rhetoric. Over the last few decades, however, as the trend toward theoretical
conceptions has driven analysis and as a host of "isms" has defined
criticism, communication studies have moved away from a predominantly historical
perspective.

Yet many scholars in the field continue to find benefits in rhetorical
history. In the thirteen essays gathered here, eminent scholars address
the ongoing dialogue over the regrounding of rhetorical study and the relationship
between theory and history as well as history and criticism in the field.
Some examine the conceptual issues involved in the juncture of rhetoric
and history; others offer case studies, often based on research with primary
documents, to illustrate the process and promise of rhetorical history.
Collectively, their work tests theory and complements criticism while standing
as a distinct and valid approach in and of itself.

The conceptualizations and methodologies of rhetorical history will
increase in significance during the burgeoning "Communication Age"
as we seek to cope with the present and prepare for the future by better
understanding the past. This volume serves as an excellent overview of
a recently neglected methodological approach and acts as the first step
in ending that neglect.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If we are ever to get beyond the unproductive debate that has pitted rhetorical theory and philosophical abstraction against rhetorical practice and material cases, then we must start by understanding our own history, our own rhetoric, and our own misunderstandings. Doing Rhetorical History is an antidote to what has ailed us for too long. Drink deeply, and let the healing begin."
—Martin J. Medhurst, Texas A&M University

"Doing Rhetorical History addresses once again relationships between criticism and history. The chapters on Dorothy Day and Mike Mansfield are particularly interesting examples of what rhetorical history adds to critical understanding of discourse, but the entire book is a provocative revisiting of issues with a long history in communication studies."
—Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, University of Minnesota

Booknews
Scholars address the ongoing dialogue over the regrounding of rhetorical study and the relationship between theory and history a well as history and criticism in the field. Some examine conceptual issues involved in the juncture of rhetoric and history, while others offer case studies based on primary documents to illustrate the process and promise of rhetorical history. Case studies involve the Truman administration's desegregation of the US Army, and Cesar Chavez's letter from Delano. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817350482
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Series: Studies Rhetoric & Communicati Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Turner is Associate Professor of Communication at
Tulane University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Rhetorical History as Social Construction 1
1 Four Senses of Rhetorical History 19
2 The Rhetorical Construction of History 33
3 The Rhetorics of the Past: History, Argument, and Collective Memory 47
4 Theoretical Implications of Doing Rhetorical History: Groupthink, Foreign Policy Making, and Vietnam 61
5 A Constitutive Framework for Rhetorical Historiography: Toward an Understanding of the Discursive (Re)constitution of "Constitution" in The Federalist Papers 72
6 Oaths Registered in Heaven: Rhetorical and Historical Legitimacy in the Inaugural Addresses of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln 95
7 Borderland Denouement: Missourians and the Rhetorical Inauguration of the "Unholy Crusade," Spring 1861 118
8 Civil Rights and the Cold War: A Rhetorical History of the Truman Administration's Desegregation of the United States Army 143
9 "The Deciding Factor": The Rhetorical Construction of Mansfield's Credibility and the Eisenhower Administration's Policy on Diem 170
10 Declining Honors: Dorothy Day's Rhetorical Resistance to the Culture of Heroic Ascent 191
11 History and Culture as Rhetorical Constraints: Cesar Chavez's Letter from Delano 207
Postscript: A Disciplinary History of Rhetorical History: Retrospect and Prospect 221
Notes 243
Contributors 295
Index 299
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