103B | CCN: 77881
Approaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory II
Europe and its Others
Instructor: Michael Wintroub,
TuTh 1230-2P, 2 LECONTE
This course will cover the discursive History of Europe’s relations with its “Others” from the period of the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. We will study saints, sinners, Jews, Protestants, witches, lepers, slaves, Aztecs, explorers, factory workers, vampires and monsters. We will examine religious beliefs and religious wars, the most horrific sorts of torture, the Black Death, the "discovery" of new worlds, the trade in slaves and the making (and breaking) of kings, nations and empires. Though the history of the period spanning the Middle Ages to the present is traditionally viewed as a triumphal march of progress from superstition to Enlightenment, we will see how this "progress" was made possible by the persecution of peoples and cultures considered marginal and/or different. The “rhetoric of alterity”—How “Others” were historically defined, represented and used as a means of constituting Western identities (e.g., in terms of race, class, citizenship, and nation-state)—will form the course’s central theme; we will also be concerned with understanding how oppressed and marginalized groups resisted impositions of dominant groups and articulated their own narratives—their own rhetoric—of “otherness”.