Approaches & Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory II
103B | 001 | CCN: 21636
Instructor: Samera Esmeir
Location: Barker 101
Three hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week. A broad consideration of the historical relationship between philosophy, literature, and rhetoric, with special emphasis on selected themes within the early modern and modern periods.
This course surveys some key theoretical texts from the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries that shed light on how meaning is both produced and interrogated in modernity. One of the key accomplishments of the modern era is the development of critical stances that question the appearance, objectivity and naturalness of texts and acts. These stances also reveal the power operations of texts and things. We examine the making of these stances: how they came to being, their practices, their attention to power, and their intellectual and political consequences. What are the modes of thinking, reading and interpretation that have been consequently introduced? And what should constitute our objects of inquiry in the search for understanding: where should we look and what should we study? We begin with Marx’s critique of ideology, and end with the approaches of science studies that question the meta-narrative of modernity, and its divisions between the realm of humans and the realm of things and nature. Other theorists will help us to consider the relationship between discourse and power, coloniality and its powers, memory and history, bodies and their extensions, the workings of science, the powers of fascism, and resistance and change.