English 733

Nathaniel Rivers

    401 New North
    Office Hours: T 12:00 - 2:00

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Required Texts

  • The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. 2nd Edition. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg. (available at the Georgetown University Bookstore)
  • Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious. Gerd Gigerenzer. (available at the Georgetown University Bookstore)
  • All other readings will be made available on a CD as searchable .pdf files

Reading List

This list organizes the course readings into three phases. These three phases articulate related readings and organize our thinking around specific issues in rhetorical theory. These phases are not mutually exclusively; they necessarily bleed into one another. Note: some of these readings are optional (these will be so indicated on the course calendar). Students will find many of these readings difficult. The density of the prose, the abstractness of the concepts, and the confrontation of divergent viewpoints and values all make this reading list equal parts challenging and rewarding. I fully expect, however, that genuine and generous engagement with these texts will see students through the semester.

Phase One: Rhetoric's Contested Roots

  • Anonymous, "Dissoi Logoi" (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Aristotle, selections from Rhetoric (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Auden, W.H., "Unpredictable Bur Providential."
  • Auden, W.H., "Concerning the Unpredictable."
  • Burke, Kenneth, "(Nonsymbolic)Motion/(Symbolic)Action."
  • Grassi, Ernesto, selection from Rhetoric as Philosophy: The Humanist Tradition.
  • Gorgias, "Encomium of Helen" (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Gorgias, "On Not-Being."
  • Heraclitus of Ephesus, fragments.
  • Isocrates, Against the Sophists and a selection from Antidosis (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Jarratt, Susan C., selections from Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured.
  • Kelley, Donald R., selections from The Human Measure: Social Thought in the Western Legal Tradition.
  • Lanham, Richard, "The 'Q' Question."
  • Lovejoy, Arthur O., "The Meaning of Φυσις in the Greek Physiologers."
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich, "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Plato, Gorgias and Phaedrus (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • The Rhetorical Tradition, "General Introduction."
  • The Rhetorical Tradition, "Classical Rhetoric Introduction."
  • Welch, Kathleen Ethel. "Keywords from Classical Rhetoric: The Example of Physis."
  • White, Eric Charles, selection from Kaironomia.
  • Woodbridge, Frederick J.E., "The Dominant Conception of the Earliest Greek Philosophy."

Phase Two: Rhetoric's Situations

  • Alexander, Caroline, "If the Stones Could Speak."
  • Biesecker, Barbara A., "Rethinking the Rhetorical Situation from Within the Thematic of Différance."
  • Bitzer, Lloyd F., "The Rhetorical Situation."
  • Booth, Wayne, selection from Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Burke, Kenneth, selection from A Grammar of Motives (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Consigny, Scott, "Rhetoric and Its Situations."
  • Diamond, Jared, selections from Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Socities.
  • Diamond, Jared, selections from Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
  • Edbauer Rice, Jenny, "Unframing Models of Public Distribution: From Rhetorical Situation to Rhetorical Ecologies."
  • Fredal, James, selection from Rhetorical Action in Ancient Athens: Persuasive Artistry from Solon to Demosthenes.
  • Gugliotta, Guy, "The Maya: Glory and Ruin."
  • Hawhee, Debra, "Kairotic Encounters."
  • Mann, Charles C., "America, Found and Lost."
  • Marback, Richard, "Detroit and the Closed Fist: Toward a Theory of Material Rhetoric."
  • Marback, Richard, "Unclenching the Fist: Embodying Rhetoric and Giving Objects Their Due."
  • Muckelbauer, John, selections from The Future of Invention: Rhetoric, Postmodernism, and the Problem of Change.
  • Porter, James E. et al, "Institutional Critique: A Rhetorical Methodology for Change."
  • Rickert, Thomas, "In the House of Doing: Rhetoric and the Kairos of Ambience."
  • Rickert, Thomas, "Invention in the Wild: On Locating Kairos in Space-Time."
  • Rickert, Thomas, "Towards the Chora: Kristeva, Derrida, and Ulmer on Emplaced Invention."
  • Rivers, Nathaniel A., "Some Assembly Required: The Latourian Collective and the Banal Work of Technical and Professional Communication."
  • Stone, Richard, "Divining Angkor."
  • Sunstein, Case and Richard Thaler, selections from Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.
  • Vatz, Richard E. "The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation."

Phase Three: Rhetoric's Bodies

  • "The Age of the Informavore."
  • Ballif, Michelle, "Writing the Third-Sophistic: Periphrasis on an [In]Tense Rhetoric."
  • Brooke, Collin Gifford, "Forgetting to be (Post)Human: Media and Memory in a Kairotic Age."
  • Burke, Kenneth, selection from Attitudes Toward History.
  • Burke, Kenneth, selection from A Rhetoric of Motives (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Burke, Kenneth, selection from Language as Symbolic Action (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Chambliss, Daniel F., "The Mundanity of Excellence: An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers."
  • Clark, Andy, selections from Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again.
  • Clark, Andy, selections from Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence.
  • Corder, Jim W., "Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love."
  • Covino, William A., "Grammars of Transgression: Golems, Cyborgs, and Mutants."
  • Davis, Diane, "Identification: Burke and Freud on Who You Are."
  • Derksen, Maarten, "Cultivating human nature."
  • Gigerenzer, Gerd, Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious.
  • Greenspan, Stanley and Stuart Shanker, selections from The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans.
  • Haraway, Donna, selections from Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_ OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience.
  • Hawhee, Debra, "Bodily Pedagogies: Rhetoric, Athletics, and the Sophists' Three Rs."
  • Hawhee, Debra, "Burke on Drugs."
  • Hickman, Larry A., selection from Pragmatism as Post-Postmodernism: Lessons from John Dewey.
  • Locke, John, selection from An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (in The Rhetorical Tradition).
  • Maturana, Humberto and Francisco Varela, selections from The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding.
  • Robbins, Brent Dean, "On the History of Rhetoric and Psychology."
  • Rose, Nikolas, "The Politics of Life Itself."
  • White, Eugene, "Rhetoric as Historical Configuration."
  • Wieseltier, Leon, "Contrary Chances."
  • Worsham, Lynn, "The Question Concerning Invention: Hermeneutics and The Genesis of Writing."