Week One, Thursday

1. Collect writing samples

2. Intro lecture: what is rhetoric?

  • hard to define, persuasion
  • more than that, rhetoric is social glue-- social conception of knowledge and knowledge exchange
  • art of negotiating language in the act of negotiation
  • Kenneth Burke: resolving ambiguity
  • Final point is all important, as you'll read in coming months, humans tend to gravitate toward certainty. Erase signs of ambiguity, contigency, and doubt. Replace interpretation with natural, fundamental truth. Think Michael Vick-- dog fighting IS evil. But, as Latrell Sprewell points out, we condone and even celebrate hunting and fishing. We eat veal (I love veal). We bet on dog races. This is not to condone Vick's activities, only to point out the contingency of the moral code by which we condemn his actions
  • Let me step back--language is ambiguous. Words might seem to have very determinate meanings, but all words contain varying degrees of indeterminacy. Viola the demonstration: "A bat came through my window"
  • I hope this exercise demonstrates how meaning develops according to context. Of course, every person, place and thing contributes to the interpretation of meaning. This is the importance of kairos
  • Additionally, rhetoric recognizes that communication, the act of interpretation, is not strictly a logical exercise, it is also an emotional one. While many people are suspicious of emotion, rhetoricians often presume that our emotional sensors can be more perceptive than our logical ones. Take, for instance, the following phrase: "If I really loved you..."

On Morville's Ambient Findability: Quizercise #1: Given what I've talked about today, why would I open this course with Morville? Your response should focus on one specific passage from Morville--no more than five sentences. Your response should link a passage from Morville to something I have said today.

Before we break:

  1. Make sure I collected writing samples and quiz#1
  2. Make sure I bring up both readings, Surowiecki and Corder
  3. Explain how to read Corder, academic prose, responsibilities of academic readers, taking notes, preparing for class
  4. Discuss homework: emailing blog choices by Saturday @ 10:00am
  5. Set up your del.icio.us accounts (try this one on your own)
  6. Conferences for friday

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