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A Quick Tour Through Composition and Rhetoric

A Quick Tour Through Composition and Rhetoric

Christopher Dean

on 15 May 2010

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Transcript of A Quick Tour Through Composition and Rhetoric

Ancient Rhetorical Tradition
Rhetoric via Scotland
The Composition Class at H`arvard
Birth of Process Model
Post Process and Other Ideas
Ancient Rhetoric has,obviously a long tradition. Here I'm talking about from the ancient sophists of the late 5th century BCE. From there, it's a quick move to Plato, and then Aristotle's Rhetoric. There's much to say here, but there are three terms that we will keep coming back to:
Logos: appeal to rational discourse
Pathos: appeal to emotions
Ethos: the persumed character of the speaker/writer
Kairos:context for the rhetorical act
Scotland, becomes a place of rebirth of rhetoric, particularly for writing, in 19th century. This leads, from Bain, forward, to first grammar texts--and the birth of the "Five paragraph theme."
David Jolliffe points out that from 1875-1900 Harvard was the single most influential comp program, and here we see the birth of themes, lots of grading, and an emphasis on writing, not reading
In the 1960s, a lot happens in compostion and rhetoric, with an increasing emphasis placed on students writing about what they know (expressivist rhetoric) and on a focus on "process, not product" (to paraphrase the great Donald Murray).
As Lad Tobin and others have pointed out, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, composition decides that it wants to have a post-modern movement of its own, post-process pedagogy. In some ways we are here. In other ways "current traditional" and "process" models of composition still dominate.
A Little Jog Through the History of Compostion
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