This week we’ve found ourselves having to negotiate between diverging perspectives on a few relevant social issues.
A fitting analytic in this historical moment, is rhetorical listening, as developed by rhetoric and composition scholar, Krista Ratcliffe. Specifically, Ratcliffe’s definition of rhetorical listening as a trope for interpretive invention can be helpful in thinking through the ways in which we can adopt “a stance of openness that a person may choose to assume in relation to any person, text, or culture; its purpose is to cultivate conscious identifications in ways that promote productive communication, especially but not solely cross-culturally” (25 emphasis added). Not only is it productive to enact rhetorical listening in times of cultural tension, but it is also useful to engage in rhetorical listening while analyzing a series of texts.
Similar to René De los Santos in his attention to the “barbarism-civilization duality” (165), Ratcliffe suggests that “rhetorical listening challenges the divided logos of Western civilization” (26 emphasis in original) as it opens up the possibility of considering a stance other than one’s own. She goes on to delineate the “moves” that rhetorical listening entails:
- Promoting an understanding of self and other
- Proceeding within an accountability logic
- Locating identifications across commonalities and differences
- Analyzing claims as well as the cultural logics within which these claims function
For the assignment you’re working on currently, focus on item 1. Jacquline Jones Royster and Gesa Kirsch refer to Krista Ratcliffe’s explanation of understanding in explaining a similar analytical approach: strategic contemplation. Read the two pages where they describe this analytic and reflect upon the ways in which you could apply these two analytic frameworks in your papers–not just this one, but future written assignments wherein you’re asked to engage in analysis and/or argument. Here’s a preview of the argument assignment:
Attention to Rhetoric:
Just as we have been practicing rhetorical awareness about the sources we located in unit 2, we will continue to address rhetorical issues and demonstrate rhetorical awareness as we research, but especially as we write our own projects. Specifically, you should:
· assert why your issue interests you or matters to you (and why it should interest and matter to your readers) at this particular historical moment. In other words, compose your argument kairotically and establish exigence.
· recognize and attend to what your readers will need in terms of explanation/preparation/ contextualization. Make sure to, among other things,
o define key terms and concepts,
o carefully introduce your sources,
o anticipate confusion or resistance,
o use rhetorical appeals and strategies appropriate for your rhetorical situation and
o anticipate counter-arguments.
· argue a particular perspective; that is, be explicit about how your ideas fit into the ongoing debate/conversation—synthesize.
· provide a new perspective, demonstrating how it pertains to your topic and what it adds to the conversation around millennial cultures.
Because we need to start anticipating the moment in which you will be making an argument about the topic you’ve chosen, this is a good moment to consider the differences between analysis, argument, summary and expressive writing, as they are discussed in Writing Analytically. After reading an excerpt from chapter 3: what are the differences between these terms? Can you locate examples in the texts we’ve interacted with in class? Write a reflection about how today’s activities are informing how you can improve your rhetorical analysis.
As you finish your work for the rhetorical analysis unit, you should continue researching for sources that can contribute to the argumentative paper that you’ll be writing in a few weeks.