Silence and Listening as Rhetorical Arts
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In Silence and Listening as Rhetorical Arts, editors Cheryl Glenn and Krista Ratcliffe bring together seventeen essays by new and established scholars that demonstrate the value and importance of silence and listening to the study and practice of rhetoric. Building on the editors’ groundbreaking research, which respects the power of the spoken word while challenging the marginalized status of silence and listening, this volume makes a strong case for placing these overlooked concepts, and their intersections, at the forefront of rhetorical arts within rhetoric and composition studies.
Divided into three parts—History, Theory and Criticism, and Praxes—this book reimagines traditional histories and theories of rhetoric and incorporates contemporary interests, such as race, gender, and cross-cultural concerns, into scholarly conversations about rhetorical history, theory, criticism, and praxes. For the editors and the other contributors to this volume, silence is not simply the absence of sound and listening is not a passive act. When used strategically and with purpose—together and separately—silence and listening are powerful rhetorical devices integral to effective communication. The essays cover a wide range of subjects, including women rhetors from ancient Greece and medieval and Renaissance Europe; African philosophy and African American rhetoric; contemporary antiwar protests in the United States; activist conflict resolution in Israel and Palestine; and feminist and second-language pedagogies.
Taken together, the essays in this volume advance the argument that silence and listening are as important to rhetoric and composition studies as the more traditionally emphasized arts of reading, writing, and speaking and are particularly effective for theorizing, historicizing, analyzing, and teaching. An extremely valuable resource for instructors and students in rhetoric, composition, and communication studies, Silence and Listening as Rhetorical Arts will also have applications beyond academia, helping individuals, cultural groups, and nations more productively discern and implement appropriate actions when all parties agree to engage in rhetorical situations that include not only respectful speaking, reading, and writing but also productive silence and rhetorical listening.
the line of significant canon revisionists” (8). Jessica Enoch encourages scholars to follow Glenn’s lead in questioning the seeming silence or diligent obedience of women: “These women still have much to tell us—all we have to do is listen to their voices and their silences” (Glenn qtd. in Enoch 14). Listening to the rhetorical displays of Esther and Sor Juana, Julie K. Bokser invokes Glenn’s admonition that “silence is perhaps the most undervalued and under-understood traditionally feminine
represented by counsel (Kennedy and Parker vi), the actual procedures of the court were inconsistent at best and blatantly unfair when it came to Vesey himself. Vesey’s lawyer was the owner of a slave who testified against him, and most of the evidence used to convict Vesey was actually gathered in trials that postdate Vesey’s execution.5 One of the primary indications of Vesey’s strategy of silence, in addition to his contemplative silence on the scaffold, is that Vesey never confessed. Whether
in English: Delsarte System of Oratory. This anthology, published in the United States in 1882, was a compendium of translated notes by several of Delsarte’s students.4 One of these students was a French clergyman, Abbé Delaumosne. In his notes on Delsarte’s class, which he termed a “rational grammar of oratory” (Werner 163), Delaumosne attempted to locate the scientific principles underlying the art of vocal and bodily delivery. He argued (or recorded) that “the science of the Art of Oratory has
of reflection, the idea of sage philosophy becomes an interesting and important channel for identifying, understanding and articulating the philosophical task through a reconciliation of different epistemic fields” (237). When, however, conceived institutionally rather than as forms of reflection—for as has been shown, “sage philosophy” can be attributed to Oruka’s “sages” only by ignoring Oruka’s institution altogether—the “four trends” name the conflict within the institution of Oruka’s
Compassionate Listening in Israel/Palestine,” Joy Arbor introduces the concept of “Compassionate Listening,” a model and practice of activist conflict resolution and reconciliation that provides insights into the rhetorical concept of listening-across-differences to all sides of an issue. Chapter 13. In “A Repertoire of Discernments: Hearing the Unsaid in Oral History Narratives,” Frank Farmer and Margaret M. Strain explore the challenges facing oral history scholars during interviews when their