Friday, January 14, 2011

WGS 310 - My thoughts on rhetoric.

For a Women Studies course I have been asked to describe and reflect on the word “rhetoric” and my answer will be based upon what I have been able to ascertain during this last year in school as I have been exposed to this word a few times as I have progressed through my educational goals. 
"Saint Paul in Athens" by Raphael
While participating in courses such as, “Introduction to Biblical Interpretation” and “Argument and Debate”- I have learned that Rhetoric appears to be a form of verbal or written communication which requires a certain amount of skill and practice.  Rhetoric has its beginnings as an ancient art of communication which has been used for centuries with the purpose of persuading an audience, this audience would have consisted of a group of influential men sitting around talking about the meaning of life.  This style of teaching/learning would have been before stories and lessons became transcribed and would have practiced through oral tradition. I can only assume since rhetoric began with individuals such as Plato and other well educated men during ancient Greek civilization that this style of communication was probably something learned and mostly used by males of high social standing with consideration to the fact that women and slaves would not have been given very many opportunities to participate in the luxury of education.

In context of rhetoric and life in 2011, I feel that unfortunately because of recent events in our country the word “Rhetoric” is getting tossed around like a dirty word, what was once a method of communication used by the great thinkers of long ago it has now become an excuse to blame certain female political leaders for the unfortunate events that occurred in Arizona.  Without having spent much time paying attention to what Sarah Palin has to say I do not know if her rhetorical style is one to warrant this sort of criticism or if it is merely for her lack of political skills. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, Plato tried (and succeeded) separating what we consider to be philosophy from rhetoric -- there was this perception, which still exists today, that language is inherently flawed and can't give us access to the Truth (consequently, the "Truth" has been interpreted in many ways too -- the truth about the nature of the world, human nature, etc, which eventually developed into a relationship with God). In terms of your example(s) of rhetoric in 2011, can you think of realms outside of the political that have an affect on women and their lives?