Glen McClish’s “The Instrumental and Constitutive Rhetoric…”
- p. 36: “Douglass’s ‘Introduction’…failed to produce constitutive force in its time not only because of the overall indifference of whites (even among the relative moderates) but also because of the skepticism with which African Americans approached it.”
- p. 37: “…the rhetoric of conservative self-help—the popular late-nineteenth-century strain of African American thought that emphasized a restrictive sense of individual advancement…”
- p. 42: “it is reasonable to assume that the pamphlet would have been placed in the hands of visitors generally predisposed to at least consider its central arguments.”
- pp. 43-44: “King wrote most directly to white moderates who supported integration in principle (particularly the ‘gradual’ variety)…”
- p. 45: King questions religion’s role in the struggle.
- But that doesn’t mean he questions religion, right?
- p. 46: “Douglass’s critique…is designed to shame the white audience he wishes ultimately to recruit to his side.”
- p. 47: Douglass notes the backlash
- p. 49: The masculine figure in Douglass’s rhetoric.
- p. 54: “The unit is as exhaustive in its evidence of systemic American racism as it is emotionally exhausting to read.”
- p. 56: “King can conclude… that “All segregation statues [sic] are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.”
- I like the use of “statues” rather than statutes.
One thing I’m trying to do is draw a parallel between the constitutive rhetoric of Douglass and King and Knoblauch’s position on ontological rhetoric. What are some similar features? Consider truth, justice, inalienable rights, etc.
Ch. 3: Ontological Rhetoric
- p. 51: Ontological rhetoric deals with the nature of being and privileges the view that “language derives its power to signify from its relationship to an intrinsically and purposefully ordered, that is, teleological, exteriority.”
- Consider the expression “it is what it is…”
Arguments to Consider
What can we say about this response a voter has when she learns about Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality.
Conviction comes from essentialist perspectives and, in turn, reinforces essentialism. There is a circular “nature” to ontological rhetoric.
Next week, we’ll continue with Knoblauch (Ch. 4) and read two short things by Roland Barthes. Your Rhetoric/al Project is due in one month–May 3rd.