Hauser, Gerald A. “Teaching Rhetoric: Or Why Rhetoric Isn’t Just Another Kind of Philosophy or Literary Criticism.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 34.3 (Summer 2004): 39-53
The Association for Rhetoric Societies’ 2003 conference in Evanston led to an alliance among rhetoric scholars to promote the centrality of rhetorical education in civic education. This article lists the five areas where Rhetoric Studies needs sustainable structures in order to reinvigorate rhetoric into the curriculum.
The scholars underscored that rhetoric is inherently tied to teaching: there is no rhetoric without teaching. What has happened in the modern academy, one that values theory and knowledge over praxis, is a divorce of rhetoric from the public and civic sphere, which rhetoric depends on. Hauser and those at the conference call for rhetoric to be reunited to the concerns of the public civic sphere, of preparing citizens and leaders. The Association for Rhetoric Scholars, through Hauser’s article, argues for a manifesto about rhetorical education that can be adopted by institutions, a forum to share rhetorical pedagogy material between scholars, and a way for individual institutions to circumvent the balkanization that happens with rhetorical pedagogy, coordinating it into one collective pursuit.
Notes and Quotes
“Free societies require rhetorically competent citizens. Without rhetorical competence, citizens are disabled in the public arenas of citizen exchange—the marketplace, the representative assembly, the court, and public institutions— and democracy turns into a ruse disguising the reality of oligarchic power.” (52)
Rhetoric has always been a central part in educating future leaders and citizens. Rhetoric is practical, is human, is considered with the right time and right place (kairos.) It seeks to give students a way to pursue and articulate knowedge, not a set content.
Rhetoric is about seeking truth and excellence (aerte), questioning, reflection, learning about values and beliefs, and moving to action. Very similar to Ignatian pedagogy
“Rhetoric is a practical discipline; it has a strong tradition that merges theory and praxis in the concrete conditions of performance, especially as these are realized in democratic societies.” (42)
Students need rhetoric – need to learn how to present their ideas, understand their audience, evaluate their sources and claims, negotiate between different perspectives, see the connection between ethics and action. Rhetoric is needed in a democratic society (so a small elite does not take over power.)
Ideas for the assessment of a first-year writing and speaking course: students develop analytical skills, performance skills (written and spoken), invention skills, an awareness of language, civic skills, consequences of rhetoric
call for K-12 and university educators to come together in the Association for Rhetoric Scholars to talk about rhetorical education, collaborate, work together