CLAMs vs. Enthymemes: Recognizing Rhetoric in the Disciplines. Elizabeth G. Allan, Oakland University, Department of Writing & Rhetoric
Like reading and writing, rhetoric is an essential, but often invisible, component of disciplinary education. Recognizing the rhetorical principles operating in disciplinary discourse is a first step toward making rhetoric available as an explicit strategy for analyzing and producing discipline-specific texts. In this paper, I offer a model for introducing rhetoric to students in a first-year learning community by using the terms of their own discipline, rather than the specialized and sometimes alienating vocabulary of rhetoric itself. In my composition class for health sciences majors, I used health literacy consultant Helen Osborne's CLAMs ("culturally and linguistically appropriate materials") as concrete examples of rhetoric at work. Approaching rhetoric through health literacy allowed my students to discover rhetorical concepts on their own turf. Specialized vocabulary can be integrated later, but if our purpose is to build bridges between disciplines, we can begin by tailoring our own pedagogical strategies to the needs and interests of our students. I argue that, as composition and rhetoric faculty, we should adopt a rhetorical approach to the teaching of rhetoric itself, which may require subordinating the exalted enthymeme to the common CLAM.
Empathic Awareness Informed by Transformative Ethos and Persona. Lew Caccia Jr., Youngstown State University, Department of English
Concerned with problematic tropes derived from extreme American nationalism, Theresa Kulbaga (2008) asserts, "Rhetorically, the invitation to empathize with another is persuasive to the extent that it appeals to the reader's simultaneous investment in identification and difference." Fundamentally, empathic perspective begins with a thorough understanding of one's own feelings, thoughts, and motives. The principle of self-understanding is then applied to the service of others--even though their feelings, thoughts, and motives may differ. If empathy is understood as self discernment analogized into service learning that connects rather than corrects the contrastive essence of others, then how do teachers viably facilitate transformative performance, which straddles cognition and affectation? It is my belief that pushing students to momentarily situate themselves into the complex context of the human beings they (their families, their peers, their culture) may otherwise vilify most candidly appropriates the affiliated yet distinct rhetorical agencies of ethos and persona. Accordingly, the proposed presentation will endeavor toward understanding the ethos-persona distinction in relation to empathy functioning as cognitive reversal of roles. Offering alternatives to hypernationalism and other antipathetic perspectives, this exploration will help establish the experiential or quasi-experiential foundation needed to afford awareness and sensitivity toward both connection and difference for others dissimilar in choice and predicament.
Written Miscommunication and Cultural Expectations. Bruce Closser and Serenity David, Andrews University, Department of English
In Listening to the World: Cultural Issues in Academic Writing, Helen Fox suggests that communication problems experienced by world students studying in, and witnessed by university professors in American universities may result more from differences in cultural practices and expectations than from language difficulties. Over a period of...