smith&kennedyrdgquestions - Rhetorical Foundations...

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Rhetorical Foundations COMM 3300 Reading Questions: Rhetoric in the non-Western Tradition The Smith reading is one of the earliest attempts (1971) to expand our understanding of rhetoric and its roots in ancient culture beyond the Western tradition of the Greeks and Romans. Just as we’ve been discussing Ancient Greece, Smith refers to “traditional” African culture and the uses/purposes/understandings of rhetoric we can glean from its study. The shorter reading—you can begin on p. 158-161 with “Chinese Sophistry and Schools of Names” and pick up with India on p. 179-180—is from Kennedy, whom we read earlier when we first learned about Greek politics and culture. Kennedy’s effort here is much later (1998) and therefore makes use of a few more decades of scholarship in the non-Western tradition. Both readings are useful for recognizing how rhetoric developed around the world in tandem to Ancient Greece, and our short-sightedness in neglecting these other traditions. 1. Smith begins with this sentence: “Any interpretation of African rhetoric must begin at one to dispense with the notion that in all things Europe is teacher and Africa pupil.” What does this mean? In the opening sentence, Smith is stating his argument of society’s belief that African rhetoric is a product of European or Greek rhetoric in a sense that African rhetoric evolved from them and therefore is not in a distinguished category of its own. However, he believes that in order for any interpretation or understanding of African rhetoric to occur, one must dispense that belief and view African rhetoric as its own product that had no influence from European rhetoric. He then proceeds to explain how African rhetoric is not essentially derived in totality from European rhetoric. While African rhetoric was used to fulfill the same means of communication and historical preservation, it was developed more around music, creativity, coherence, sustainment of balance, and harmony within the society. It is also explains that “man interacting” in African society proceeds from different bases than “man interacting” in European society because of
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2009 for the course COMM 3300 taught by Professor Vogelaar,a during the Summer '08 term at Colorado.

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smith&kennedyrdgquestions - Rhetorical Foundations...

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