10/12: Multimodal Rhetorical Situations

Last week, and over the long weekend, you considered how a piece you chose represented invitational rhetoric. I’d like to spend some time at the start of class today hearing your responses to this prompt from last class.

We’ve been building towards your next major assignment–a Rhetorical Analysis of Local Advocacy–and will continue to do so today. (NOTE: I will have the written Rhetorical Analysis assignment for you by next class.) For this next major assignment, you will work in two-person teams to study the rhetorical strategies used on local advocacy, using rhetorical frameworks from the texts we’ve already read and from Keith Grant-Davie’s “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents.”

We’ll start today with an introduction to Grant-Davie’s essay “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents,” which you can access on our Blackboard site. Grant-Davie draws on many scholars to define a rhetorical situation as “a situation where a speaker or writer sees a need to change reality and sees that the change may be effected through rhetorical discourse” (265). In this way, “rhetorical discourse” is the medium by which a speaker or writer (or rhetor!) communicates with an audience in an attempt to make change. I’d like to look together at this piece for The Knight News by William Kuzma, our very own ENGL 201W colleague(!), to understand, in Grant-Davie’s words, what this discourse is about and why it is needed.

If we have time, we’ll also listen to a portion of episode one of the podcast Nice White Parents (4:30-18:40) to ask the same questions: what is this discourse about and why is it needed?

As we move towards the end of the semester, think about how different modes of communication (music, print news, podcasts) serve to make change.


If you haven’t completed blog post #4 that explains why the piece you brought to last class is an example of invitational rhetoric, you should do that NOW!

READ Keith Grant-Davie’s “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents,” available on Blackboard via the “Readings” link for our class. Pay particular attention to the sub-section titled “Exigence–The Matter and Motivation of the Discourse.”

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