A New Handbook of Rhetoric
Inverting the Classical Vocabulary
Edited by Michele Kennerly
Publication date:15 September 2021
Length of book:224 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
Like every discipline, Rhetorical Studies relies on a technical vocabulary to convey specialized concepts, but few disciplines rely so deeply on a set of terms developed so long ago. Pathos, kairos, doxa, topos—these and others originate from the so-called classical world, which has conferred on them excessive authority. Without jettisoning these rhetorical terms altogether, this handbook addresses critiques of their ongoing relevance, explanatory power, and exclusionary effects.
A New Handbook of Rhetoric inverts the terms of classical rhetoric by applying to them the alpha privative, a prefix that expresses absence. Adding the prefix α- to more than a dozen of the most important terms in the field, the contributors to this volume build a new vocabulary for rhetorical inquiry. Essays on apathy, akairos, adoxa, and atopos, among others, explore long-standing disciplinary habits, reveal the denials and privileges inherent in traditional rhetorical inquiry, and theorize new problems and methods. Using this vocabulary in an analysis of current politics, media, and technology, the essays illuminate aspects of contemporary culture that traditional rhetorical theory often overlooks.
Innovative and groundbreaking, A New Handbook of Rhetoric at once draws on and unsettles ancient Greek rhetorical terms, opening new avenues for studying values, norms, and phenomena often stymied by the tradition.
In addition to the editor, the contributors include Caddie Alford, Benjamin Firgens, Cory Geraths, Anthony J. Irizarry, Mari Lee Mifsud, John Muckelbauer, Bess R. H. Myers, Damien Smith Pfister, Nathaniel A. Rivers, and Alessandra Von Burg.
—Carolyn R. Miller, coeditor of Landmark Essays on Rhetorical Genre Studies