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312 pages

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Sarah Kornfield
Hope College

CONTENTS (brief)



Chapter 1: Introduction to Rhetorical Criticism

Chapter 2: Rhetorical Analysis and Critical Essays


Chapter 3: Narrative Criticism

Chapter 4: Dramatistic Criticism

Chapter 5: Genre Criticism

Chapter 6: Metaphor Criticism

Part III

Chapter 7: Ideological Criticism

Chapter 8: Feminist Criticism


Chapter 9: Audience Rhetoric

Chapter 10: Visual Rhetoric

Chapter 11: Material Rhetoric


Appendix A: Writing a Critical Essay

Appendix B: Analyzing a Single Text or Multiple Texts

CONTENTS (detailed)


Chapter 1: Introduction to Rhetorical Criticism

Understanding Rhetoric

Rhetorical Texts

Rhetoric: Meaning and Doing

Doing Rhetorical Criticism

Rhetorical Criticism as Purposeful Art

About the Author

Chapter 2: Rhetorical Analysis and Critical Essays

Doing Rhetorical Criticism: Close Textual Analysis

Becoming Familiar with Your Text

Becoming Familiar with the Context: The Rhetorical Situation

Reviewing the Literature

Analyzing the Text: The Fusion of Form and Content

Articulating Your Argument

Research Examples

Thomas W. Benson, "The Rhetorical Structure of Frederick Wiseman's High School" (1980)

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, "Stanton's 'The Solitude of Self': A Rationale for Feminism" (1980)

Crafting a Critical Essay

Introducing the Critical Essay

Joining Scholarly Conversations

Overview of Text and Context

Crafting the Analysis

Concluding the Critical Essay

Conducting Your Research


Chapter 3: Narrative Criticism

A Theory of Narratives

Humans as Story-Telling Animals

Narrative Reasoning

Cultural Narratives

Enjoyment and Transportation

Doing Narrative Criticism

Analyzing the Story

Analyzing the Discourse

Analyzing the Role of the Medium

Research Examples

Valerie Wee, "Patriarchy and the Horror of the Monstrous Feminine" (2011)

Leroy G. Dorsey and Rachel M. Harlow, "'We Want Americans Pure and Simple': Theodore Roosevelt and the Myth of Americanism" (2003)

Meg Kunde, "Making the Free Market Moral: Ronald Reagan's Covenantal Economy" (2019)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Narrative Criticism

Choosing This Method

Chapter 4: Dramatistic Criticism

A Theory of Dramatism

Symbols Screen Reality

Symbolic Action

Doing Dramatistic Criticism

Identifying Pentadic Elements

Assessing Pentadic Ratios

Determining Motive

Research Examples

Janice Hocker Rushing, "Mythic Evolution of 'The New Frontier' in Mass Mediated Rhetoric" (1986)

Mari Boor Tonn, Valerie A. Endress, and John N. Diamond, "Hunting and Heritage on Trial: A Dramatistic Debate over Tragedy, Tradition, and Territory" (1993)

Brian L. Ott and Eric Aoki, "The Politics of Negotiating Public Tragedy: Media Framing of the Matthew Shepard Murder" (2002)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Dramatistic Criticism

Choosing This Method

Chapter 5: Genre Criticism

A Theory of Genres

Generic Responses

Fusions of Form and Substance

Change over Time

Doing Genre Criticism

Becoming Familiar with a Genre and Choosing Texts

Analyzing Generic Texts

Analyzing the Rhetorical Situation

Analyzing the Symbolic Action

Research Examples

James A. Herrick, Visions of Technological Transcendence: Human Enhancement and the Rhetoric of the Future (2017)

Erin J. Rand, "Fear the Frill: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Uncertain Futurity of Feminist Judicial Dissent" (2015)

Jason Mittell, "A Cultural Approach to Television Genre Theory" (2001)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Genre Criticism

Choosing This Method

Chapter 6: Metaphor Criticism

A Theory of Metaphors

Types of Metaphors

A Continuum: Sleeping to Awake

Doing Metaphor Criticism

Assessing Metaphors

Interpreting Metaphors

Research Examples

Emily Martin, "The Egg and the Sperm: How Science has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles" (1991)

Theon E. Hill, "Sanitizing the Struggle: Barack Obama, Selma, and Civil Rights Memory" (2017)

William Rodney Herring, "The Rhetoric of Credit, The Rhetoric of Debt: Economic Arguments in Early America and Beyond" (2016)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Metaphor Criticism

Choosing This Method


Chapter 7: Ideological Criticism

A Theory of Hegemony

Dominant Ideologies

Resisting Hegemony

Resilience of Hegemony

Communicating Ideology


Participating in Ideological Critique

Attending to Stylistic Tokens

Attending to Power Relations

Attending to Ideographs

Strategies for Interpreting Ideology


Research Examples

Rachel E. Dubrofsky, "Jewishness, Whiteness, and Blackness on Glee: Singing to the Tune of Postracism" (2013)

Myra Washington, "Interracial Intimacy: Hegemonic Construction of Asian American and Black Relationships on TV Medical Dramas" (2012)

Fernando Delgado, "The Rhetoric of Fidel Castro: Ideographs in the Service of Revolutionaries" (1999)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Ideological Critique

Choosing This Approach

Chapter 8: Feminist Criticism

A Theory of Feminism


Unearned Advantages

Sexism and Power

Participating in Feminist Ideological Critique

The Principle of Mutuality

The Principle of Reflexivity

The Principle of Agency

Asking Feminist Questions of the Text

Research Examples

Kathryn M. Olson, "An Epideictic Dimension of Symbolic Violence in Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Inter-Generational Lessons in Romanticizing and Tolerating Intimate Partner Violence" (2013)

Erica B. Edwards and Jennifer Esposito, "Reading the Black Woman's Body via Instagram Fame" (2018)

Andre Favors, "Coming Out as a Transgender Advocate: Laverne Cox, Intersectional Rhetoric, and Intersectionality" (2016)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Feminist Ideological Critique

Choosing This Approach


Chapter 9: Audience Rhetoric

A Theory of Audiences

Relating to Existing Discourses

Multiple Meanings

Audience Fandom

Analyzing Audience Texts

Context: The Existing Discourse

Context: Official Paratexts

Culturally Authoritative Audience Texts

Audience Members' Texts

Research Examples

Christine A. Wooley, "Visible Fandom: Reading The X-Files through X-Philes" (2002)

Rebecca Williams, "'This is the Night TV Died': Television Post-Object Fandom and the Demise of The West Wing" (2011)

Christine Gardner, "'Created This Way': Liminality, Rhetorical Agency, and the Transformative Power of Constraint among Gay Christian College Students" (2017)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Analyzing Audience Texts

Choosing This Approach

Chapter 10: Visual Rhetoric

A Theory of Visual Rhetoric

Seeing is Knowing

Visual Rhetoric in Context

Cultural Practices of Seeing

Cultural Imagery: Metaphors, Narratives, and Ideographs

Analyzing Visual Texts

Looking through Visual Rhetoric

Assessing Point of View

Cultural Practices of Seeing and Ideology

Assessing Context

Research Examples

Aisha Durham, "'Check on It': Beyoncé, Southern Booty, and Black Femininities in Music Video" (2011)

Rachel E. Dubrofsky and Emily D. Ryalls, "The Hunger Games: Performing Not-Performing to Authenticate Femininity and Whiteness" (2014)

Richard D. Pineda and Stacey K. Sowards, "Flag Waving as Visual Argument: 2006 Immigration Demonstrations and Cultural Citizenship" (2007)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Analyzing Visuality

Choosing This Approach

Chapter 11: Material Rhetoric

A Theory of Material Rhetoric

The Material Body

Spaces, Places, and the Things within Them

Analyzing Material Texts

Material Action

Symbolic Elements

The Intertwining of the Material and Symbolic

Human Movement

Research Examples

Adam J. Gaffey and Jennifer L. Jones Barbour, "'A Spirit That Can Never Be Told': Commemorative Agency and the Texas A&M University Bonfire Memorial" (2018)

Alyssa A. Samek, "Mobility, Citizenship, and 'American Women on the Move' in the 1977 International Women's Year Torch Relay" (2017)

David R. Coon, "Putting Women in Their Place: Gender, Space, and Power in 24 and Alias" (2011)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Analyzing Materiality

Choosing This Approach


Appendix A: Writing a Critical Essay

Interpreting Textual Evidence

Showing Readers Your Textual Evidence

Interpreting Your Textual Evidence

Thesis Statements

Preview Statements

Literature Review


Appendix B: Analyzing a Single Text or Multiple Texts

Justifying a Text Selection

Justifying the Selection of a Single Text

Justifying the Selection of Multiple Texts

Avoiding Cherry-Picking Your Evidence

Cherry-Picking and the Single Text

Cherry-Picking and Multiple Texts


About the Author



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