Oratory in the Age of Obama

A course in rhetoric for the Honors College of Rutgers Camden

Readings and Activities for Thursday, February 25

Posted by William FitzGerald on February 23, 2010


Habinek, Chapter Four, “Rhetoric as Acculturation”

Keith & Lundberg, Chapter Four


Response to reading (blogpost): As a comment to this entry, offer a brief comparative reflection on your own acculturation into rhetoric as a spoken and/or written art in light of the portrait painted by Habinek of educational practices in rhetoric in the classical era. That is, over several sentences, you should identify some practice or theme treated by Habinek and connect it by way of similarity or difference to something in your own education into language proficiency, citizenship, identity, etc.

First paper due: after revising your paper (in light of class conversation and the checklist I have provided), proofreading it aloud, and typing a short statement indicating the degree to which the work presented is your own, deposit the paper into the drop box of sakai. Be sure the paper includes your name, the date, an appropriate title and page numbers. Be sure to provide an electronic link to any texts you quote, summarize, paraphrase. Finally, be sure that the paper is in one of the following forms: .doc., .docx, .rtf or .pdf.


3 Responses to “Readings and Activities for Thursday, February 25”

  1. Jonathan Randall said

    In chapter 4, Habinek talks about how a boy is trained to become, according to Cato the Elder, an orator who is vir bonus dicendi peritus(“a good man, skilled at speaking”), which reminds me of when I learned how to write persuasively. Learning to write persuasively in middle school dovetailed with learning how to make a speech as a part of Communication Merit Badge, when I was a Boy Scout. Now, having read this chapter, I can compare my status as an Eagle Scout, to being “a good man, skilled at speaking,” or a trained orator(even though I have mmuch more to learn).

  2. Peter Pantelides said

    “Rhetoric was the pinnacle of ancient education.” (Habinek 60) In some ways this is still true today, but only for lawyers and politicians. Unlike ancient times, written rhetoric is taught to everyone through English classes; however, except for those who actively pursue it, spoken rhetoric is learned through interacting with people. Also, rhetoric is no longer as highly thought of, as it has become associated almost exclusively with politicians and lawyers who misconstrue facts to make a living.

  3. Jason Hewitt said

    In Chapter 4 of Habinek, a quote that I found interesting is “Quintilian precedes his long and extremely informative chapter on voice is expressly denying the clasim that delivery, of which voice is a key component,can be attained solely by obeying natural impulse” (66-7). In today’s society, people who must deliver speeches on a regular basis such as lawyers or politcians use a lot of preparation and practice as opposed to going off an impulse. Impulsive speech would be rare, as most orators today pre-determine what they are going to say under many circumstances.

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