S705: Seminar in Rhetorical Criticism:

Rhetoric, and Memory/History/Critique

Instructor: John Louis Lucaites Fall 1999; F 9:30-12, CMCL 110

"Memory … is in a manner the twin sister of written speech [litteratura] and is completely similar [persimilis] to it, [though] in a dissimilar medium. For just as script consists of marks indicating letters and of the material on which those marks are imprinted, so the structure of memory, like a wax tablet, employs places [loci] and in these gathers together [collocat] images like lettesr."
-- Cicero

 

"To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it 'the way it really was.'… It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger."
-- Walter Benjamin

 

"Memory, which is always susceptible to lapses and partiality, is necessary for its passion and emotional dimension -- it is the sole remedy for oblivion."
-- Jacques Le Goff

 

"You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a case of do or die … the fundamental things apply, as time goes by …"
-- Casablanca

 

 

 

The relationship between "rhetoric" and "history" as social and political practices is a long and tortured one that ranges from the oral, epic tradition that we typically associate with Homer and the pre-Socratics to Vico's "new science," the nineteenth-century invention of historicism and the development of a formal and disciplinary historiography, the twentieth-century search for "a usable past," and most recently, the development of conceptual histories (Begriffsgeschichte) and a "new" historicism. In this seminar we will examine the intersection of rhetoric and history as they are manifested in contemporary considerations of the recovery and (re)production of social/collective/cultural /public memory -- what pre-modern thinkers called anamimnêskesthai or memoria -- as a mode of social and political critique. We will begin by examining the grand scope of the problem of memory, recollection, and remembrance from antiquity to the present as it has functioned as a site of articulation for rhetoric and history; we will then focus specific attention on the theoretical and methodological problems (and possibilities) posed for the production of critical rhetorical histories of memory in late modernity, examining a variety of case studies drawn from contemporary efforts to engage the rhetorical culture of memory in the American context. This course is cross-listed with both Cultural Studies and American Studies.

 

REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS
(Note: None of the books listed below have been ordered from local bookstores. A copy of each will be placed on reserve in the Main Library. I encourage you to purchase your own copies of these books through one or another on-line service, such as amazon.com, which I have found to be more affordable and efficient than the IMU.)

 

Bodnar, John. Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1992.

Card, Orson Scott. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. New York: Thomas Dougherty Assoc., 1996.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Random House.

Handler, Richard, and Eric Gable. The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1997.

Hawlbachs, Maurice. The Collective Memory. Trans. Francis J. Ditter, Jr. and Vita Yazdi. New York: Harper, 1950. (Note: I believe that there is a more recent edition of this book available. That will suffice.)

History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past, ed. Edward T. Linenthall and Tom Englehardt. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.

Lipsitz, George. Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis, U of Minnesota P, 1990.

Sturken, Marita. Tangled Memories; The Vietnam War, The AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering. Berkeley, CA: U of California P, 1997.

Zelizer, Barbie. Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory Through the Camera's Eye. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1999.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

1. Class Facilitations. We will conduct ourselves as a proseminar, the focus and intent of our time together being to use class readings as a jumping off point to develop and explore the theoretical and methodological problems involved in considering the relationship(s) between rhetoric, memory, and history in our own work. Beginning on 9/17 we will assign one individual the task of facilitating discussion by raising the initial issue or problem for consideration in class discussion. The facilitator should plan to spend 10-15 minutes framing the problem or issue that they want us to consider, laying out potential avenues of analysis, and exploring the theoretical, methodological, and critical implications of their question or argument. Where possible it would be especially useful to draw upon prior readings and class discussions and/or the particular cases and problem(s) that animate your own program of research. And in any case, it is always a good idea to try to ground your considerations in "material" instances of the problems that concern you.

 

2. Discussion Questions/Position Papers. Although one individual will take the responsibility for class facilitation each week, every individual needs to be ready to extend or develop the discussion in terms of their own reading, thinking, and writing. To focus your preparation for class I would like for you to prepare a brief, one page (250 words) discussion question or position statement on some aspect of the reading each week as it relates to the themes of the class. Under the best case scenario, of course, your discussion questions would represent your efforts to integrate weekly readings with your own research project, so that by the end of the semester you would have developed a project that engages the readings of the course in more-or-less complex ways. I will collect your discussion questions/position papers at the end of class each week. I will read and occasionally comment on the essays.

 

3. Research Project. Each student will prepare a research paper of 15-20 pp. (typed, double spaced, 12 point type) + however many pages of footnotes and references are necessary to sustain your argument and analysis. Seminar papers should be written with a clear sense of thesis and audience, and with an eye towards eventual publication. There are few limits to what you might write about this semester as long as you are addressing the broad themes of the course, i.e., the relationship between rhetoric, history, and memory, and that you engage the readings and arguments that animate the class. My assumption is that all of you have research programs (some may even be working on dissertation topics) that articulate with the thematics of the course at some fairly significant level, and I encourage you to use this assignment to develop those points of contact in ways that will be useful to you in other contexts. If there are no particular projects you want to work on -- or are new to the concerns of rhetoric, history, and memory -- you may satisfy this assignment by preparing a critical book review. There has been a veritable explosion of works on memory and history in recent years, and if you choose to go this route I would ask you to identify two such books (not included on the course syllabus) and to read them against one another as a framework for developing a theoretical problematic that articulates with class discussions and readings on the relationship between rhetoric, history, and memory. Students will turn in a brief (2-3 pp.) prospectus of their project + a preliminary bibliography no later than noon on Wednesday, 9/29. We will meet in individual conference to discuss your projects during the week of 10/4. I am happy to read and comment upon rough drafts of your essay as long as they are turned in no later than noon on 11/22 (e-mail attachments are acceptable). Two hard copies of the final essay will be due no later noon on Monday, 12/6.

 

4. Research Presentations. As I suggest above, it is my expectation that you will begin early to develop your own research project for the class and that you will use class discussions as a forum in which to talk through the problems and issues that confront you as you move forward in the project. I will try to set aside some time early on to let individuals offer a brief description of their project to the class. On 10/10 and 10/17 we will present our completed projects to the members of the seminar. Instead of presenting your own work, however, another member of the seminar will be assigned the task of presenting your paper to the group. On 10/4 I will turn over to each member of the seminar the paper of another member of the group. It will be your task to study the paper and then to prepare a 10 minute, extemporaneous presentation of the paper to the group. Your task is not to develop a critique of the essay, but rather to make as clear and objective a presentation as is possible (without actually reading the paper to us). The members of the seminar will then discuss the paper for 10-15 minutes with the author being silent. After 25 minutes or so of presentation and discussion the author will be allowed to join in to respond with explanations, modification, extensions, rebuttals, or whatever.

 

GRADES

 

In graduate seminars I operate with the assumption that you are professionals in training for an increasingly competitive and demanding career as a scholar and intellectual, and that you approach your work seriously and responsibly. That means taking care with your reading and writing, turning in assignments on time, and carrying your burden of class dis-cussions. Your final grade for the class will be based on the written presentation of your final project (75%) and on class participation (25%). The evaluation for class participation will be based the quality of your class discussion, facilitation, weekly discussion questions, and end of the semester presentation.

 

CONFERENCES

 

I am always available to graduate students between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. (except on Sundays and Tuesdays, which I reserve for my own writing). The trick, of course, is to find me. I will generally be in my office during the afternoon on WF, and those are the best times to seek me out. If you are near the CMCL Building feel free just to stop by; if you are not near the building it is always a good idea to call first (5-5411) to make sure that I am in the office. If you need to see me at other times it is a good idea to make an appointment &endash;&endash; and please do not be shy about asking for an appointment if you need one. Under NO circumstances (short of life and death emergencies) are you to call me at home (317-535-0719) before 8:00 A.M. or after 5:00 P.M. (or during IU basketball games!). I check e-mail obsessively, and that is always a good way to get in touch with me (lucaites@indiana.edu).

 

COURSE CALENDAR

 

(Note: One copy of all works marked with an asterisk (*) will be available in the ugly green filing cabinet on the north wing of the third floor of the CMCL Bld. Feel free to check the materials out to photocopy, but please do not keep the materials for an extended period of time. I will try to have all photocopy materials available within the first several weeks of the semester).

 

 

Introduction

 

9/3 Facing "… the shadows of the past" and "rummaging through time": Some Preliminary Considerations on the Relationship Between Rhetoric and History/Memory/Critique
Read: Card, Orson Scott. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. New York: Thomas Dougherty Assoc., 1996.

 

Part I: Memoria and the Articulation of Rhetoric, History, and Critique

 

9/10 The Burdens of Rhetorical History: The Problem of History/Memory/Critique

 

Read: Gronbeck, Bruce E. "The Rhetorics of the Past: History, Argument, andCollective Memory," Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases. Ed. Kathleen J. Turner. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1998. 47-60.*

Cox, J. Robert. Cultural Memory and Public Moral Argument. The Van Zelst Lecture in Communication. Northwestern University School of Speech, Evanston, IL, May 1987.

Carruthers, Mary. "Collective Memory and memoria rerum." The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200. NY: Cambridge UP, 1998. 7-60.*

Hasian, Marouf, Jr., and Robert E. Frank, "Rhetoric, History, and Collective Memory: Decoding the Goldhagen Debates." Western Journal of Communication 63 (1999): 95-114.*

Hutton, Patrick. History as an Art of Memory. Hanover, VT: University of Vermont, 1993. 1-73, 154-68.*

LaCapra, Dominick. "History and Memory in the Shadows of the Holcaust," History and Memory After Auschwitz. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1998. 8-42.*

 

9/17 History vs. Collective Memory

 

Read: Hawlbachs, Maurice. The Collective Memory. Trans. Francis J. Ditter, Jr.and Vita Yazdi. New York: Harper, 1950. (Note: Be sure to read the introductory essay by anthropologist Mary Douglas.)

Schwartz, Barry. "The Reconstruction of Abraham Lincoln," Collective Remembering, ed. David Middleton and Derek Edwards. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE, 1990. 81-107.*

 

9/24 Memory, Historical Materialism, and the "Angel of History"

 

Read: Benjamin, Walter. "The Storyteller" and "Theses on the Philosophy of History," Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken, 1969. 83-110, 253-64.*

Tiedemann, Rolf. "Historical Materialism or Political Messianism? An Interpretation," Benjamin: Philosophy, Aesthetics, History. Ed. Gary Smith. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1983. 175-209.*

"Against the Grain": The Dialectical Conception of Culture in Walter Benjamin's Theses of 1940," Walter Benjamin and the Demands of History. Ed. Michael P. Steinberg. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1996.206-13.*

McGee, Michael Calvin. "Secular Humanism: A Radical Reading of 'Culture Industry' Productions." Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 1 (1984): 1-33.

 

10/1 No Class &endash; Work Projects/Individual Conferences

 

10/8 Counter-memories and Critical Rhetorics
Read: Foucault, Michel. "Nieztsche, Genealogy, History," languague, counter-memory, practice: Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault. Ed. Donald F. Bouchard. Trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1977. 139-64.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Random House. 1977. 3-31, 135-230, 293-309. (Skim the remainder of the book as time allows).

Burlein, Ann. "Countermemory on the Right: The Case of Focus on The Family," Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present. Ed. Mieke Bal, Jonathon Crewe, and Leo Spitzer. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth UP, 1999. 208-17.

 

Part II: Memoria and Amnesia in American Rhetorical Culture

 

10/15 Towards Consideration of a Rhetorical Culture of Amnesia
Read: Lipsitz, George. Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis, U of Minnesota P, 1990.

 

10/22 The Official and the Vernacular in American Rhetorical Culture, I
Read: Bodnar, John. Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, andPatriotismin the Twentieth Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1992.

Browne, Stephen. "Reading Public Memory in Daniel Webster's Plymouth Rock Oration." Western Journal of Communication, 57 (1993) 464-77.

 

10/29 Contesting the Memorial in American Rhetorical Culture, I
Read: History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past. Ed. Edward T. Linenthall and Tom Englehardt. New York: HenryHolt, 1996.

Gieryn, Thomas F. "Balancing Acts: Science, Enola Gayt and History Wars at the Smithsonian." The Politics of Display: Museums, Science, Culture. Ed. Sharon MacDonald. New York: Routledge, 1998. 197-228.

11/4 No Class &endash; NCA Conference

 

11/11 Contesting the Memorial in American Rhetorical Culture II
Read: Sturken, Marita. Tangled Memories; The Vietnam War, The AIDSEpidemic, and the Politics of Remembering. Berkeley, CA: U of California P, 1997.

 

11/19 The Rhetoric of Display and the Commodification of Memory
Read: Handler, Richard, and Eric Gable. The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1997.

Pearson, Roberta. "Custer Loses Again: The Contestation over CommodifiedPublic Memory." Cultural Memory and the Construction of Identity. Ed. Dan Ben-Amos and Liliane Weissberg. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1999. 176-201.

 

11/26 No Class &endash; Thanksgiving

 

12/3 Snapshots of Memory
Read: Zelizer, Barbie. Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory Through the Camera's Eye. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1999.

Lucaites, John Louis. TBA.

 

Part III: Presentation of Seminar Papers

 

12/10 Presentation of Seminar Projects

12/17 Presentation of Seminar Projects


 

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