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Argument, Political Theory, and Composition Classes
Varieties of Cartesian Rhetorical Theory
A careful analysis of the rhetorical thought of René Descartes and of a distinguished group of post-Cartesians. Covering a unique range of authors, including Bernard Lamy and Nicolas Malebranche, Carr attacks the idea, which has become commonplace in contemporary criticism, that the Cartesian system is incompatible with rhetoric.
Hendley argues that philosophers of education should reject their preoccupation with defining terms and analyzing concepts and once again embrace the philosophical task of constructing general theories of education. Hendley believes that like Dewey, Russell, and Whitehead, philosophers should take a more active, practical role in education.
Rhetoric and Space in the Age of the Network
Since the 1967 riots that ripped apart the city, Detroit has traditionally been viewed either as a place in ruins or a metropolis on the verge of rejuvenation. In Digital Detroit: Rhetoric and Space in the Age of the Network, author Jeff Rice goes beyond the notion of Detroit as simply a city of two ideas. Instead he explores the city as a web of multiple meanings which, in the digital age, come together in the city’s spaces to form a network that shapes the writing, the activity, and the very thinking of those around it.
Rice focuses his study on four of Detroit’s most iconic places—Woodward Avenue, the Maccabees Building, Michigan Central Station, and 8 Mile—covering each in a separate chapter. Each of these chapters explains one of the four features of network rhetoric: folksono(me), the affective interface, response, and decision making. As these rhetorical features connect, they form the overall network called Digital Detroit. Rice demonstrates how new media, such as podcasts, wikis, blogs, interactive maps, and the Internet in general, knit together Detroit into a digital network whose identity is fluid and ever-changing. In telling Detroit’s spatial story, Rice deftly illustrates how this new media, as a rhetorical practice, ultimately shapes understandings of space in ways that computer applications and city planning often cannot. The result is a model for a new way of thinking and interacting with space and the imagination, and for a better understanding of the challenges network rhetorics pose for writing.
Vogels outlines how the Maysles brothers blended a unique amalgam of direct cinema characteristics, a modern humanist aesthetic, and a collaborative working process that included other directors and editors. Looking at the films as both shapers and reflections of American culture, he points out that the works offer insights into a wide range of contemporary topics including materialism, celebrity, modern art, and the American family. In addition to describing the changes in technology that made direct cinema possible, Vogels provides careful, scene-by-scene analyses that allow for a consideration of the Maysles brothers’ films as films, a tactic not frequently employed in nonfiction film studies.
Experimental Motion Pictures as Major Genre
In Dispositional Properties, David Weissman attacks a problem central to the philosophy of mind and, by implication, to the theory of being: Are there potentialities, capabilities, which dispose the mind to think in one way rather than another?
The volume is arranged in the form of four arguments that converge upon a single point. First, there is an intricate discussion of the shortcomings of Hume's account of mind as ideas and impressions. Next comes a brief treatment of the arguments of some of Weissman's contemporaries, including Carnap and Braithwaite. Third, Weissman discusses Wittgenstein's theories of learning and knowledge. Finally, there is a full discussion of Aristotle and his doctrine of potentialities.
The question this book ultimately raises is how to steer between a doctrine of mind as no more than a series of acts, on the one hand, and a doctrine of mind as a kind of unitary object, on the other. The solution is to show first of all that there must be a potentiality in the universe, and then to show clearly and in detail that the mind is shot through with that potentiality.
From the Chicago Conspiracy Trial and the O. J. Simpson trial to the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill congressional hearings, legal and legislative proceedings in the latter part of the twentieth-century kept Americans spellbound. Situated on the shifting border between imagination and the law, trial plays edit, arrange, and reproduce court records, media coverage, and first-person interviews, transforming these elements into a performance. In this first book-length critical study of contemporary American documentary theater, Jacqueline O’Connor examines in depth ten such plays, all written and staged since 1970, and considers the role of the genre in re-creating and revising narratives of significant conflicts in contemporary history.
Documentary theater, she shows, is a particularly appropriate and widely utilized theatrical form for engaging in debate about tensions between civil rights and institutional power, the inconsistency of justice, and challenges to gender norms. For each of the plays discussed, including The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, Unquestioned Integrity: The Hill/Thomas Hearings, and The Laramie Project, O'Connor provides historical context and a brief production history before considering the trial the play focuses on. Grouping plays historically and thematically, she demonstrates how dramatic representation advances our understanding of the law's power while revealing the complexities that hinder society's pursuit of justice.
The Letters of Sailor and Soldier Edward W. Bacon
Editor George Burkhardt has brought together letters and diary entries of Edward W. Bacon, a Union sailor and soldier who served as a captain’s clerk in the navy and as a captain in the 29th Connecticut Infantry (Colored). The correspondence gives a unique view of ship and camp life and makes evident the close-knit family life Bacon enjoyed, particularly with his father, Leonard Bacon, a prominent minister who spoke against slavery.