So Many Trajectories for Study …

Some time ago, I talked about assigning a project in my rhetoric class that required students to look at historical figures in the field of rhetoric and to construct some sort of timeline (or anti-timeline, to resist chronological ordering) showing which figures they believe are most important to survey-of-rhetoric type endeavors and what the relationships between those figures are. This came after we read several historiographic pieces (especially focusing on Aspasia), so students were purposefully engaging in historiography in this project.

They came up with some really awesome stuff.  

Many students did work on sites like Tiki-Toki, TimeToast, and Dipity. I feel a little funky linking to their work, even though it’s public, since I don’t have an IRB. But, if you go to a timeline site and search for rhetoric, you’ll probably find their stuff! (By the way, I noticed that people who did online work were more likely to stick to chronological ordering, while those who wanted to resist that imperative tended to turn in hard-copy, crafty-type things.)

So, as a poor substitute for that material, I’m pasting below a list of just some (!) of the rhetors and rhetoricians students focused on. In some cases, they were arguing for why a person is already included in traditional studies of rhetoric. In other cases, they were arguing that someone should or could be studied as a rhetorician or rhetor even if they typically aren’t recognized as such (or even if they don’t recognize themselves as such). A number of students organized their projects based on particular themes, like “women in Ancient Greece,” “philosophers,” or “charismatic dictators.” The major takeaway for me here is that, wow, the average student knows a lot of people who could teach us something new about rhetoric!

Here’s the list (and I emphasize again that this is only partial, based on the notes I took while grading):

Adolf Hitler
Al Gore
Amelia Earhart
Angelina Jolie
Aristotle
Aspasia
Avital Ronnell
Barack Obama
Benito Mussolini
Bill Clinton
Boethius
Bono
Bruce Lee
Buddha
Chael Sonnen
Charolotte Perkins Gilman
Christine de Pizan
Cicero
Confucius
Cornel West
Dan Savage
David Hume
Demosthenese
Diotima
Douglas Ehninger
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Ellen Degeneres
Emma Goldman
Empedocles
Erika Lindemann
Fidel Castro
Francis Bacon
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Freud
George Clooney
George Kennedy
George W. Bush
Gil Scott-Heron
Gloria Anzaldua
Gorgias
Henry Johnstone Jr.
Hillary Clinton
Howard Zinn
Hypatia
Isocrates
Jackie Joyner Kersee
Jesus Christ
John Locke
Jon Stewart
Joseph Stalin
Judith Butler
Kant
Kenneth Burke
Kim Il-Sung
Lady Gaga
Lenny Bruce
Lloyd Bitzer
Lysias
Maci Bookout
Margaret Sanger
Marshal McLuhan
Martin Luther King Jr.
Mary Wollstonecraft
Muamar el-Gadhafi
Muhammad Ali
Nietzsche
Noam Chomsky
Oprah Winfrey
Patton Oswalt
Pericles
Petrarch
Petrus Ramus
Phidippides
Plato
Pope Urban II
PostSecret
Protagoras
Queen Elizabeth I
Quintillian
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Randy Newman
Randy Pausch
Rene Descartes
Saddartha Gautama
Sappho
Sarah Palin
Shakespeare
Slavoj Zizek
Socrates
Sojourner Truth
St. Augustine
St. Bede
Stephen Toulmin
Susan B. Anthony
Thomas Aquinas
Tyra Banks
Voltaire
Zeno of Citium

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