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The Rhetorical Act: Thinking, Speaking and Writing Critically 4th Edition

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Susan Schultz Huxman

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2003, 1996, 1982
  • 352 Pages


THE RHETORICAL ACT: THINKING, SPEAKING AND WRITING CRITICALLY, Fourth Edition, teaches liberal arts students how to craft and critique rhetorical messages that influence, inviting and enabling them to become articulate rhetors and critics of their symbolic universe. The new edition maintains a traditional humanistic approach to rhetoric, while extending the scope and relevance of the text. THE RHETORICAL ACT reaffirms the ancient Aristotelian and Ciceronian relationships between art and practice -- one cannot master rhetorical skills without an understanding of the theory on which such skills are based. The text combines thorough coverage of rhetorical criticism, media literacy, and strategic public speaking, providing a solid grounding in essential concepts while helping students hone their skills in each area.

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, University of Minnesota

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell (PhD, University of Minnesota) is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of MAN CANNOT SPEAK FOR HER: A CRITICAL STUDY OF EARLY FEMINIST RHETORIC (1989) and co-author of DEEDS DONE IN WORDS: PRESIDENTIAL RHETORIC AND THE GENRES OF GOVERNANCE (1990), PRESIDENTS CREATING THE PRESIDENCY (2008), and THE INTERPLAY OF INFLUENCE: NEWS, ADVERTISING, POLITICS, AND THE MASS MEDIA (6th ed., 2006). She is editor of CRITIQUES OF CONTEMPORARY RHETORIC (1997, 2003), WOMEN PUBLIC SPEAKERS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1800–1925 (1993), and WOMEN PUBLIC SPEAKERS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1925–present (1994). Awards include a fellowship at the Shorenstein Center of the Kennedy School at Harvard, the National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar Award, the Lauren Ecroyd outstanding teacher award, the Woolbert Award for scholarship of exceptional originality and influence, Golden Anniversary Monograph Award, and the University of Minnesota 2002 Distinguished Woman Scholar in the Humanities and Social Sciences. She has taught at Macalester College; The British College at Palermo, Italy; California State University at Los Angeles; SUNY at Brockport and at Binghamton; City University of New York; University of Kansas; and Dokkyo University, Tokyo, Japan.

Susan Schultz Huxman, Elliott School of Communication, The Wichita State University

Susan Schultz Huxman (PhD, University of Kansas) is President and Professor at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. Her first academic appointment as director of the Public Speaking program was with Wake Forest University. She won numerous teaching awards in her twenty-year career at Wichita State University (WSU). Before accepting the presidential post in Canada, she served as Director of the Elliott School of Communication at WSU and regularly taught honors public speaking, rhetorical criticism, research methods, and strategic communication in organizations. In her current post, as time permits, she teaches special courses and workshops in rhetorical theory and criticism and leadership and crisis communication. An active scholar, she has published in the field of rhetorical criticism and U.S. public address. A new book, LANDMARK SPEECHES IN U.S. PACIFISM, is in press with Texas A & M University Press. She engages in a range of professional speaking and consulting opportunities each year to advance the discipline, develop support for the college, and showcase scholarship in action.
  • A new prologue and epilogue address why studying rhetoric is important and what the discipline of rhetoric entails, both within the liberal arts and a general education curriculum. The preface is written for beginning students, while the epilogue is written for advanced students and instructor audiences.
  • The new edition features major revisions to key chapters, including additional content; reference to current research and theory; new strategic speaking assignments; examples of complete student speeches; and updated coverage of media, including the latest technology and a special examination of war rhetoric.
  • In 10 of the 14 chapters, new material for analysis allows students to apply critical concepts using updated rhetorical artifacts, including both familiar "classics" from U.S. rhetorical history and compelling current examples from popular culture.
  • The exercise section of each chapter has been updated and reorganized to reflect the new edition's focus on three areas of rhetoric: critical thinking, analytical writing, and strategic public speaking.
  • The text's content and exercises reflect the ancient idea of the relationship between art and practice -- you cannot improve a skill without understanding the theory, concepts, and ideas on which it is based, and you cannot truly understand the theory unless you use and test it in practice.
  • The authors treat rhetorical action as a joint effort of rhetor and audience, emphasizing the audience's active, collaborative role, including the creation of enthymemes, arguments produced cooperatively by rhetor and audience, as "the substance of persuasion."
  • The text approaches rhetoric in all its varieties as a "strategy to encompass a situation" (Kenneth Burke) and as "that art or talent by which discourse is adapted to its end" (George Campbell).
  • THE RHETORICAL ACT: THINKING, SPEAKING AND WRITING CRITICALLY treats all forms of rhetoric as points on a single continuum of influence, rather than distinguishing speaking or writing to inform or entertain.
  • The text concentrates on the descriptive, analytical, and evaluative tools that compose the critical process rather than emphasizing "schools of criticism." It introduces students to a comprehensive critical "grammar" and "vocabulary", and provides a critical model to help them discern the meaning of messages.
1. A Rhetorical Perspective.
2. The Rhetorical Act.
3. Crafting Your Rhetorical Act.
4. The Resources of Evidence.
5. The Resources of Argument.
6. The Resources of Organization.
7. The Resources of Language.
8. Challenges Arising from the Audience.
9. Challenges Arising from the Subject and Purpose.
10. Opportunities and Challenges Arising from the Rhetor.
11. Understanding Evaluation.
12. Understanding Visual Rhetoric.
13. Understanding the Medium of Transmission.
14. Understanding Occasion.

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  • ISBN-10: 1133381464
  • ISBN-13: 9781133381464
  • STARTING AT $18.99

  • STARTING AT $31.49

  • ISBN-10: 0495091723
  • ISBN-13: 9780495091721
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $150.00
  • RETAIL $199.95

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


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