Isocrates’ Hymn to Logos


Here’s the text of Isocrates’ famous “Hymn to Logos” in which he praises the community-building function of rhetoric.

[5] But the fact is that since they have not taken the trouble to make distinctions after this manner in each instance, they are ill-disposed to all eloquence; and they have gone so far astray as not to perceive that they are hostile to that power which of all the faculties that belong to the nature of man is the source of most of our blessings.

For in the other powers which we possess we are in no respect superior to other living creatures; nay, we are inferior to many in swiftness and in strength and in other resources;

[6] but, because there has been implanted in us the power to persuade each other and to make clear to each other whatever we desire, not only have we escaped the life of wild beasts, but we have come together and founded cities and made laws and invented arts; and, generally speaking, there is no institution devised by man which the power of speech has not helped us to establish.

[7] For this it is which has laid down laws concerning things just and unjust, and things base and honorable; and if it were not for these ordinances we should not be able to live with one another.

It is by this also that we confute the bad and extol the good.

Through this we educate the ignorant and appraise the wise; for the power to speak well is taken as the surest index of a sound understanding, and discourse which is true and lawful and just is the outward image of a good and faithful soul.

[8] With this faculty we both contend against others on matters which are open to dispute and seek light for ourselves on things which are unknown; for the same arguments which we use in persuading others when we speak in public, we employ also when we deliberate in our own thoughts; and, while we call eloquent those who are able to speak before a crowd, we regard as sage those who most skilfully debate their problems in their own minds.

[9] And, if there is need to speak in brief summary of this power, we shall find that none of the things which are done with intelligence take place without the help of speech, but that in all our actions as well as in all our thoughts speech is our guide, and is most employed by those who have the most wisdom.

Therefore, those who dare to speak with disrespect of educators and teachers of philosophy deserve our opprobrium no less than those who profane the sanctuaries of the gods.

Source: Isocrates. Isocrates with an English Translation in three volumes, by George Norlin, Ph.D., LL.D. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1980. Retrieved from http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0010.tlg014.perseus-eng1:5

Supporting group research projects with free online communication technologies


Fall 2011 Student Hackathon CodingIn this blog post and an informal, face-to-face lunchtime “brownbag” seminar for faculty members held today on campus, I will present some principles and examples of free online applications that have worked well in my team-intensive professional communication and social research methods courses.

The main purpose of the workshop is to share instructors’ insights and specific experiences with communication technologies for student team research projects, starting with my own. Each technology has had its strengths and weaknesses, and some of these can work together or even be set up to function within or “through” the Blackboard course management interface we use at our university.

The relevance to rhetoric is that teams require appropriate forums for their collaborative everyday communication, and the forums can structure, enable and limit the kinds of informative and persuasive acts that learners and researchers need to engage in during a short-term university course.

Continue reading

The rhetorical experience of live classical music audiences


NotesAs a member of the Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players, a community choir that performs European renaissance music, I have been practicing for an upcoming concert.

I recently had the opportunity to be in the audience of a performance of the music of Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven by Jane Perry, our current choir director, who played the piano alongside a cellist and clarinetist from our city’s orchestra.

This led me to some reflections on the rhetorical aspects of participating in early and classical music performances as an audience member, especially when one is also a performer of similar music from a nearby culture and era. Continue reading

The Rhetoric of WordPress Blog Plugins


IMG_4678-20

Plugins: The buttons and twiddly bits

Now that I have had some experience this year with building several self-hosted WordPress blogs and sites, I have become very interested in the rhetorical tools enabled by plugins that enhance WordPress for organizational blogs and websites.

Plugins make blogs more functional than the “naked” version of WordPress.  For a person who is not an expert in HTML or PHP, they are tools given for free by those who do write the code, and they enable customization for the rest of us who are just beginner to intermediate blog administrators. Continue reading

Call for papers: ISHR: Rhetoric and Performance, 2013


 

CassandraClip

The neglected prophetess Cassandra pulls her hair in frustration as the city burns

The Nineteenth Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR) will be held in Chicago, USA, from Wednesday, July 24 to Saturday, July 27, 2013. The Biennial Conference of ISHR brings together several hundred specialists in the history of rhetoric from around thirty countries. Continue reading

WordPress blogs as organization or association newsletters


Hey guys, I captured the mouse!A functional option today for an organization’s newsletter is to set up a free public blog on http://wordpress.com/ or to host a WordPress blog on your own website (if you have one).

Blogs are quite professional nowadays (no longer merely online diaries). They are respectable forums for academic associations. The Rhetoric Society of America has a blog (The Blogora) at http://rsa.cwrl.utexas.edu/

Blogs are even used by many nonprofit organizations as the basis for free websites. See this example of a website — the Trent Centre for Community-based Education http://www.trentcentre.ca/ — you wouldn’t even know it’s based on WordPress software unless you scroll down to the very bottom and see the notice “proudly powered by WordPress.”

The rest of the post explains how it can work for your association, why WordPress is a good choice, and how it can be used to automatically distribute content to members who may prefer to browse its content or stay up to date via Facebook or other social media platforms rather than (or in addition to) an email subscription to your blog. Continue reading

Using Zoho Projects as an educator


Penrith mature 1I’m a professor and for the past 10 months, I’ve used Zoho Projects for team projects in my classrooms and for collaborations amongst academics at a distance.

I’d just like to share my thoughts on how I use this tool, the things I absolutely love about this online collaboration application, and things I wish could be worked on.  I’m also sharing this with the Zoho support team on their support forum.

Continue reading