Special Issue "Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. James S. Baumlin

Department of English, Missouri State University, Springfield MO 65897, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: English Renaissance literature (Shakespeare, Donne, Milton); the history of rhetoric; rhetorical and critical theory
Guest Editor
Dr. Craig A. Meyer

Language and Literature, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX 78363, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: modern and classical rhetoric; disability studies; rhetoric and composition; creative writing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Once upon a time, Western Enlightenment dreamed of a logos-based discourse whose speaker was “universal,” presumably neutral in gender, ethnicity, and social status. In dreaming this naïve dream, Enlightenment philosophy embraced a classical-Aristotelian model of persuasion, in which logos—logical argument or, more broadly, “good reasons”—ruled over pathos and ethos. Our movement into late-modernism brings us to an age of “expert systems,” disciplinary specialization, and information overload, in which logos has been largely displaced in public discourse. Reliant upon others’ expertise, audiences are left perilously to take speakers’ claims “on trust.”

The essays in this special issue aim to waken contemporary discussions of ethos (and of rhetoric generally) from their Western, classical-Aristotelian slumbers. Western rhetoric was never univocal in its theory or practice of ethos: essays in this collection give the proof. Contributors aim to shake rhetoric out of its Eurocentrism: the traditions of South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia sustain their own models of ethos and lead us to reconsider rhetoric in its rich variety—what ethos was, is, and will become. This collection is groundbreaking in its attempt to outline the diversity of argument, trust, and authority beyond a singular, dominant perspective.

This collection offers readers a choice of itineraries: thematic, geographic, historical. Essays may be read individually or cumulatively, as exercises in comparative rhetoric. In taking a world perspective, Histories of Ethos will prove a seminal discussion. Its comparative approach will help readers appreciate the commonalities and the distinctions in competing cultural-discursive practices—in what brings us together and what drives us apart as communities. And it is the editors’ hope that, out of this historical, multicultural dialogue, some new perspectives on ethos may come forward to broaden our discussion and our breadth of understanding. No fee will be charged to contributors in this special issue.

Dr. James S. Baumlin
Dr. Craig A. Meyer
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Rhetoric
  • comparative rhetoric
  • ethos
  • logos
  • pathos
  • character
  • persona
  • selfhood
  • Aristotle
  • Cicero
  • classicism
  • modernism
  • trust
  • authority
  • communication

Published Papers (6 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-6
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessEditorial
Positioning Ethos in/for the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction to Histories of Ethos
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030078
Received: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (376 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this essay is to introduce, contextualize, and provide rationale for texts published in the Humanities special issue, Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric. It surveys theories of ethos and selfhood that have evolved since the mid-twentieth century, in [...] Read more.
The aim of this essay is to introduce, contextualize, and provide rationale for texts published in the Humanities special issue, Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric. It surveys theories of ethos and selfhood that have evolved since the mid-twentieth century, in order to identify trends in discourse of the new millennium. It outlines the dominant theories—existentialist, neo-Aristotelian, social-constructionist, and poststructuralist—while summarizing major theorists of language and culture (Archer, Bourdieu, Foucault, Geertz, Giddens, Gusdorf, Heidegger). It argues for a perspectivist/dialectical approach, given that no one theory comprehends the rich diversity of living discourse. While outlining the “current state of theory,” this essay also seeks to predict, and promote, discursive practices that will carry ethos into a hopeful future. (We seek, not simply to study ethos, but to do ethos.) With respect to twenty-first century praxis, this introduction aims at the following: to acknowledge the expressive core of discourse spoken or written, in ways that reaffirm and restore an epideictic function to ethos/rhetoric; to demonstrate the positionality of discourse, whereby speakers and writers “out themselves” ethotically (that is, responsively and responsibly); to explore ethos as a mode of cultural and embodied personal narrative; to encourage an ethotic “scholarship of the personal,” expressive of one’s identification/participation with/in the subject of research; to argue on behalf of an iatrological ethos/rhetoric based in empathy, care, healing (of the past) and liberation/empowerment (toward the future); to foster interdisciplinarity in the study/exploration/performance of ethos, establishing a conversation among scholars across the humanities; and to promote new versions and hybridizations of ethos/rhetoric. Each of the essays gathered in the abovementioned special issue achieves one or more of these aims. Most are “cultural histories” told within the culture being surveyed: while they invite criticism as scholarship, they ask readers to serve as witnesses to their stories. Most of the authors are themselves “positioned” in ways that turn their texts into “outings” or performances of gender, ethnicity, “race,” or ability. And most affirm the expressive, epideictic function of ethos/rhetoric: that is, they aim to display, affirm, and celebrate those “markers of identity/difference” that distinguish, even as they humanize, each individual and cultural storytelling. These assertions and assumptions lead us to declare that Histories of Ethos, as a collection, presents a whole greater than its essay-parts. We conceive it, finally, as a conversation among theories, histories, analyses, praxes, and performances. Some of this, we know, goes against the grain of modern (Western) scholarship, which privileges analysis over narrative and judges texts against its own logocentric commitments. By means of this introduction and collection, we invite our colleagues in, across, and beyond the academy “to see differently.” Should we fall short, we will at least have affirmed that some of us “see the world and self”—and talk about the world and self—through different lenses and within different cultural vocabularies and positions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Other

Open AccessArticle
How the American Working Class Views the “Working Class”
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010053
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
PDF Full-text (193 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article reviews the complications in understanding some of the conflicting tenets of American working-class ethos, especially as it unfolds in the college classroom. It asserts that the working class values modesty, straightforwardness, and hard work and has a difficult time accepting an [...] Read more.
This article reviews the complications in understanding some of the conflicting tenets of American working-class ethos, especially as it unfolds in the college classroom. It asserts that the working class values modesty, straightforwardness, and hard work and has a difficult time accepting an ethos based in formal education. The article also discusses some of the performance aspects of working-class texts and explores the difficulties that outsiders face in trying to analyze/critique working-class experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle
Hip-Hop Ethos
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010039
Received: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 17 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
PDF Full-text (248 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article excavates the ethos surrounding hip hop, starting from the proposition that hip hop represents a distinct yet pervasive expression of contemporary black subjectivity, which crystalized in 1970s New York City and has since proliferated into a potent ethos of the subaltern [...] Read more.
This article excavates the ethos surrounding hip hop, starting from the proposition that hip hop represents a distinct yet pervasive expression of contemporary black subjectivity, which crystalized in 1970s New York City and has since proliferated into a potent ethos of the subaltern embraced within socially marginalized youth communities throughout the world. The article begins by outlining the black diasporic traditions of expressive performance that hip hop issues from, as discussed through the work of Zora Neale Hurston and Amiri Baraka. In the remainder of the article, a blueprint of hip hop’s ethos is presented based on five fundamental tenets: (1) properties of flow, layering, and rupture; (2) a principle of productive consumption; (3) the production of excessive publicity or promotion—what hip-hop affiliates refer to as “hype”; (4) embracing individual and communal entrepreneurship; and (5) a committed politics of action and loyalty. While acknowledging hip hop’s malleability and refusal to be neatly characterized, the article maintains that its characteristic spirit embodies these core doctrines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle
From Wounded Knee to Sacred Circles: Oglala Lakota Ethos as “Haunt” and “Wound”
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010036
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
PDF Full-text (419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Oglala Lakota ethos manifests a pre-Socratic/Heideggerian variant of ethos: ethos as “haunt”. Within this alternative to the Aristotelian ethos-as-character, Oglala ethos marks out the “dwelling place” of the Oglala Lakota people. That is, the Oglala Lakota ground their cultural- and self-identity in the [...] Read more.
Oglala Lakota ethos manifests a pre-Socratic/Heideggerian variant of ethos: ethos as “haunt”. Within this alternative to the Aristotelian ethos-as-character, Oglala ethos marks out the “dwelling place” of the Oglala Lakota people. That is, the Oglala Lakota ground their cultural- and self-identity in the land: their ethology, in effect, expresses an ecology. Thus, an Oglala Lakotan ethos cannot be understood apart from its nation’s understanding of the natural world—of its primacy and sacredness. A further aspect of the Oglala Lakotan ethos rests in the nation’s history of conflict with EuroAmericans. Through military conflict, forced displacement, and material/economic exploitation of reservation lands, an Oglala Lakota ethos bears within itself a woundedness that continues to this day. Only through an understanding of ethos-as-haunt, of cultural trauma or woundedness, and of the ways of healing can Oglala Lakota ethos be fully appreciated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle
Haunt or Home? Ethos and African American Literature
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030080
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 26 July 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
PDF Full-text (197 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The African American rhetorical tradition could be described as a shelter in an alien environment or as a way station on a long journey. A focus on ethos suggests that such a narrow approach to African American literature cannot do justice to these [...] Read more.
The African American rhetorical tradition could be described as a shelter in an alien environment or as a way station on a long journey. A focus on ethos suggests that such a narrow approach to African American literature cannot do justice to these literary texts: how these writers employ images and symbols, craft and deploy examine identities, blend, criticize, and create traditions, explore contemporary issues, and create community. Because of cultural and racist narratives, African Americans could not simply use either the pre-Socratic or Aristotelian approaches to ethos in their fight for social justice. This essay demonstrates how a postclassical approach to ethos that draws on Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and is focused on community-building and self-healing is central to the African American literature and rhetoric. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)

Other

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Open AccessEssay
A Dialogue on the Constructions of GLBT and Queer Ethos: “I Belong to a Culture That Includes …”
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020097
Received: 25 April 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 5 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
PDF Full-text (251 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Invoking a dialogue between two scholars, authors Jane Hoogestraat and Hillery Glasby discuss the exigence for, construction of, and differentiation between LGBT and queer ethos. Drawing from Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and the construction of a gay identity, the text explores connections [...] Read more.
Invoking a dialogue between two scholars, authors Jane Hoogestraat and Hillery Glasby discuss the exigence for, construction of, and differentiation between LGBT and queer ethos. Drawing from Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and the construction of a gay identity, the text explores connections between queer theory, LGBT(Q) ethos, and queer futurity, ultimately arguing for a more nuanced and critical understanding of the undecidability and performativity of LGBT and queer ethos. In framing LGBT and queer ethos as being at the same time a self and socially constructed and mediated—legitimate and illegitimate—ethos can be understood not only as a site for rhetorical agency, but also as an orientation and a form of activism. Finally, the text offers a case study of Adrienne Rich’s “Yom Kippur,” which is a poem that offers a queer (and) Jewish perspective on identity—from an individual and community level—exhibiting both an LGBT and queer ethos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Humanities EISSN 2076-0787 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top