CCCCs Panel / Epideixis and Rhetorical Education: Beyond Coercion and Critique (4/30)

full name / name of organization: 
Erich Werner / UNC Chapel Hill
contact email: 

"In epideictic oratory, the speaker turns educator": decades ago, Chaim Perelman and Lucy Olbrechts-Tyteca suggested this powerful tie between education and epideictic. Epideixis, Aristotle's third branch of rhetoric, is the rhetoric of ceremony, of praise and blame, of display, of "speechifying," and "preaching to the choir." The epideictic speaker, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca implied, educates in the sense that, like a teacher, she initiates her audience into a larger community and its values and traditions: the epideictic rhetor is a kind of educator, and the educator a kind of epideictic rhetor.

Since then, excellent has work has been done examining the epideictic function of education in society (Dale L. Sullivan). This panel takes a different direction, and approaches the epideictic, not as a theoretical aim of education, or as a teaching tool, but rather as subject matter--as something our students can learn to produce.

We will consider all proposals that connect the epideictic and education, but are particularly interested in the following:

*Papers that theorize what larger roles the epideictic might play in composition curricula and liberal education generally;
*Historical studies of epideictic instruction and its rationale in, for example, Classical or Renaissance education;
*Papers that identify contemporary epideictic genres in public or popular discourse and theorize how these might be taught (potential genres include celebrity gossip, tributes and "roasts," punditry, and so on);
*Papers that offer case studies of the teaching and learning of epideictic rhetoric and explore their implications.

Particularly welcome are discussions of how teaching epideixis might complement, transform, or counteract postmodern pedagogies that urge students to continually critique--as well as practical pedagogies that urge students to continually and unilaterally persuade. How might epideixis help us build bridges between critique and ceremony, coercion and community-building, skepticism and celebration?

Submit 200-word proposals to Erich Werner, PhD student, Department of English & Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.