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Read more about Reading Rhetorical Theory

Reading Rhetorical Theory

(2 reviews)

Atilla Hallsby, Minneapolis, MN

Copyright Year: 2022

ISBN 13: 9781946135889

Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing

Language: English

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Reviewed by Dylan Rollo, Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Drake University on 12/14/23

This book generally does well balancing comprehensiveness with a concise, introductory approach. Especially in the introductory chapters, Hallsby explains the most fundamental terms with approachable examples and helpful videos. As the book... read more

Reviewed by Sharon Waters, Associate Professor, Tidewater Community College on 12/31/22

Dr. Hallsby has developed an extensive, interdisciplinary, and global overview of rhetorical theory that I have ever read in academia! The text carefully weaves a tapestry of rhetoric as an art of speech through rhetoric's powerful voice in... read more

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Contributors
  • Main Body
    • Chapter 1: What is Rhetorical Theory?
    • Chapter 2: The "Origins" of Rhetorical Theory
    • Chapter 3: Propaganda and the Common Good
    • Chapter 4: The Symbol
    • Chapter 5: The Sign
    • Chapter 6: Rhetoric and Ideology
    • Chapter 7: Rhetoric and Argumentation
    • Chapter 8: Rhetoric and Narrative
    • Chapter 9: Visual Rhetoric
    • Chapter 10: The Rhetorical Situation
    • Chapter 11: The Settler Situation
    • Chapter 12: The Secrecy Situation
    • Chapter 14: The Digital Situation
  • Assignments and Study Guides
    • Short Paper 1: The Encomium
    • Short Paper 2: Annotation Assignment
    • Short Paper 3: Rhetorical Analysis
    • Exam 1 Study Guide: Chapters 1-5
    • Exam 2 Study Guide: Chapters 6-9
    • Exam 3 Study Guide: Chapters 10-14
    • Appendix: Definitions of Rhetoric

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About the Book

This is a textbook that was originally designed for a 3000-level large lecture course on “Rhetorical Theory” at the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities. An interdisciplinary tradition, rhetorical theory describes how speech, representation, and power are managed by techniques and technologies of communication. The plan of this book moves from rhetoric as an art of speech to rhetoric as a technology of power. The early chapters provide definitions and context for rhetoric as speech, middle chapters (e.g., on signs, symbols, visual images, argumentation, and narrative) describe rhetoric as representation, and the concluding chapters (e.g., on settler colonialism, secrecy, and digital rhetoric) elaborate on rhetoric as a technology of power. Of course, there is considerable overlap across these areas: the chapter on “rhetoric and ideology” sets the stage for later understandings of rhetoric as power; the chapter on “the rhetorical situation” hearkens back to the introductory understanding of rhetoric as speech. The book includes (audio and/or video) recordings with each chapter, as well as guidelines for proposed written assignments. Students using this resource should gain a thorough understanding of what rhetoric is, how it was practiced historically and today, and the ways that rhetoric wields an invisible influence over contemporary public and political life. Additionally, this book is designed for use across a variety of modalities, including in-person, online (synchronous/asynchronous), and hybridized formats. Additional resources (PowerPoint slides, quiz/exam questions) are also available to confirmed instructors upon request.

About the Contributors


Atilla Hallsby, assistant professor in the Communication Studies department in the Rhetorical Studies area at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

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