Rhetorical Touch
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Rhetorical Touch argues for an understanding of touch as a rhetorical art by approaching the sense of touch through the kinds of bodies and minds that rhetorical history and theory have tended to exclude. In resistance to a rhetorical tradition focused on shaping able bodies and neurotypical minds, Shannon Walters explores how people with various disabilities—psychological, cognitive, and physical—employ touch to establish themselves as communicators and to connect with disabled and nondisabled audiences. In doing so, she argues for a theory of rhetoric that understands and values touch as rhetorical.

Essential to her argument is a redefinition of key concepts and terms—the rhetorical situation, rhetorical identification, and the appeals of ethos (character), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic or message). By connecting Empedoclean and sophistic theories to Aristotelian rhetoric and Burkean approaches, Walters's methods mobilize a wide range of key figures in rhetorical history and theory in response to the context of disability. Using Empedocles' tactile approach to logos, Walters shows how the iterative writing processes of people with psychological disabilities shape crucial spaces for identification based on touch in online and real life spaces. Mobilizing the touch-based properties of the rhetorical practice of mētis, Walters demonstrates how rhetors with autism approach the crafting of ethos in generative and embodied ways. Rereading the rhetorical practice of kairos in relation to the proximity between bodies, Walters demonstrates how writers with physical disabilities move beyond approaches of pathos based on pity and inspiration. The volume also includes a classroom-based exploration of the discourses and assumptions regarding bodies in relation to haptic, or touch-based, technologies.

Because the sense of touch is the most persistent of the senses, Walters argues that in contexts of disability and in situations in which people with and without disabilities interact, touch can be a particularly vital instrument for creating meaning, connection, and partial identification. She contends that a rhetoric thus reshaped stretches contemporary rhetoric and composition studies to respond to the contributions of disabled rhetors and transforms the traditional rhetorical appeals and canons. Ultimately, Walters argues, a rhetoric of touch allows for a richer understanding of the communication processes of a wide range of rhetors who use embodied strategies.



Publié par
Date de parution 20 octobre 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611173840
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Rhetorical Touch
Studies in Rhetoric/Communication
Thomas W. Benson, Series Editor
Rhetorical Touch
Shannon Walters

The University of South Carolina Press
2014 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press Columbia, South Carolina 29208
23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Walters, Shannon, author.
Rhetorical touch : disability, identification, haptics / Shannon Walters.
pages cm. - (Studies in rhetoric/communication)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-61117-383-3 (hardback) - ISBN 978-1-61117-384-0 (ebook) 1. Rhetoric.
2. Touch-Psychological aspects. 3. People with disabilities. 4. Haptic devices. I. Title.
P301.W355 2014
For my family-past, present, future

List of Illustrations

Series Editor s Preface


Introduction: Rhetorical Touch-Sensations, Bodies, Rhetorics
1. Defining a Rhetoric of Touch: Bodies in Identification
2. Locating Touch: The Substances and Spaces of Rhetorical Identification
3. Feeling Logos: Empedocles s Repetitive Rhetoric and Psychological Disability
4. Habituating Ethos: Touch, Autism, and M tis
5. Grasping Pathos: Physical Disability, Kairos, and Proximity
6. Teaching Touch, Touching Technology: Interfaces of Haptics and Disability

Conclusion: Holding On and Letting Go-Toward an Ethics of Rhetorical Touch



A rhetoric of touch
Athena s facilitative m tis
Hephaestus s curved appendages
Hephaestus s blacksmith tongs
Kairos, holding razor
Series Editor s Preface
In Rhetorical Touch: Disability, Identification, Haptics, Shannon Walters explores the long history of touch as a topic and as a figure in rhetorical theory, starting with the fifth-century B.C.E. sophist and teacher of rhetoric Empedocles, who taught Gorgias, who in turn debates Socrates in Plato s dialogue Gorgias. Touch reappears through the rhetorical theorizing of Aristotle and Kenneth Burke. Touch, argues Walters, is a neglected sense in rhetorical theory that on closer inspection may be seen to infuse the language and conceptual structure of rhetoric. At the same time, Walters shows how touch for a person experiencing disability, physical or neurological, informs the life world of the disabled person, and at the same time how touch becomes itself rhetorical, a resource for identification with others, and a way of knowing, feeling, and communicating-both a limit and a resource. Walters proposes a theoretical understanding that relates the elements of traditional rhetoric- ethos, pathos, and logos -to the tactile rhetoric of sophistic theory-felt logos, m tic-ethos (embodied intelligence), and kairotic-pathos , as an appeal by bodies in close contact. This conception, Walters shows, has the merit of being able to explain and facilitate the communication of the disabled and of the temporarily abled. Walters explores in detail the way touch is used as a rhetoric and as a theme of rhetoric by disability advocates, and by such cultural figures as Helen Keller and Temple Grandin, among others.
This book is the work of many hands. Through the years over which it has taken shape, I have had the pleasure of learning from and working with a wide range of invaluable colleagues, teachers, students, friends, collaborators, and other supporters. My attempts at acknowledgment will surely only scratch the surface of this deep source of intellectual energy, but I will try.
I have deep appreciation for the rich and interdisciplinary network of scholars and students at Pennsylvania State University, where some of my first stabs at the questions of this book were made. Susan Squier taught me how to ask crucial questions, to recognize the stakes of important issues, and to enjoy the complexities of interdisciplinary engagement. She has been a valuable role model to me, radiating energy and enthusiasm as scholar, teacher, community member, and mentor. Jack Selzer supported this project at crucial stages, teaching me to see the bigger picture surrounding my questions and encouraging me to see their potential as a part of a larger conversation. Stuart Selber urged me to consider the lively connections among disability, accessibility, and technology that I have explored in this project and in others. Michael B rub encouraged me to think of a wider audience for my project and posed questions to which I am still looking for answers.
At Temple University, I have enjoyed the support, fellowship, and connection of a community of scholars and students. Susan Wells generously gave her valuable time, sage advice, and expert guidance at every step of this project as it developed and grew to become what it is now. Eli Goldblatt encouraged me at every juncture in this journey and offered his warmhearted counsel to me without reserve. Shannon Miller both inspired and reassured me, helping me to see the path that my early career could take. Joyce Joyce supported me strongly and gave me the example of a leader who listens. Katherine Henry and Sue-Im Lee generously shared their experiences with me and made my way a little easier because of them. Nichole Miller is a trusted friend with whom I am lucky to share stories and laughter. Bill Gonch has been a kind and generous reader of this project, asking astute questions and suggesting valuable strategies for revision. I am deeply indebted to the undergraduate and graduate students with whom I have shared my ideas on rhetorical touch, especially the undergraduate writing students whose experiences are described in chapter 6 . I have also treasured connections and collaborations with colleagues at Temple s Institute on Disabilities and the First Year Writing Program.
At Temple, I also enjoyed support in the form of release time and fellowships that were instrumental in this book s completion. Summer Research Awards from the College of Liberal Arts and a Study Leave were invaluable. A Faculty Fellowship provided by the Center for the Humanities at Temple was extremely helpful. I appreciated research assistanship from James Brown and Elizabeth Seltzer. In addition I am grateful for an award provided by Penn State s Rock Ethics Institute during the early stages of this project.
I feel especially appreciative of those close to me who supported me, in ways too many to count, while I worked on this book. I appreciate those who have afforded me the time, space, and patience I needed to finish this project. To my parents, Charles J. Walters Jr. and Elaine M. Walters, my first and most ardent cheerleaders, thank you. To Jeff Fraser, with whom I share my life, my heart, and my home, and whose love, companionship, and support have meant the world, thank you for understanding. I value dearly the love and support of my brother, Casey Walters, my sister-in-law, Kelly Walters, and my nephew, Henry Walters. Heartfelt thanks to Patricia and William Kwasniewski for their love and support. I deeply value the friendship of Liz Kuhn, who always makes me laugh and whose encouragement has been tremendous. I appreciate the support of Jennifer Conroy, who helped me keep perspective at crucial moments during this project, especially during its growing pains. I thank Maria Clark, in many ways my reason for writing this book, for sharing her experience and life with me.
In many ways this book is meant to be a contribution to the work of a growing number of scholars at the intersections of rhetoric and composition and disability studies. I am continually buoyed by the fellowship, liveliness, and generosity of these scholars, many of whose works I admire greatly, including Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Jay Dolmage, Margaret Price, Stephanie Kerschbaum, and Amy Vidali. At conferences, on listservs, and on the page, your work has energized me and motivated me to contribute. Thank you. Brenda and Cindy s feedback on this project was particularly helpful and generative; I hope I have done it justice. The book is much the better for the brilliant suggestions and insightful questions they offered.
At the University of South Carolina Press, I am grateful to Jim Denton for expressing interest in this project in its early stages and for the advice and guidance he has provided at all stages of its development and fruition.
Portions of chapter 4 have appeared, in different form, in Disability Studies Quarterly and JAC: A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture, and Politics and are reprinted with permission and acknowledgment.
Rhetorical Touch-Sensations, Bodies, Rhetorics
A simple but generative thought experiment begins Treatise on the Sensations by the eighteenth-century philosopher tienne Bonnot, abb de Condillac . A marble statue, constructed internally with the exact physical structure of the human body but as of yet insentient, serves as a proxy by which readers are to imagine themselves. Condillac writes, I forewarn the reader that it is very important to put himself exactly in the place of the statue we are going to observe. He should begin to live when it does, have only a single sense when it has only one, acquire only those ideas that it acquires in short: he must be only what it is (trans. Philip 155). Sense by sense, starting with smell and ending with touch, Condillac brings the statue to life. His purpose is to show how all our knowledge and all our faculties come from the senses or, to be more precise, from sensation (155). He leaves the sense of touch for las

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