Contrastive Rhetoric Revisited and Redefined

Contrastive Rhetoric Revisited and Redefined

Contrastive Rhetoric Revisited and Redefined

Contrastive Rhetoric Revisited and Redefined

Synopsis

The theory of contrastive rhetoric was first put forth by Robert Kaplan in the mid 1960s to explain the differences in writing and discourse between students who were native speakers of English and their international counterparts. Over the past three decades, contrastive rhetoric theory has been used primarily by linguists in language centers and involved in ESL teaching. As the number of international students in American universities has continued to grow, contrastive rhetoric has become increasingly relevant to all disciplines, and to rhetoric and composition in particular. This volume breaks important new ground in its examination of contrastive rhetoric in the exclusive context of composition. The editor has assembled contributors with varying areas of specialty to demonstrate how the traditional definition of contrastive rhetoric theory can be applied to composition in new and innovative ways and how it can be redefined through the lens of addressing "difference" issues in writing. Thus, the volume as a whole clarifies how the basic principles of contrastive rhetoric theory can help composition instructors to understand writing and rhetorical decisions. With the inclusion of current research on multicultural issues, this collection is appropriate for all instructors in ESL writing, including teachers in rhetoric, composition, and linguistics. It can also be used as an advanced text for students in these areas. Wherever it is employed, it is certain to offer significant new insights into the application of contrastive rhetoric within the composition discipline.

Excerpt

Contrastive rhetoric has interested me throughout graduate school and beyond because it provides an avenue to explore why we all make the rhetorical decisions we do. Over the years it has occurred to me that contrastive rhetoric has larger and broader implications, namely, that it can be applied to a wide range of cultural differences in addition to the English-as-a-second-language (ESL) issues for which it was originally created. This volume is the first step toward making this realization a reality, bringing to the forefront a number of different and newer ways to visualize contrastive rhetoric for the rhetoric and composition classroom. In doing so, my aim is to breathe new life into contrastive rhetoric for rhetoric and composition instructors.

The chapters in this volume are divided into two parts. In the first, I have invited linguists as well as rhetoric and composition instructors to demonstrate ways in which contrastive rhetoric can be useful for supporting ESL students in a rhetoric and composition class. In the second, I have invited contributions from other "difference" groups, who offer suggestions for using contrastive rhetoric as a stepping-stone toward a widespread cultural understanding of rhetorical decisions. By bringing together these two groups of chapters, my hope is that rhetoric and composition instructors will see contrastive rhetoric as vital to their pedagogy. Clearly, both parts of this volume serve simply as a taste of how contrastive rhetoric can be revisited and redefined for rhetoric and composition classes. My aim is to start a conversation in this vein, a conversation that now has the potential to take a number of different directions.

I must thank several people who have been instrumental in bringing this project to reality. First, my family: Carl Panetta, my husband, who has almost as much pride in my work as I do and doesn't mind telling people so; Anna Clay Panetta, my daughter, whose smiles and giggles have helped me understand when rhetorical contrasts begin; and Clay and Nelda Gilliam, my par-

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