Towards a Global Rhetoric: Theory, Practice, Pedagogy

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This dissertation works towards building a theory of "global rhetoric" as well as practical strategies for both using and teaching global rhetorical principles. Global rhetoric, as I suggest, describes argumentation that maintains persuasive potential for audiences beyond the rhetor's immediate location and time. I build this theory of global rhetoric by offering three "case studies" of exemplary global rhetorical texts: Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1893), Randolph Bourne's "The State" (1919), and Aung San Suu Kyi's "In Quest of Democracy" (1991). In each of these case studies, I pay particular attention to the rhetorical tactics that drive the arguments of the essays as well as to the sets of appeals that would maintain persuasive potential as they reached broad, vast, and dispersed audiences.

I bring this analysis to bear on everyday needs. I examine how professional business communicators can use global rhetorical strategies in their work in order to communicate and persuade more effectively across borders and cultures. To this end, I offer a case study of how a multimodal business presentation was revised to better address global audiences. Finally, I suggest how we can better teach both first- and second-language writing students to be global rhetors. I outline a professional writing course - Professional Global Rhetoric - and I offer both a pedagogical rationale and ready-to-use assignment sheets. These assignment sheets are designed to enable writing instructors and Writing Program Administrators to launch a course that builds upon the principles of global rhetoric.

The argument put forth in this dissertation builds from the longstanding rhetorical notion that argumentation is a situated, circumstantial practice that is shaped by the audience. What a global rhetoric suggests, I argue, is that rhetors can look beyond their immediate rhetorical situations and deliberately construct arguments to maintain persuasive potential for audiences across geographic borders and through time.