Social Histories of Rhetoric Manifesto—Take Two


What is Social Histories of Rhetoric?


Social Histories of Rhetoric is a space that recognizes the past moments and events of ordinary people who facilitated change.  It is the space that gives voice to those who were silenced and/or overlooked but were compelled to social action.  It is the rhetorical depository of hopes, dreams, failures, and accomplishments of all peoples, which allows for excavations, discoveries, rediscoveries, and possibilities.  It is a portal that defines our past, celebrates our present, and anticipates our future.  Social Histories of Rhetoric is the key that unlocks the many gateways to understanding.

 Why Study Social Histories of Rhetoric? 

Where do I stop and my sister and brother begin? 

When I am fed, will my sister and brother eat? 

How many received an invitation?  

What must they leave outside? 

 Who is able to sit at the table? 

Why is there so little room?

Has that door always been locked? 

When anguish drifts on the wind as if dried leaves of Autumn, and blazing faces are turned away under flashing ‘No Vacancy’ signs amidst overwhelming complacency, we must look down and find that line in the sand and decide on which side of it will we stand. 

When through the passage of time the voices of all people are not embodied in the fabric of discourse, we must challenge the barriers against fraternal understanding and hear the whispers of the one who stands for the many who are forgotten across gendered, racial, ethnic, religious, national, and economic lines and tell their stories.   

Social Histories of Rhetoric is a mechanism to open closed door of the past that shape our understandings of today.  To study Social Histories of Rhetoric is to enable difference, diversity, empowerment, respect of all people.


Why Write Social Histories of Rhetoric?


Although Social Histories of Rhetoric is the embodiment of performed, rhetorical actions of peoples, writing is a necessary medium to record and preserve the voices of the past.

 We must write Social Histories of Rhetoric to enter into a reciprocal relationship between writer and living artifacts of those who would speak, to memorialize the crucial moment when paradigms were tested by the “everyday” man or woman who demanded change.  We must give voice to the social actions of individuals who were determined to alter the course of existence against the satisfaction of the status quo. 

We must write of goals, whether those aims were achieved or lost.  Writing of the Social Histories of Rhetoric facilitates the inclusive documentation of people and events that allow time and space to come alive, without bowing to an egocentric interpretation of actions.  We must, with this absolute point of consideration, be responsible scholars of Rhetoric and present the most accurate, yet passionate, narratives of people.  It will allow readers and hearers the opportunity to witness the moment in question with vicarious wonder. 

Social historians must be sensitive to human relations, political and economic constrains, and social momentums of the time, which allows him or her to piece together claims that pushes us to understanding. Since writing Social Histories of Rhetoric is a reflection of life, time, and space, which has value beyond the static presentations of traditional History, practitioners must be able to draw from other disciplines such as Psychology, Anthropology, English, and other social science, while maintaining historical integrity of the original authors’ intent.  Its continued scrutiny has promoted the evolution of subfields of peoples who were previously marginalized and/or omitted from traditional histories.  Through illumination of sample groups, events, and/or individuals, measurable growths and declines are recorded through the written accounts.  Therefore, Social Histories of Rhetoric have an intrinsic value that must not be silenced. 


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