Complete Story
 

Stock, David

Spring 2015, 45:1, pages 65-83

Recuperating John Bascom’s Contributions to Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric and Contemporary Rhetorical Education

Abstract: Revisionist historiographies in rhetorical studies often recuperate marginalized figures to advance scholarship on rhetorical education. I illustrate the heuristic value of recuperating mainstream figures by drawing on unexamined materials of John Bascom, whose contributions to nineteenth-century rhetorical theory have been determined exclusively by his textbook, Philosophy of Rhetoric. I challenge such interpretations by using autobiography and institutional history to illustrate Bascom’s disdain for rhetoric and preference for philosophy. I synthesize Bascom’s publications, teaching, and administrative work while president of the University of Wisconsin to recuperate a civic philosophy of public education that integrated civic humanism with progressivism to promote collective identity and shared governance. I use Bascom’s philosophy to support rhetorical education that integrates participation and deliberation as strategies for civic engagement. This essay contributes to rhetorical historiography by demonstrating how a wider range of materials can produce more complex, compelling accounts of an individual’s contributions to theory or pedagogy.


Read the Rhetoric Society Quarterly Get information about our conferences Get information about our institutes Learn about becoming a member Access members-only content