Complete Story


Spring 2000, pages 5-30

Disciplinary Identities: On the Rhetroical Paths Between English and Communication Studies

Abstract: This essay explores some rhetorical paths of thought connecting the discipline of English Studies and Speech Communication. I focus on the rhetoric of science during two periods of disciplinary development: the use of scientific rhetoric to articulate new disciplinary identities in the 1910s and the debates over the rhetorical study of science in the 1990s. The transition from the former to the latter period was significantly affected by what might be called a rhetorical hermeneutics developed around 1960 by Chaim Perelman, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Thomas Kuhn. The establishment of Composition Studies provides an example of the changed rhetorical context for disciplinary legitimation in the late twentieth century. The main purpose of this rhetorical history is to encourage renewed dialogue among rhetoricians studying Literature, Composition, and Communication.