MALAS 600D Rhetoric and Public Memory W 7:00 p.m. Richard Boyd
To remember the past is a deeply rhetorical act, and our memories are as much shaped by the needs of the present as they are by the “facts” of those past events. In collective history and how such versions of the past are central to our construction of our communal and national identities. Utilizing a range of rhetorical theories, as well as the work of historians, political scientists, literary scholars, and art historians, we will reflect upon the workings of several kinds of texts claiming to represent the past, including museums, memorials, iconic photographs and films, political speeches, and physical sites like Disneyland, Colonial Williamsburg, and Las Vegas. We will pay particular attention to how these memories of collective history can both legitimate and erase voices and viewpoints, in forms as diverse as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
One seminar paper and one oral presentation based on a rhetorical reading of a local or internet site of collective memory.