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What can rhetoric do?


My name is Brian Gogan. I’m an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Studies in Western Michigan University's Department of English.

Ask me what rhetoric does, and I’d tell you that:

Rhetoric brings individuals together, reciprocally bonding us to one another—that is, rhetoric can CREATE relationships between individuals.

Rhetoric can CONFIRM our lives through public and even academic discourse that legitimizes and authorizes identities and knowledge.

Rhetoric, according to the writing of Jean Baudrillard, can further CHALLENGE reality and, thereby, make us reconsider our assumptions and positions.

Moreover, rhetoric compels CHANGE, however nuanced that change might be. Even a small piece of text can modify a situation.

By teaching courses in rhetoric and writing—professional writing, rhetorical criticism and theory, and composition—I teach for change.



"Rhetoric can create, confirm, challenge, and change our  worlds, and that makes it ripe for study."