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Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies

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Edward J Pryzbyla University Center: Great Room B

The Catholic University of America

620 Michigan Ave. NE

Washington, DC 20064

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Guest lecture by Cinthia Gannett & John Breretron, Editors of Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies, in Pryz Great Room B. Open to the public. 2-3:30pm.

An informal round-table discussion on rhetoric and composition pedagogy in Pryz Great Room C will follow the lecture. Open to all educators. 3:30-5pm.

For centuries, Jesuits have offered a curriculum in humanistic rhetoric in hundreds of schools and colleges across the globe. Calling on multiple Renaissance versions of classical traditions as well as new modes of spiritual discourse, this set of dynamic rhetorical traditions has played a significant---though poorly understood---role in shaping discursive Jesuit education across the centuries, culminating in a rich revival in twentieth-century America. Through lecture and discussion, rhetoric scholars Dr. Cinthia Gannett and Dr. John Brereton, editors of Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies (Fordham University Press 2016), will examine the visible and buried legacies of Jesuit rhetoric and pedagogy and offer possibilities for how the traditional Jesuit aim of eloquentia perfecta ("perfect eloquence") may be adapted and reimagined for the liberal arts classrooms of today.

About the Speakers:

Cinthia Gannett is Professor Emerita of English at Fairfield University. The author of Gender and the Journal, she directed Writing Center and Writing Across the Curriculum Programs at Loyola College of Maryland and the University of New Hampshire. She served on the Executive Board of the Rhetoric Society of America and chaired the Jesuit Conference on Rhetoric and Composition and Rhetoric (JCRC) from 2012-2015. With John C. Brereton, she published an edited collection, Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies (Fordham 2016), and helped found the International Society for the Study of Jesuit Rhetoric in 2017. In addition to her ongoing historiographic research on Jesuit rhetoric, her interests include international writing studies and action research in writing studies. She is currently working with colleagues at Jesuit colleges to renew eloquentia perfecta as a core aim of Jesuit education.

John C. Brereton is professor emeritus of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has taught at the City University of New York, Columbia University, Wayne State University, the University of Massachusetts, Brandeis University, and Harvard University. Among his publications are Traditions of Inquiry (Oxford University Press, 1985), A Plan for Writing (Holt Rinehart, 1977), The Origins of Composition Studies in the American College, 1875-1925 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995), The Norton Reader (W.W. Norton, 2016), and Traditions of Eloquence, with Cinthia Gannett (Fordham University Press, 2016) and many essays on the history of rhetoric and composition. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication; for the Modern Language Association he served as Chair of the Forum Executive Committee on the History and Theory of Composition and the Delegate Assembly.

More about Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies:

This groundbreaking collection explores the important ways Jesuits have employed rhetoric, the ancient art of persuasion and the current art of communications, from the sixteenth century to the present. Much of the history of how Jesuit traditions contributed to the development of rhetorical theory and pedagogy has been lost, effaced, or dispersed. As a result, those interested in Jesuit education and higher education in the United States, as well as scholars and teachers of rhetoric, are often unaware of this living 450-year-old tradition. Written by highly regarded scholars of rhetoric, composition, education, philosophy, and history, many based at Jesuit colleges and universities, the essays in this volume explore the tradition of Jesuit rhetorical education―that is, constructing “a more usable past” and a viable future for eloquentia perfecta, the Jesuits’ chief aim for the liberal arts. Intended to foster eloquence across the curriculum and into the world beyond, Jesuit rhetoric integrates intellectual rigor, broad knowledge, civic action, and spiritual discernment as the chief goals of the educational experience.

Consummate scholars and rhetors, the early Jesuits employed all the intellectual and language arts as “contemplatives in action,” preaching and undertaking missionary, educational, and charitable works in the world. The study, pedagogy, and practice of classical grammar and rhetoric, adapted to Christian humanism, naturally provided a central focus of this powerful educational system as part of the Jesuit commitment to the Ministries of the Word. This book traces the development of Jesuit rhetoric in Renaissance Europe, follows its expansion to the United States, and documents its reemergence on campuses and in scholarly discussions across America in the twenty-first century.

Traditions of Eloquence provides a wellspring of insight into the past, present, and future of Jesuit rhetorical traditions. In a period of ongoing reformulations and applications of Jesuit educational mission and identity, this collection of compelling essays helps provide historical context, a sense of continuity in current practice, and a platform for creating future curricula and pedagogy. Moreover it is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding a core aspect of the Jesuit educational heritage.

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Edward J Pryzbyla University Center: Great Room B

The Catholic University of America

620 Michigan Ave. NE

Washington, DC 20064

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