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Rhetoric, Knowledge and the Public Sphere

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Edited By Agnieszka Kampka and Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska

Public deliberation depends on how skillful communicators are in establishing their version of what is known to be publicly acceptable. This volume provides rhetorical analyses of institutional websites, political speeches, scientific presentations, journalistic accounts or visual entertainment. It shows the significance of rhetorical construction of knowledge in the public sphere. It addresses the issues of citizenship and social participation, media agendas, surveillance and verbal or visual manipulation. It offers rhetorical critiques of current trends in specialist communication and of devices used when contested interests or ideologies are presented.
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Marcus Gottschling - Lend me your eyes: Creating immediate understanding through Prezi

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Marcus Gottschling

University of Tuebingen

Lend me your eyes: Creating immediate understanding through Prezi

1. Introduction

When thinking about the importance and relevance of visualizations in what is maybe the most popular form of speech in today’s knowledge society, slideshow presentations, it can prove fruitful not to begin with the rise of the ubiquitous software PowerPoint or even the dawn of photography and film as reproducible representations of reality. Instead, how visualizations in oratory work can already be traced in a speech that was – in one form or the other – held over 2000 years ago and whose dramatization dates back to the end of the 16th century. In his history drama Julius Caesar from 1599, William Shakespeare lets Mark Antony begin his speech at Caesar’s funeral with the carefully chosen words “Friends, romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” (Shakespeare, William: Julius Caesar. Ed. by T.S. Dorsch. The Arden Edition of the Works of William Shakespeare. Methuen: London 1955, 3.2.75) In the following speech, Mark Antony persuades his audience of Caesar’s goodness and that the conspirators, although being “honorable men,” were unjustified in killing him. What Shakespeare could have appended, however, was “lend me your eyes” – for Mark Antony not only uses speech in his eulogy but also visualization as a persuasive means to guide the audience’s attention and opinion: Caesar’s bloody cloak. Mark Antony makes the audience see the bloody cloak from his own perspective – mourning, bereaved of a...

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