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In his article, Edward P. J. Corbett describes a new “contemporary” rhetoric (or, at least, new for the 1960s), which he calls the rhetoric of the closed fist. He contrasts the rhetorical styles and strategies of the closed fist with the more traditional rhetoric of the open hand stemming from the Renaissance, and he also considers the role of new technologies in the development of this closed fist rhetoric.

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For this journal assignment, please first respond to the following prompts:

  • Explain, in your own words, the four characteristics of the rhetoric of the closed fist, as identified by Corbett, and how this rhetoric relates to the key terms of rhetorical analysis we have been discussing.

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  • Describe your reaction to Corbett’s argument about this rhetoric. Why do you agree or disagree with his perspective on body rhetoric and the rhetorical appeals?
  • Consider how you would respond to Corbett about rhetoric today (as opposed to the 1960s). How is the rhetoric of the closed fist operating in the 21st century? How has the rhetoric of the closed fist changed (or not) in the five decades since Corbett wrote this article?

Then, your writing task is to put Amy Pason’s arguments about activism in conversation with Corbett’s.

  • How does her definition of activism extend, complicate, or help you understand the rhetoric of the open hand and closed fist?
  • How do both of their definitions of activist rhetoric compare to your own definitions of activism?

Your response should integrate at least one direct quote from both Pason and Corbett (of course, with a page number). Please be specific and detailed, and remember to keep your ideas organized. Don’t submit one long paragraph as your response, in other words.

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