In this fascinating history of Cold War cartography, Timothy Barney considers maps as central to the articulation of ideological tensions between American national interests and international aspirations. Barney argues that the borders, scales, projections, and other conventions of maps prescribed and constrained the means by which foreign policy elites, popular audiences, and social activists navigated conflicts between North and South, East and West. Maps also influenced how identities were formed in a world both shrunk by advancing technologies and marked by expanding and shifting geopolitical alliances and fissures. Pointing to the necessity of how politics and values were “spatialized” in recent U.S. history, Barney argues that Cold War–era maps themselves had rhetorical lives that began with their conception and production and played out in their circulation within foreign policy circles and popular media. Reflecting on the ramifications of spatial power during the period, Mapping the Cold War ultimately demonstrates that even in the twenty-first century, American visions of the world--and the maps that account for them--are inescapably rooted in the anxieties of that earlier era.
Mari Lee Mifsud
Rhetoric and the Gift, taking as its starting point the Homeric idea of the gift and Aristotle’s related rhetorical theory, explores rhetoric not only at the level of the artful response but at the level of the call and response. Mari Lee Mifsud takes up a number of questions crucial to thinking about contemporary communication: What does it mean that communication is a system of exchange with others? How are we to deal with questions of ethics in an economic system of power and authority? Can exchange ever be truly generous, and can communication, then, ever be free? Is there a more ethical way of relating and communicating, and might there be a different self-other relationship more conducive to a free people?
As a historian of ancient Greek rhetorical theory, Mifsud examines these questions of contemporary significance by turning first to Aristotle’s many citations of and references to Homer in order to discern the emergence of a system of exchange thought to be appropriate for a democratic polis. As she elucidates, the Homeric system of exchange — gift-giving — was used by Aristotle as a metaphor for rhetoric’s function, as he distinguished the gift as a system of exchange within the functioning of the polis, operating between individuals and society to bind people to people and cultures to cultures. These ancient ideas are shown to relate directly to our modern arguments concerning exception and exceptionalism as they play out in politics, law, and culture.
Such questions of exchange, thus, are shown to reverberate and continue to circulate through conversations in philosophy and communication, ranging across a great deal of recent study. Mifsud’s discussion of a variety of contemporary thinkers, together with her historical and theoretical approach, offers rich possibilities for new trajectories of relating the self and other, providing the critical, hermeneutical, and theoretical resources for thinking otherwise about rhetorical conceptions of relational ethics in communication, on both a personal and political level.
Jane S. Sutton and Mari Lee Mifsud
A Revolution in Tropes is a groundbreaking study of rhetoric and tropes. Theorizing new ways of seeing rhetoric and its relationship with democratic deliberation, Jane Sutton and Mari Lee Mifsud explore and display alloiōsis as a trope of difference, exception, and radical otherness. Their argument centers on Aristotle’s theory of rhetoric through particular tropes of similarity that sustained a vision of civic discourse but at the same time underutilized tropes of difference. When this vision is revolutionized, democratic deliberation can perform and advance its ends of equality, justice, and freedom. Marie-Odile, N. Hobeika, and Michele Kennerly join Sutton and Mifsud in pushing the limits of rhetoric by engaging rhetoric alloiostrophically. Their collective efforts work to display the possibilities of what rhetoric can be. A Revolution in Tropes will appeal to scholars of rhetoric, philosophy, and communication.
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