This essay offers the exigence and outlines a strategy for theorizing "alloiostrophic rhetoric" and the practices and possibilities if such a theory. In brief, alloiostrophic rhetoric is on that turns towards difference, diversity, and the other. We explore such questions as the following. Why is a theory of alloiostrophic rhetoric needed? What are its primary characteristics? How might alloiostrophic rhetoric be performed?

As the preposition towards in our title indicates, this essay is, by necessity, a sketch. The necessity arises, in part, from the scarce historical resources of this trope, alloiostrohos, and in part from a received tradition--dominated by attention to metaphor--that fails to imagine how to write, speak, and perform alloiostrophically. This latter point we take up momentarily. As for the former, alloiostrohos is not a trope that the history of rhetoric recognizes. Despite its presence in Liddell, Scot, and Jones (LSJ 1996, 69-70) as both "alloiostrohos" and "alloiotropos," this figure cannot be found anywhere in the rhetorical tradition, not anywhere from Aristotle to Kenneth Burke, not in any handbooks on rhetoric whether in antiquity or contemporary times. Yet the term resides in its adjectival form in the ancient Greek lexicon. We take this as an invitation to theorize. The scarce textual record of this trope in not a constrain for us but an opportunity to imagine alloiostrophic rhetoric: why it is necessary, what characteristics it displays, and how might it be performed.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012 American Society for the History of Rhetoric.

The definitive version is available at:

DOI: 10.1080/15362426.2012.697680

Full Citation:

Mifsud, MariLee. "Towards an Alloiostrophic Rhetoric." Advances in the History of Rhetoric 15, no. 2 (2012): 222-33. doi:10.1080/15362426.2012.697680.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons