May 29, 2024

Ohl Publishes Book Chapter

Jessy Ohl, assistant professor of communication, has had his essay “Rhetorical Field Methods in the Tradition of Imitatio,” co-authored with Josh Ewalt and Damien Pfister, included in Field + Text: Innovations in Rhetorical Method, edited by Sara L. McKinnon, Robert Asen, Karma R. Chávez, and Robert Glenn Howard and published by Pennsylvania State University Press.

In that chapter, Ohl and his cowriters contend that one way to retain a distinctively critical-rhetorical dimension to field methods is through the tradition of imitatio. Imitatio presumes that certain rhetorical exemplars—historically, public addresses by the privileged—are worthy of study and emulation in order to improve the civic habits of a citizenry. Rhetorical field methods, with its emphasis on studying the live rhetoric of vernacular communities, offers an opportunity to craft texts suitable for imitatio beyond the subjects and contexts historically authorized for emulation. Drawing from their experience with Occupy Lincoln, they argue that crafting rhetorical scenes appropriates one of rhetoric’s oldest and most dexterous traditions—the use of imitatio in rhetorical training and practice—toward more democratic ends.