Rhetoric, Animals, and Language from Aesop to Erasmus

Project: Research project

Project Details


This study seeks to bring rhetorical studies--especially the history of rhetoric--into the vibrant and ongoing scholarly conversations about animals. Indeed, it aspires to show how a humanities-based inquiry into animal-human relations remains incomplete without a rhetorical perspective. Adopting Jeffrey Walker's definition of rhetoric as 'the art of producing a rhetor,' this study accounts for the curious roles animals play in language theories and language education. The monograph follows the lifespan of ancient rhetorical exercises known as the progymnasmata in which animals featured prominently thanks to the place of fable at the beginning of the sequence. The study's span, along with the range of material it consults, helps to reveal the importance of rhetoric for establishing and sustaining assumptions about human-animal relations. The book also shows the importance of nonhuman animals to the development and teaching of rhetoric's less-than-rational side.
Effective start/end date7/1/146/30/15


  • National Endowment for the Humanities: $50,400.00


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