Identifying and Mapping Issues, Theories, & Research in Asian/American Rhetoric(s): An Annotated Bibliography

A Survey of Research in Asian Rhetoric

Posted in Asian Rhetoric(s) by Jennifer Sano-Franchini on May 7, 2009

Wang, Bo. “A Survey of Research in Asian Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Review 23.2 (2004): 171-181.

Wang surveys scholars in Asian rhetoric–Vernon Jensen, Mary Garrett, XiaoMing Li, Xing Lu, and LuMing Mao–to provide an overview of the research that’s being done in this area. According to Wang, “The important research being done in Asian rhetoric includes research that is mindful of the logic of Orientalism, that studies Asian rhetoric in its own cultural and political contexts, that appropriates Asian rhetoric for Western contexts, and that applies Asian rhetorical traditions to the study of pedagogical issues.” The scholars Wang surveyed gave most attention to the issues of “approaches scholars have been using in Asian rhetoric [and]… development of research in Asian rhetoric.” Moreover, these discussions indicated that “researchers in Asian rhetoric must challenge the fundamental assumptions about rhetoric embedded in classical Western rhetorical theories to start a conversation between East and West” and that “we need more scholars who have the tools and expertise to study Asian rhetorics in their original texts and cultures. We should explore a broader scope of genres from the rhetorical perspective and encourage more interdisciplinary research in this area” (173).

A few notable quotes:

Xing Lu: “It is important to be sensitive to the implicit, multifaceted, and sometimes paradoxical nature of rhetoric embedded in Chinese philosophical, literary, and religious texts. An effort to search for a single definition of Chinese rhetoric or to try to find an equivalence from the Western terminology may fail to uncover the richness of Chinese rhetorical tradition (or any other rhetorical traditions for that matter) and run the risk of imposing meanings of Western rhetoric onto the Chinese context” (174-5).

LuMing Mao: “We’ve heard those catch words like analytical, contextual, critical, etc., to characterize various kinds of modes of inquiry. I am more interested in studies that are historicized and that are leery of making claims or generalizations with little or flimsy evidence” (175).

Xing Lu: “Unless this body of knowledge is incorporated in the curriculum of rhetorical education, no major change will take place in the West” (177).

Vernon Jensen: “More research on conflict resolution not only between East and West, but between groups within particular Asian nations… Continue to explore the impact of Asian ancient religion and history on contemporary Asian rhetoric and communication” (178).

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