The Core Text Summary

Prior et al positioned the core text of “Remediating the Canons” in two ways:

1. “we approach classical rhetoric…as a matter of history” (2).  and

2. “we do not believe that this new mapping has only recently become necessary” (2).

Taken from Prior et al.

Prior et al believe that this remediation of the rhetorical canon has been necessary for a long time because it even provides a limited mapping even of the rhetorical and political realities of the ancients. They specifically focused on the area of delivery, often overlooked in rhetorical canon, saying “delivery seems to encompass two related but distinct types of issues: mediation and distribution” (7) as well as audience, which does not have its own category in the canon.

However, they acknowledge that even this is too linear and is still lacking, which is why they argue for the use of CHAT, or cultural historical activity theory. “CHAT argues that activity is situated in concrete interactions that are simultaneously improvised locally and mediated by historically-provided tools and practices, which range from machines, made-objects, semiotic means (e.g., languages, genres, iconographies), and institutions to structured environments, domesticated animals and plants, and indeed, people themselves” (17, emphasis theirs). Using CHAT, they envision a different take of the canon, that considers multiple layers that are not linear, but rather rhizomatic.

Remapping table taken from Prior et al
  • Example: disney. —> Blizzard products, WoW as brand

Making Connections

I found it really helpful that the readings brought up other authors such as Bazerman as part of the conversation, as well as mentioned Latour and actor network theory, which is one of our future readings. I felt this week that it was easy to start linking people and ideas inside the mind map.

One of the places that stuck out to me in the core text reading was the discussion of the black box, and that black box existing through rhetoric and socialization. Prior et al argue that, “a cultural-historical mapping opens up consideration of how rhetors and audiences are socialized, how means are made and black-boxed, and how situations are built and altered” (24). I appreciated the example given from Latour about microbes and disease. This seems like a really useful place for rhetoric, especially if we want to enact real change in a significant way, because not only can this theory allow as to begin to trace where these black boxes emerge and solidify, but it also can act as a way for us to consider re-imagining that box. Though, especially ins specific cases like the microbe, it will be incredibly difficult and potentially not possible. This opens a pragmatic door for rhetoric that extends beyond basic persuasive style tools, which I think is really useful to consider.

I definitely struggled a bit through the remediated texts that were part of the network by the individual or paired authors. I read Berry’s “Critical Remediation: Locating Eliza” and Bellwoar’s “Digital Health and Feminist (Re)Envisionings of Healing”.  It was a strange experience working through an academic text that was so multimodal and at least in Bellwoar’s piece, not linear at all. I could definitely see the layering and non-linearity that Prior et al discussed in the core text at work within these remediated texts.


Azure dragon whelpling plush. (Yes. I have one.)

I found the example of how Disney is “working in a world [already] populated with Disney artifacts that naturalize Disney, that incline people to attend favorably to whatever Disney offers next” (24). This resonated with me as I considered my own OoS, World of Warcraft. Particularly in the MMO gaming community, WoW has become such a distinct name that Blizzard can release t-shirts, collectible toys, and plushies, as well as new games like Heroes of the Storm with WoW characters in it, or coming this summer a WoW movie. The game, even the prequel games of Warcraft, provided semiotic ground for further communication between Blizzard and the gaming community already familiar with their products. I’m still thinking through this, but I’m definitely interested in continuing this line of through by using CHAT as a framework for one of the future case studies.

Works Consulted

Bellwoar, Hannah. “Digital Health and Feminist (Re)visionings of Healing.”  in Remediating the Canons. Kairos. 11.9 (2007). Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Berry, Patrick. “Critical Remediation: Locating Eliza” in Remediating the Canons. Kairos. 11.9 (2007)Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Prior et al. “Remediating the Canons: Core Text.” Kairos. 11.9 (2007)Web. 12 Feb. 2016.