Date of Award

8-11-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

George Pullman

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Sanders Lopez

Third Advisor

Baotong Gu

Abstract

AMERICA’S QUANDARY— MASKING INJUSTICE:

IDEOLOGICAL ANALYSES OF

AMERICA’S MOVES TOWARDS ITS PROMISE |

A PEDAGOGICAL PRIMER ON RHETORIC

by

RONALD JERRY WALKER

Under the Direction of George Pullman, PhD, and Elizabeth Sanders Lopez, PhD

ABSTRACT

Rhetoric, persuasive discourse, and rhetorical analysis, art and science of rhetorical text scrutiny, are invaluable aspects of composition pedagogy. Rhetoric commands our world. This dissertation project manifests four features. First, it reveals America’s promise through rhetorical artifact texts. Second, the project presents an academic investigation—America’s moves towards its promise. Third, it recounts the continuing injustices suffered by women and peoples of color, all hidden behind (rhetorical) masks, that continue to plague America. And fourth, this collection altogether serves as a pedagogical primer on rhetoric. Founding documents and public monuments serve as a ruse that masks injustice and inequality. This is America’s quandary, a reality that unfortunately escapes journalistic focus. Masks enable the American hegemony of sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and classism to thrive. This nation’s affluent “founders” completely ignored and erased the vast majority of peoples co-inhabiting our boundless lands—millions of indigenous Native American nations; women, not mentioned anywhere among America’s founding documents; abducted African (forced) laborers commanded to toil generational lives, as chattel; and poor whites. Later immigrants, especially peoples of color, would also be denied their “liberty and justice for all.” Today, the USA is World Number One—in obesity, in opioid addiction, in female prison incarceration, in male prison incarceration, in military defense spending, in military weaponry (international spread), and in war (today Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Niger). And in international intrigue (arrogance). America’s quandary is our lack of universal healthcare, the antiquated Electoral College, the rising 1%, the shrinking middle class, the widening gap between America’s rich and poor, and our obsessive desire to police and command the world. This project interrogates rhetoric “to unmask and demystify” America’s rhetorical hegemony of disadvantage and inequality; while America faces a bleak future. We English teachers are First Responders for our culture. Our democratic republic must have—to survive—a committed populace of engaged citizens whose critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and civic responsibility can invigorate American culture. If We are successful, America will be successful; if We fail, America will fail. Perhaps if We could just make America better, all would work out.

INDEX WORDS: Rhetorical analysis, Rhetorical devices, Critical thinking, Argument essay

File Upload Confirmation

1

Share

COinS