Terrorist attacks, war, and mass shootings by individuals occur on a daily basis all over the world. In The Homesick Phone Book, author Cynthia Haynes examines the relationship of rhetoric to such atrocities. Aiming to disrupt conventional modes of rhetoric, logic, argument, and the teaching of writing, Haynes illuminates rhetoricâs ties to horrific acts of violence and the state of perpetual conflict around the world, both in the Holocaust era and more recently.
Each chapter, marked by a physical address, functions as a kind of expanded phone book entry, with a discussion of violent events at a particular location giving way to explorations of larger questions related to rhetoric and violence. At the core of the work is Haynesâs call for a writing pedagogy based on abstraction that would allow students to appeal to emotional and ethical grounds in composing arguments. Written in a lyrical style, the book weaves rhetorical theories, poetics, philosophy, works of art, and personal experience into a complex, compelling, and innovative mode of writing.
Ultimately, The Homesick Phone Book demonstrates how scholars of rhetoric and writing studies can break their dependence on conventional argument and logic to discover what might be possible if we dive into and become lost within the very concepts and events that frighten and terrorize us.
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