• Prompts for Rhetorical Listening, pgs 8-16, due end of day, 9/23

As you read this selection, identify “key terms” you must understand before grasping her arguments [e.g. “gender,” “race,” “cultural logics,” etc.]. Include the key terms you find and her definition for them.

What stands out to you about the history of gender from this section on pages 10-12 that you’d like to discuss in class?

Likewise, what about the section on race on pgs 12-16?

If you were doing a discussion lead on this reading, what question would you pose to the class based on this reading?

4 thoughts on “• Prompts for Rhetorical Listening, pgs 8-16, due end of day, 9/23

  1. 1. I needed to be certain of the meaning of “trope” which given the context seemed to signify metaphorical, not necessarily literal, connotative usage. The distinction between race and ethnicity was articulated nicely, with “race” being an anachronistic and biologically fallacious definition, and “ethnicity” referring to “cultural heritage” likely coupled with familial identification and nationality.

    2. I’m intrigued by the implied duality of the word “gender.” The author asserts clearly that we “see, organize, analyze and value” our gender identity based on these terms solely because they are the only terms we have been given to describe ourselves. I’d like to delve in to the possibilities and implications of growing up with a substantially greater number of monikers involving gender identity. Imagine how much more flexible and liberated we’d feel given that.

    3. While respecting everyone’s scientific background (mostly because mine is severely lacking), I’d like to discuss the Human Genome Project, genetics, alleles, DNA, etc. I have a superficial comprehension of this at best. It fascinates me that the analysis has proven humans to be 99.9% similar. I’m not at all surprised, but it’s nice when science backs up intuition.

    4. Is the label “gender” a semantic error to the extent that “race” is? Why or why not? Are limitations implicit to one label more than the other?

  2. First, Ratcliffe begins by defining rhetorical listening as a “rope for interpretative invention and as a code of cross-cultural conduct. . .[which] signifies a stance of openness that a person may choose to assume in relation to any person, text, or culture.” Her main argument in chapter one is that we can use understandings of identification and Intersectionality to establish a definition of rhetorical listening that emphasizes identification through commonalities and differences. This was interesting. When she brought up the topic on race, it was a little disheartening and terrifying that people ACTUALLY believed that. First, how can there be 5 types of man? It makes no sense. What does that even mean? She goes even further to state that race is societal and not biological and that when the majority culture create race, they tend to model it after themselves. I also liked the fact that she puts in the fact that stereotypes come from race and in essence hurt humanity.
    If I were doing a discussion on this reading, I would ask people how they individually define race and gender. Then I would further as which is which? Is one biological, societal or what? Id like to see everyone’s perspective on both topics.

  3. 1. Trope- it suggests that one thing can have multiple meanings
    Gender/sex- it is used to describe attitudes or actions associated with men and woman
    Cultural logic- the beliefs of a group of people
    Race- a trope that is determined by a person’s cultural logic

    2. Page 11 paragraph 2; I found this interesting how the author describes how people and objects are marked or labeled with a gender. She uses a man that cooks for his family and compares it to a chef. While one could be considered feminine and the other is masculine just based off the history given to them by society and how society determines these things.

    3. The four race related cultural logics; the cultural logics describes how race is looked at differently depending on which culture the person is from.

    4. What are other tropes that are defined by society?
    How is gender/race defined for you? Do you agree/disagree with the authors thoughts?

  4. 1.
    – Trope or tropological function: Use of a word in other than its literal sense.

    – Intersecting identification: How someone cannot be defined by only one cultural category. All cultural categories of one person will necessarily intersect, making his or her identity unique.

    – Cultural logic: Belief system that is shared within a culture.

    – Gender: Trope that evolves over time and differs depending on the cultural background. It’s the “generally accepted” view on how men and women are likely to behave and appear to the world.

    2. A particular point that I found interesting was how cultural logic about gender that was created at a specific time in history has the power to transcend time and still be relevant in modern times. Ratcliffe gives the example of equal-rights feminism which was created in the 18th century but still has value to this day.

    3. Though science rectified its early take on race by proving through DNA that there is only one race – the human race – little seems to have changed when it comes to people’s prejudices on the matter.

    How does gender and/or race play a role in your daily life?

    What is your take on affirmative action programs? Do you think it gives a chance to people who may have suffered from prejudice otherwise? Or on the contrary, do you think such programs feed prejudice against people who benefit from them?

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