Rhetorical Promiscuity Essay

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In this essay, I will analyze Heather Lee Branstetter’s Promiscuous Approaches to Reorienting Rhetorical Research and Maria Stewart’s Lecture Delivered at the Franklin Hall. By first grounding my essay in a discussion of rhetorical promiscuity as Branstetter lays out, and then focusing on Lecture Delivered at the Franklin Hall, I will elucidate the connection between rhetorical promiscuity and Maria Stewart, a uniquely significant female rhetor. I argue that although she is the first American woman to speak publicly to a mixed audience of both male and female, black and white listeners (and thus automatically employs rhetorical promiscuity), some of Stewart’s appeals work to attain some sort of legitimacy that I will argue do not fall within “rhetorical promiscuity” as a concept. Thus, Stewart simultaneously celebrates and rejects rhetorical promiscuity.…show more content…
Branstetter uses the word promiscuous because it is a rhetorical approach that focuses on those people who are deviant from the norm. A promiscuous approach “wants to ‘have sex’ with lots of different kinds of projects in lots of different ways and understand those projects on their own terms in order to bring something unique out of the result” (20). Therefore, “...there should be room for promiscuous approaches, topics, perspectives, and styles” in rhetoric (20). Hence, rhetorical promiscuity is a way to refer to rhetorics and rhetors that do not fall within the dominant and celebrated sphere of the field of rhetorics, or academia as a whole. To Branstetter, by “exploring the value” of “perspectives that have traditionally been denigrated or dismissed [so, promiscuous perspectives], we enhance possibilities for scholarly invention and persuasive action” (18). In short, rhetorical promiscuity is employed to give voice to those people and ideas that usually lack
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