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ERIC Number: ED354567
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Excavating Diotima: Rehistoricizing Pre-Aristotelian Classical Rhetoric.
Welch, Kathleen Ethel
Because canon formation directly influences curriculum construction, classical Greek rhetorical studies must make an assessment of how women's presence in these historical discourses has been at best marginalized, at worst erased. The structural oppression of women as a class and the institution of slavery need to be included in school curricula as standard issues. Representations of Diotima, Socrates' teacher, as a mythical figure constitute a case in point. Mary Ellen Waithe's work on Diotima argues that Diotima is an historical person and thus counters standard scholarship which excludes women thinkers from the canon of philosophical discourse. Both Waithe's article and Plato's "Symposium" should be included in classical rhetoric seminars in a way that places Diotima on the same plane as Socrates. Reader response theory, which posits that the act of understanding meaning in texts is affected by the predisposition of the reading mind, supports this demand for a revision of curricula. The erasure, marginalization, and ridiculing of a figure such as Diotima can be seen as a historical disempowerment of women as readers, writers, and speakers. Training in the history and production of discourse must explore the relationship between language and power in a way that allows women students to see themselves in the texts they study. (Contains 16 references.) (SAM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A