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ERIC Number: EJ891820
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0994
"By the Rivers of Babylon": Deterritorialization and the Jewish Rhetorical Stance
Bernard-Donals, Michael
College English, v72 n6 p608-620 Jul 2010
The position of the excluded other, it seems to the author, is the position that has characterized Jews since antiquity: exiled from the nation and dispersed to other nations, Jewish participation in civic life has been defined, even in modernity, by its marginalization and precariousness. The Jew, in other words, provides a salient example of the position of the exile whose participation in the discursive life of the political or community body is sorely vexed. In this essay the author proposes what could be called an exilic rhetorical position, one that can and should be considered a specifically "Jewish" rhetorical stance because of its foundational understanding that one is never quite at home in one's place of residence, that one's position when one speaks is always fraught and never secure (that one is always, to some measure, by the rivers of Babylon). To foreground the problem of exile and the marginal, voiceless other, and how an exilic and Jewish rhetorical stance might better account for the exile, he examines an instance of deliberative rhetoric whose very subject was the nature of civic space. That case--a proposal that came before the Common Council of Madison, Wisconsin, to enter into a sister-city relationship with Rafah, in Palestine--brings into stark relief the question of exile and participation, inclusion and banishment, that underwrites any discussion of argument and deliberation, particularly since 1948, and particularly when the subject is Israel/Palestine. (Contains 4 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel; Palestine; Wisconsin