Many visual terms exist in Kenneth Burke’s rhetorical schema, yet the optical implications of such terms remain largely unconsidered by rhetorical scholars. This study presents Burke’s orientation as both a method of seeing and a way of uncovering rhetoric’s relationship to sensation. Burkean orientation—deriving from ophthalmology and Gestalt psychology—brings into focus three practices of studying the senses in rhetoric: attending to lived experience, considering sensation as elemental to rhetorical work, and practicing rhetorical criticism attuned to the entrenchments and slips of the senses. Engaging the biology of vision reveals sensation as connective tissue between nonsymbolic motion and symbolic action.
Original Publication Information
Poole, Megan. "Orientation: Seeing and Sensing Rhetorically." 2020 Western Journal of Communication, 84(5): 604-622.
Poole, Megan, "Orientation: Seeing and Sensing Rhetorically" (2020). Faculty Scholarship. 544.