Rhetoric and the Republic: Politics, Civic Discourse and Education in Early America
by Mark Garrett Longaker
Mark Longaker's office is across the hall and one door down. He and I drop by each others' offices sometimes to chat about our department's new rhetoric major, about home repairs, and so forth. We hardly ever discuss scholarship, though, since we work such different subfields: I'm mostly into sociotechnical theory and its applications for workplaces, while Mark is interested in Marxist analyses of work and in the history of rhetoric pedagogy in the US. The latter topic is the subject of this book, and although I wouldn't normally pick it up, I found it to be really interesting -- and I'm glad once again to have such smart colleagues.
In this book, Mark uses articulation theory and draws on Gramsci to examine the range of understandings of "republicanism" in rhetorical education around the time of the War of Independence. He persuasively argues that what was labeled "republicanism" was articulated in a variety of ways at different campuses and in different regions, regions that themselves had different strains of capitalism. Longaker quotes from assignments, administrators' and instructors' writings, and students' work as well as contemporary extrascholastic documents to make his case.
If you're interested in how the Republic's discourse evolved and how capitalism and republicanism affected rhetorical pedagogy, get this book.