Department of Rhetoric in Culture and the Media

Research Profile

Rhetoric in culture and the media is inseparably interwoven with a plethora of discourses which define both literary and cultural studies. Rhetoric is an indispensable vehicle for analyzing poetry; it has taught us how to compose all sorts of texts since the times of the Greek Sophists, and in our Department it inspires us to take up such issues as the status of literary fiction, interactive narratives, (neo)pragmatism, discourses of emotions, representation in culture and literature, worldmaking, new media, cultural memory, and contemporary varieties of realism.

Our research in culture and the media focuses not only on their origins and the status quo but also – or perhaps primarily – on the effects of rhetorical transations which human beings engage in to interpret the full dynamics of their cultural situatedness. Rhetoric highlights interactions between people, and those interactions usually involve language, or more generally – a culturally determined semiotic code. Rhetoric in culture and the media is thus a quintessentially philological and humanist preoccupation.

"Rhetoric" by Stanley Fish is one of those essays which we recognize as a guiding light for our understanding of what contemporary rhetoric means. At a crucial point in this essay, Fish juxtaposes rhetoric and theory to conclude that a major advantage of the former is that it has fundamentally practical consequences. Thus construed, rhetoric is instrumental in interpreting culture along unorthodox, invigorating lines. It lays emphasis on affect, emotion, belief; it ushers us into the world of popular culture and helps us understand it by means of such categories as pathos or ethos, which we owe to none other than Aristotle.

Rhetoric opens our eyes to interconnections between media, fields and disciplines. It encourages us to seek common ground between neighbouring territories: literary studies, cultural studies, philosophy, history, media studies, sociology, psychology, political sciences, legal studies. We recognize the value of maintaining a lively, mutually inspiring dialogue with academics and non-academics alike. The institutions and organizations that we collaborate with include: Polskie Towarzystwo Retorycze, Ośrodek Badań nad Pragmatyzmem im. Johna Deweya, International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, Love Research Network, The Society for the Study of Sex and Love. Last but not least, the quality of teaching and research in our Institute concerned with interactive entertainment has been appreciated by Polish video game developers.

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Wydział Filologiczny Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
ul. Gen. S. Grota-Roweckiego 5
41-205 Sosnowiec