Dr. Roberta K. Ray of Montana Tech’s Liberal Studies Department has had a paper entitled The Rhetorical Theory of Ralph Waldo Emerson accepted for presentation at the Twenty-First Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric to be held at Queen Mary, University of London, UK this summer. Over forty nations are represented at the conference. The International Society for the History of Rhetoric promotes the study of both the theory and practice of rhetoric in all periods and languages and the relationship of rhetoric to poetics, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, politics, religion, law and other aspects of the cultural context.
In her paper, Dr. Ray argues that idealism and mysticism permeate Emerson’s philosophy of rhetoric. The purpose of rhetoric is to provoke individuals to intuit their own truth from within themselves and their own experiences. Emerson’s rhetorical theory is unique and significant because it is based on the assumption that people are not meant to be manipulated or persuaded but to be provoked to intuit their own truth.
Dr. Ray teaches communications courses at Montana Tech. She is the author of the recently released Angels on a School Bus: How a Community of Volunteers saved Two Hundred German Shepherds and Huskies.