3/1: Rhetorical Listening

Before we start thinking about how to produce a message through sound, we want to think about how people listen.  What is the difference between hearing and listening?

Photo by Justin Lynham

Photo by Justin Lynham

To prepare for class, read the excerpt from Krista Ratcliffe’s “Rhetorical Listening” (on ELMS) and think about these questions: How does one listen well?  What does it mean to listen “rhetorically”?  And how can listening be used to communicate more effectively across cultural divides?

Then, please listen to half of “Episode 603: Once More, With Feeling” of the This American Life podcast, which deals with two different situations in which people struggling to cross cultural divides could have used rhetorical listening.  You can choose to listen to:

  • Prologue & Act One (0:00-18:40), in which Eleanor Gordon-Smith confronts men who catcall her, attempts to understand why they do it, and tries to persuade them to stop.
  • Act Two (18:40-37:25), in which veteran Michael Pitre describes the difficulties in answering civilian questions about his time serving in the military, and using audience cues to shape his storytelling.

As you’re listening, pay attention to both how Ratcliffe’s theory can be applied to these situations, and also to the structure and affordances of the podcast genre as a method of persuasion.

*Note: If the player on the webpage doesn’t open immediately, try clicking on the “Open Player” link and follow the directions to update Adobe Flash in the pop-up window.  You can also choose to listen to the beeped (censored) version, which you can download by clicking on the link on the webpage and open in any music player software.

While there is a transcript available for accessibility purposes, please do not read it in lieu of listening to the podcast itself!

%d bloggers like this: