Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Scott Consigny


This dissertation describes and embodies an ethically grounded method for structuring a program of rhetorical study. As a discipline, rhetoric is perhaps uniquely comprehensive, as Cicero suggests when he writes, "No man can be an orator complete in all points of merit who has not attained a knowledge of all important subjects and arts" (De Oratore , Bk. I, Ch. 6). Rather than attempting to delimit rhetoric, the dissertation offers a means of narrowing its scope for individual rhetoricians, namely by focusing on inner necessity and conscience in the approach to study. Rhetoric here is defined as a framework in which the author integrates the scholarly and artistic, public and private elements of her personality by inquiring into the influence of symbols on her life. By conceptualizing the art of rhetoric as a "self-discipline," the author affirms the significance of all these elements and suggests that their harmonious blending will enhance the pleasures and utilities of discourse. Embedded within the dissertation are three articles that represent the author's attempt to construct rhetoric in this manner. "Reconsidering Agency in an Era of Georeligious Upheaval: Women from Four Faith Traditions Confess" suggests how organized religions contribute to empowerment of the devout. "Argument and Authority in the Visual Representations of Science" considers the importance of the ethical appeal to science, and the ways in which visual representations appeal to audience prejudices in favor of knowledge constructed by the eye. "Possibilities for a Rhetoric of Music: A Metadiscursive Approach to Film" proposes thirteen categories of musical metadiscourse and hypothesizes that musical ways of knowing are as vital to the meaning of film art as visual and verbal ways are. Throughout the dissertation, personal and public, scholarly and artistic narratives intersect.*;*This dissertation is compound (contains both a paper copy and CD as part of the dissertation). The CD requires the following system application: Windows MediaPlayer or RealPlayer.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Anne Rypstat Richards



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

188 pages