Presentation Abstract

US Congressional Hearings: The Web Version

For Composition/Rhetoric scholars who are experimenting with webbed publication, I will describe a large project ( a monograph rhetorical analysis of Congressional hearings); the rationale for publishing on the WWW;the design methodology (object-oriented design), and reception following publication (first 'chapter' in *kairos* (forthcoming, October).

It is a webbed book. From the introduction:

"This web represents scholarly work published electronically.

Borrowing a term from Mark Bernstein, publisher at Eastgate Systems, I think of it as serious hypertext.

It has two aims:

In public terms, it is a reflective essay about American deliberative democracy. The oldest living democracies are North American. At its founding in the late eighteenth century, the United States was the world's first large-scale federal democracy. Preceding it, diverse communal democracies had long existed in native American tribes and confederacies. United States and Native American democratic institutions continue today, still deliberating in characteristically different yet mutually dependent ways.

The first episode in this website reconstructs an encounter between United States and Cherokee democracies in l789.

  • In academic terms, this web reports scholarly study of cultural rhetorics of deliberation.

    Objects of analysis are practices of speaking and writing by which representatives of 'a people' talk and write to govern in council or congress.

    Practices are related to symbolic conditions such as prevailing ideas (e.g., a model of democracy), and to material conditions such as technological developments (e.g., copying devices)."

    The first 'chapter' is scheduled for October publication in kairos, so by conference time I can report on the work's reception, as well.

    Author: Catherine F. Smith


    Target Audience: Advanced

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