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Dr. Elif Guler publishes pioneering article in Advances in the History of Rhetoric, chairs panel/presents paper in Copenhagen

Dr. Elif Guler, Assistant Professor of Professional Writing and Rhetoric with Longwood’s English and Modern Languages Department, recently published an article in Advances in the History of Rhetoric. The article entitled, “Understanding Turkish Rhetoric in the Intertextuality of Two Seminal Texts: The Orkhon Inscriptions and Ataturk’s Nutuk” (with I. Goksel, vol. 22 no. 2, pp. 194-207), constitutes the first study that discusses the characteristics of the Turkish rhetorical tradition. The study examines the ways in which Turkic/Turkish rhetoric was practiced and conceptualized in two seminal texts from the pre-Islamic and republican periods of the Turkish rhetorical tradition: the Orkhon inscriptions (8th century) and Atatürk’s Nutuk (1927). The intertextuality of these texts helps explore their relationships across time and space as well as mediate rhetorical styles and performances in their discourse. By focusing on how rhetoric was produced and understood by Turks – a group whose history spans centuries since their ancient origins in central Asia, the study contributes to the conversations on a more globalized and inclusive rhetorical praxis.

Dr. Guler was recently also invited to present a paper and chair a panel–including scholars from Thailand, Serbia, Ukraine, and Colombia–at a conference organized by the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences and held from June 23-27 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr. Guler’s paper entitled, “Rhetoric for Divine Bliss: The Cultural and Pedagogical Implications of Kut and Tore as the Pillars of Turkish Rhetorical Tradition,” explored some of the major Turkish historical texts’ teachings on how to use language, explaining the texts’ aim to educate an ‘ideal rhetorical agent’ who has to study language in order to effectively communicate with and utilize authority and power. The findings suggest that the notions of kut and töre underwrite these historical texts (from the 8th and 11th centuries) as the pillars of performing in/with language. Kut roughly represents a divinely sourced bliss. Töre refers to a certain set of moral principles that are supposed to guide and govern an individual’s behavior–principles that, when followed, leads to an individual’s eternal bliss and, when violated, might result in his or her demise. Rather than defining rhetoric as “the moral person speaking,” historical Turkish texts suggest that attaining kut requires subjecting the ‘tongue’ to a certain rhetorical training which is what ensures one’s morality (proper following of the töre). Dr. Guler discussed how such non-Western texts can present us with different sets of rhetorical conventions that raise interesting questions and can provide scholars with various points for critical discussion about how to exercise a moral understanding of rhetorical agency in our quest to advance the civil discourse.

Replica of one of the stone monuments constituting the Orkhon inscriptions (located in Ankara, Turkey)

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