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Harris Lecture_ Computational Rhetoric Begets the Chiastic Suite

Toronto Semiotic Circle Lecture Series

Harris Lecture: Computational Rhetoric Begets the Chiastic Suite

Prof. Randy Allen Harris

University of Waterloo

A place for everything and everything in its place? Rhetoricians in aggregate have been extraordinarily negligent in our categorization, curation, and analysis of the neurocognitive phenomena we call rhetorical figures. The case in point for this talk goes by the name chiasmus, though, in some neighbourhoods they know it as antimetabole; or antimetathesis, or commutatio, or counterchange, or hysteron proteron, or permutatio; or, in deepest cover, the reversible raincoat. Sometimes it looks one way, sometimes another; sometimes it is defined one way, sometimes another. This welter of phenomena and names couldn't be more ragged and disordered if it were part of a Trumpian disinformation campaign.


Taking a top-down approach and defining chiasmus as the reverse repetition of at least two of linguistic constituents, I will outline a suite of chiastic figures, roughing in the contours of the rhetorical functions they serve, the neurocognitive affinities they activate, and the inconicities they realize.

This lecture was hosted in partnership with the Department of Philosophy at Ryerson University and organized by the Meaning Lab in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

A Bit About Me

Date & Time

Wed, 11 April 2018

5:00 PM – 6:30 PM EDT

Ryerson University

80 Gould St.

RCC 204 (Rogers Communications Centre)

Toronto, ON M5B 2M7

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