Periodic Publishing And Rhetorical Time: the Birth And "death" Of The Newspaper

Open Access
Biddle, Matthew
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
March 05, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Cheryl Jean Glenn, Dissertation Advisor
  • Cheryl Jean Glenn, Committee Chair
  • Stuart Selber, Committee Chair
  • John L Selzer, Committee Member
  • Stephen Howard Browne, Committee Member
  • Rhetoric
  • Composition
  • Time
  • Chronotope
  • Periodicity
  • Seriality
  • Newspaper
  • Technology
  • New Media
  • Historiography
Social, cultural, and technological processes are speeding up every year, such that the lived experience of the “pace of life” has changed drastically. Social acceleration (as this phenomenon has been dubbed) is often linked to changes in communication and publication technology. The field of rhetoric and composition does not have a theory of time robust enough to explain or analyze the phenomenon of social acceleration. This dissertation proposes an expanded rhetoric of time, building upon existing theories of time (such as Kairos, chonotopes, and other tools used to understand the temporal aspects of the rhetorical situation), and expanding the focus of rhetoric to include the epistemological view of time: the ways in which context, social convention, and technology/publication medium shape how audiences perceive and make sense of time. This project investigates a specific case, as a focal point for unpacking the value of an epistemological view of time: the birth (and death) of the newspaper—and, through that case, the larger concept of periodicity. I argue for an expanded understanding of how publication systems and temporal qualities (such as periodicity) can shape audiences, and suggest that the field of rhetoric and composition as a whole has been too focused on “locating” the audience, and not cognizant enough of how audience members are positioned in time.