Citational Epideixis and a “Thinking of Community”: The Case of the Minuteman Project
Abstract: That a single author creates a rhetorical artifact is fundamental to traditional genre theory. This essay draws on posthumanist notions of linguistic “citationality” in order to divest the epideictic rhetoric of the Minuteman Project of the fantasy of the original author. We argue that, in epideictic engagements, language is reinvigorated; it recurs and circulates infinitely, accumulating meaning in each new instantiation. Using a text with considerable ethical complexity, we examine three themes of particular interest to posthumanism: accountability/responsibility, the potential for (political) resistance, and community. Epideictic discourses tell us not only who to be, but how to be; from a posthumanist point of view, those constructs, we claim, are enfoldments of the exterior. By positing citationality as key dimensions of genre, and following the theoretical works of Jean Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben, we explicate the significance of subjectivity as a rhetorical outcome of the social.