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Mao, LuMing

Special Issue 2013, 43:3, pages 209-225

Beyond Bias, Binary, and Border: Mapping out the Future of Comparative Rhetoric

Abstract:  Using the Confucius Institutes as a representative anecdote to think through a series of incongruities, this essay seeks to map out the future of comparative rhetoric. It reconfigures the terms of engagement through a critique of the etic/emic approach and redefines comparative rhetoric by pivoting toward “facts of usage” and facts of “non”-usage. To close the gap between what we think we know about and can speak for the other and what has to happen in order for us to begin to know about and speak for the other, it further calls for enacting the art of recontextualization as a discursive third, a metadisciplinary stance that helps us become more self-reflexive about our own biases, binaries, and boundaries and more attentive to the increasingly blurred and shifting boundaries between self and other, pat and present, and local and global.

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