School of Communication and Digital Content
Master of Arts in Communication (MA)
Faith E. Mullen
Primary Subject Area
Biology, General; Language, Rhetoric and Composition; Speech Communication
Creation, Criticism, Evolution, George Kennedy, Ideology, Rhetoric
Communication | Critical and Cultural Studies | Evolution | Rhetoric and Composition | Speech and Rhetorical Studies
Begley, James, "From a Rodent to a Rhetorician: An Ideological Analysis of George Alexander Kennedy's Comparative Rhetoric" (2012). Masters Theses. 219.
George Alexander Kennedy, a professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has given birth to a new understanding of rhetorical studies: he argues for the evolution of rhetoric from animals to humans. Using Sonja Foss's methodology of "ideological criticism," this thesis examined Kennedy's case as presented in his book, Comparative Rhetoric: an Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction. This study discovered that the book was heavily influenced by a secular, pro-evolutionary ideology which dually contributed to its selective use of scientific evidences and production of inconsistent arguments. Evaluated on the basis of Biblical principles, this thesis concluded that the metaphysical assumptions outlined in the Genesis narrative should be encouraged as an alternative explanation for the origins of human and animal communication.