Whitworth FredTalks inspire writers

by Angel Stacey

On September 23, English department professors Jessica Clements and John Pell put on a seminar which they called “FredTalks” to present helpful information about rhetoric and writing.

The name “FredTalks” started out as just a joke between professors – until it stuck.

“There is a professor [named] Dr. Fred Johnson and the department decided it would be good to host talks to introduce students to things they can do with their English degree and allow professors to present their research. But it was really the rest of the department that sort of jumped in on the joke and so, it just stuck. And it sounds good, I think it sounds great,” said Pell.

Pell discussed how rhetoric as a field of study can open students’ views of the world because it allows them to look at issues from a different perspective.

Pell used Aristotle as an example, explaining how Aristotle believed that there was only one “truth” to every situation. Therefore, different opinions do not exist – only wrong ones.

“We think that there is a real need for students to be introduced to some of the concepts of rhetoric in order to be informed citizens, politically, particularly in our current political environment, so our goal was to talk about the ways in which our discipline can help students think about issues around equity issues, around diversity issues, and around political discourse,” Pell said.

Pell said he hopes that presenting these ideas would get students to think about ways they can use these tools to enhance their writing going forward.