2018 SCOM Undergraduate Research Conference

Project Type

Poster Presentation

Start Date

10-4-2018 9:30 AM

End Date

10-4-2018 10:45 AM

Description

In 1976, South African clergyman Desmond Tutu wrote an open letter to Prime Minister B.J. Vorster urging him to end the apartheid system of racial segregation. In the midst of growing frustration amongst the black population and fear of violence, the letter pleads for the Prime Minister to recognize their shared humanity, showing that they share the same interests for preserving peace and prosperity for all South Africans, warning of potential widespread violence in the near future. Tutu's appeals can be viewed through the lens of Kenneth Burke's theory of consubstantiality. As Burke's theory indicates concerning all rhetoric, Tutu's letter seeks to demonstrate commonality and align interests between the rhetor and the audience. The audience of the letter can be seen as both Vorster himself and the white eavesdropping audience, who will inevitably read Tutu's words and must decide if they can recognize their common humanity and vision with Tutu and the black population.

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Rhetoric Commons

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Apr 10th, 9:30 AM Apr 10th, 10:45 AM

A Rhetorical Analysis of Desmond Tutu’s 1976 Letter to Prime Minister John Vorster

In 1976, South African clergyman Desmond Tutu wrote an open letter to Prime Minister B.J. Vorster urging him to end the apartheid system of racial segregation. In the midst of growing frustration amongst the black population and fear of violence, the letter pleads for the Prime Minister to recognize their shared humanity, showing that they share the same interests for preserving peace and prosperity for all South Africans, warning of potential widespread violence in the near future. Tutu's appeals can be viewed through the lens of Kenneth Burke's theory of consubstantiality. As Burke's theory indicates concerning all rhetoric, Tutu's letter seeks to demonstrate commonality and align interests between the rhetor and the audience. The audience of the letter can be seen as both Vorster himself and the white eavesdropping audience, who will inevitably read Tutu's words and must decide if they can recognize their common humanity and vision with Tutu and the black population.