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Disciplinary Rhetoric - Essay Example

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Rhetoric in Medieval History Medieval History is a subset of history that focuses on events that took place roughly between the years 500 CE and 1500 CE, though particular dates used change depending on the region and subject being investigated. As a subset of history, studies in medieval history use many of the same techniques, priorities and knowledge making apparatuses as its parent branch of history, with some important minor variations and distinctions…
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Disciplinary Rhetoric
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Download file to see previous pages which outlines the differences between the treatment of lepers in Medieval Christian and Medieval Islamic society. Based on these three articles, several features of the writing of Medieval history stand out. These features are: knowledge tends to be fairly specialized, with all authors having a general idea of the overall history of the middle ages but a much more intensive focus on a small part of that history, reliance on written primary sources, heavy use of conjecture to compensate for the paucity of written primary sources, and an odd mixture of clear and simple writing with little assumption of former knowledge and use of specialized writing, making this writing both accessible and inaccessible to a layman simultaneously. One of the first things that becomes apparent in studies of medieval history is that an incredibly accessible writing style, which assumes very little previous knowledge in the field, seems to be very highly regarded. For instance, even though one would assume that a basic overview of the process of the Norman Conquest of England, one of the defining features of Medieval History, would be known by anyone who would bother reading an academic article on the subject, James MacGregor opens his article by explaining that “after the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror consolidated his authority over England by rewarding his companions with lands in his newly won kingdom” (MacGregor, 219). This structure is paralleled in Chevedden’s article, which explains the beginning of the First Crusade, a subject that most medievalists would probably not need explained (Chevedden, 183). These authors go even further than to explain the basic underpinnings of the history they are discussing, by for instance always ensuring that the identity of every person discussed is explained. When referring to “Ali, ibn Tahir al-Sulami,” Chevedden does not simply assume that anyone who would be reading his article would know that person because they were important in the field of medieval history, but explains that he was “a legal scholar and preacher at the great Mosque of Damascus […] six years after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099” (Chevedden, 184). Likewise, Dols in his article on Leprosy in Islam explains details about individuals who suffered from the disease, where they were placed in their society, and what their role was in history (Dols, 892). Medievalists seem to go to great lengths to avoid assuming prior knowledge on the part of their readers about specifics of the history they discuss. They outline major events, names and places before going on to deeper analysis, which makes their writing incredibly accessible. This is probably done because Medieval History is such a wide-spread and diverse field, covering many different nations and time periods, so even experts might not have details on another expert’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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