Since I’ve got about 36 hours still to work on this, I thought I’d post the current draft of my CCCC 2008 presentation proposal. It’s for a four-person panel on rhetorical memory and delivery being put together by Kathie, and I am, of course, one of two people representing memory. Actually, we’re responding to/updating John Frederick Reynolds’ collection Rhetorical Memory and Delivery, which will be 15 years old next year, which also explains why I’m situating my presentation within Reynolds’ essay “Memory Issues in Composition Studies.”

I’ve touched on conceptual blending in a few presentations now, but it’s always taken a back seat to another issue, usually discussions of mental, verbal, and graphic imagery as compositional tools. As that’s the case, I thought it was time to foreground the cognitive theory I believe plays such a large role in rhetorical memory.

Any feedback would be much appreciated, even if it’s just a note that you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. One hundred and forty words or so doesn’t give me much room to explain a detailed concept, let alone frame it within Reynolds work, so I’m not sure if I’m being clear enough.

“Conceptual Blending and Memoria

Speaker X will discuss the theory of conceptual blending and its importance to the four interrelated approaches to rhetorical memory identified by John Frederick Reynolds in his essay “Memory Issues in Composition Studies.” Starting with Reynolds’ argument that we must consider the relationship between memory and psychology, Speaker X will argue that conceptual blending, which is a theory of cognition that argues human thought is a process of blending metaphors to create new meaning, is closely connected to and helps explain the cognitive processes upon which the classical and medieval ars memoria were based. Drawing insight from this connection between contemporary cognitive theory and traditional rhetorical memory, Speaker X will discuss how the theory of conceptual blending can help us further explore and engage memory as mnemonics, memory as memorableness, and memory and databases, Reynolds other three interrelated approaches to memory.