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Epideictic Rhetoric.

While it is difficult to give a global assessment of contemporary epideictic scholarship, it is reasonable to suggest that rhetorical scholars continue to value the important role epideictic plays in public culture. Epideictic genres continue to mutate, evolve, and disappear, but the need to ground social mores, political institutions, and communities through epideictic continues to endure. Aristotle's millennia-old efforts to understand epideictic seem more relevant than ever. Epideictic rhetoric, understood both as a genre of and an approach to rhetoric, has always presented difficulty to scholars endeavoring to define and understand it. Its fundamental and primary unifying feature as a discourse of praise and blame poses little problems to understanding, but the ubiquitous presence of praise and blame in nearly every instance of rhetoric renders this single identifying feature of little assistance. On the other hand, the immanence of praise in a range of rhetorical exchanges and forms demands that its workings be understood and appreciated.

Epideictic scholarship in the field of communication is also complicated by the fact that epideictic rhetoric constitutes a tradition that extends well over 2,000 years and that its fundamental elements have been examined and discussed throughout this time. Epideictic scholarship is Janus-faced, simultaneously looking forward and backward as it generates insight into this rhetorical form.

Since antiquity, scholars have sought to identify and understand the unique features of epideictic, one of the primary genres of rhetoric. It has long been known that the language use, topical choices, purposes, and settings of epideictic were uniquely different from other forms of rhetoric, and these differences have provoked an enduring scholarly dialogue. This literature review will supply a brief survey of the fundamental features of ancient epideictic, attending to its theoretical origins, primary traditions, and earliest innovations. It will then demonstrate the extent to which many of these important themes continue to guide contemporary epideictic scholarship, scholarship characterized by its expanding scope and range of perspectives. Contemporary epideictic scholarship has elaborated the unique functions of epideictic discourse, its temporal distinctiveness, its paradoxic conservative and progressive functions, and its potential applications to a range of new and under-explored texts. As a collective body of scholarship, contemporary studies of epideictic demonstrate the enduring vitality of this longstanding rhetorical practice.

1. Epideictic's Classical Origins

Studies of ancient epideictic rhetoric highlight its ever-changing form, the role ritual has in epideictic address, and the enduring link between power and control over epideictic events. Scholars have devoted a significant amount of work to individual texts and theoretical works, as well as to two comprehensive surveys of the fundamental texts and critical themes in epideictic in antiquity (Burgess, 1902; Pernot, 1993). Produced nearly 100 years ago, Theodore Burgess's handbook of epideictic literature remains the most comprehensive English language study, but it has been substantially updated and improved upon by Pernot's two-volume masterpiece, which remains untranslated into English and less accessible.

Early Greek epideictic assumed three distinct forms: epitaphios, hymnos, andparadoxos. The different orientations these primary forms took fostered a range of epideictic purposes and uses. The epitaphios, or the funeral oration, was closely tied to the ideals of the state; the hymnos or festival speech containing religious associations developed into the later panegyricos or festival speech; and finally, the paradoxos was a sophistic exercise which evolved into a more formalized philosophical discourse. These three forms share an overlapping concern with praise and blame but their collective inclusion into the generic category of epideictic affected the way in which these speeches were theorized and contributed to conflicting perspectives regarding its scope and purpose.

Although scholars continue to invoke Aristotle as an authority on ancient epideictic theory, it is unclear the extent to which the perspective offered in his Rhetoric reflects the general conception of epideictic. Indeed, the importance assigned to Aristotle's handbook may be due to the rhetorical perspectives it reflects as much as to its subsequent influence upon Greek rhetoric (Poster, 1997). Some scholars read the incorporation of epideictic into the tripartite categorization scheme of forensic, deliberative, and epideictic discourses as an attempt to subordinate sophistic rhetorical theory under a more pragmatic vision (Cole, 1991; Timmerman & Schiappa, 2010). Given the artificial and somewhat contrived circumstances surrounding this categorization, Aristotelian standards were inevitably poorly suited for evaluations of pre-Aristotelian texts.

Although scholars will continue to revise assessments of Aristotle's contribution to epideictic theory, the Rhetoric in all likelihood will still initiate discussions of epideictic's core features. Aristotle's identification of the topic (praise/blame), temporal nature (present), and audience (observers) of an epideictic speech constitute the fundamental topoi for the genre. Aristotle conceptualized epideictic primarily as a written genre (3.12) delivered before an audience of spectators (1.3), which praises or blames a subject (1.3), relates this topic to the present time (1.9), and achieves its rhetorical force (dynamis) through ethos (1.9), amplification (3.17), and narrative (3.16). These sections, along with other passages relevant to the study of epideictic, have already received various levels of scrutiny and still guide contemporary theory (Chase, 1961; Hauser, 1999; Oravec, 1976).

Edward Schiappa's elaboration of the relationship between Gorgias and Aristotle has rejected Aristotle's position as the highest authority on classical rhetoric because Aristotle's categorizations derived from his consultation of rhetorical handbooks and study of earlier oratory. Aristotle's Lectures on Rhetoric preferred to take examples from epideictic texts to deliberative or forensic excerpts (Trevett, 1996; Graff, 2001; Burgess, 1902, p. 105)

The common thematic approaches of the epideictic and quasi-epideictic literature preceding Aristotle underscore the likely literary norms guiding texts before theorists recorded the rules governing rhetorical expression. The same early treatises that influenced the invention, production, or reception of later rhetorical periods (instances of which include the work of Aristotle and Anaximanes), were themselves reflections of a time-honored tradition of epideictic practice (Schiapa, 1999).

Few rhetorical traditions document epideictic's contributions and connections to institutional power as well as the funeral oration. Surviving examples of these orations trace the development and adaptation of "conflicting ideologies ... competing for social control" and illustrate how this form augmented institutional power (Poulakis, 1990, p. 181). Overall, they follow a similar textual pattern moving from praise to lament to consolation. The Athenian funeral oration elided any topical tension between a contemporary discourse of democracy and aristocratic traditionalism by praising bellicose ambition as a virtue of yesteryear. By successfully

invoking the citizenry as a collective body, the funeral orator consolidated support for Athenian policy. The funeral speech idealized a noble future through formulaic comparisons linking the present dead to the mythic deaths of the past. At the same time, it implicitly supported contemporary militarism by analogically structuring the praise for values to include ideals tying the violent present to a more idyllic past. An expansive definition of traditional values encompassing past and present behavior, glossed over differences in social status that might divide Athenians and concentrated on the sacrifices made for the good of Athens. In forgetting the questionable nobility of those who died, while celebrating their sacrifice, orators matched the deeds of the dead heroes to the present and suppressed their aristocratic sentiment so as to restructure political memory. By praising the heroic deeds and values of earlier Athenians, the event transformed these prior themes into present symbols of an Athenian imperial ideology. In sum, the funeral orations exhibit a genre-blending effect brought about by the need to serve various constituencies (Loraux, 1986).

A significant amount of inquiry into early epideictic has centered around the peculiar funeral oration found in Plato's (c. 427-347 B.C.E.) Menexenus. George Kennedy called this text "one of the most interesting studies of funeral oratory" and sympathetically recognized its enigmatic features (Kennedy, 1963). Readings of the Menexenus exemplify the particular difficulties in evaluating funeral orations because they struggle to compare a recorded secondhand account of Thucydides with a potentially parodic version of the actual speech. The primary obstacle to ascertaining the thematic unities common to the funeral oration of the period is a textual record that includes the range of fictitious fragmented, parodic, and official texts. Sara Monoson interprets the Menexenus as an ironic rebuttal to Pericles' speech, an anti-text that "critique[s] rhetoric in general and funeral oratory in particular ... ridicule[ing] these forms of public speech for their reliance on manipulations of fact and outright untruths in order to inflate the citizens' patriotic pride" (Monoson, 1998, p. 494). Ekaterina Haskins (2005) has observed the Menexenus' similarities to Isocrates' Panegyricus, arguing that both were elaborations of an epideictic convention that critiqued the democratic impulse in Athenian society. Michael Carter, whose study of the Menexenus traced three fundamental links between ritual and epideictic rhetoric, emphasized how these intrinsic bonds warranted consideration of ritual as the basis for evaluating epideictic (Carter, 1991).

Nicole Loraux has also dismissed the Menexenus' claims to literality and ascertained its ironic message by comparing it to the corpus of extant funeral orations. Even as the Menexenus parodies the militarism inherent to the epitaphios, it reveals the essential quality unifying every Athenian funeral oration, its function as a logos hegemonikos, both an encomium to pan-Hellenic culture and a paean covertly justifying Athens' imperial ambition. Behind the seemingly benign praise for the superiority of Greek culture lurked a "paradoxical continuity of Athenian foreign policy" (Loraux, 1986). Takis Poulakis emphasized this ideological dynamic too, arguing that the epitaphioi expressed the "ideological constructs of the newly formed state" (Poulakis, 1990).

The mutability of epideictic rhetoric is more clearly evident in the sophistic texts. The mixed generic form of the earliest sophistic speeches suggests a vitality dependent upon the continued alteration of this genre's presentation. Isocrates' speech in praise of Evagoras blended hymns, ritual, and advice literature and exemplifies the hybrid nature of early epideictic texts. Poulakis' reading of the connections among rhetoric, ethics, and poetics arose from observing its hybridized form and from his evaluation of the topical limitations that caused Isocrates to blend two literary conventions, the "poetic hymnos" and the "rhetorical epainos." Poulakis' study of the Evagoras has likewise demonstrated the productive potential of inquiry into the tension between Aristotelian theory and Pre-Aristotelian practice (Poulakis, 1987). For instance, in his Encomium to Helen, Gorgias (c. 483-376 B.C.E.) used entertaining language, but structured it in a manner resembling an instructional speech, perhaps without distinguishing between the two, and Schiappa has concluded that "Gorgias would not have felt any tension between writing a theoretical 'versus' an epideictic speech, because no one had yet felt a particular need to distinguish prose texts yet on the basis of instructional versus entertainment aspirations" (Schiappa, 1999).

Epideictic theory in the Hellenistic period concentrated on norms of appropriate language that limited the ways orators could express certain ideas. Two Hellenistic texts, Demetrius' On Style and Philodemus' handbook on rhetoric, show noteworthy changes in emphasis on appropriate delivery, topic choice, and language use (Pernot, 2005). The Hellenistic handbook On Style, attributed to an unknown author, Demetrius and most likely written in the second or third century (B.C.E.), advances a stylistic theory strongly indebted to the ideas circulated by the peripatetic school. Its approach to figurative language foreshadows the growing stylistic sophistication that flourished under the Roman Empire (Pernot, 2005). The work of Demetrius (c. 3rd century B.C.E.) on style continues the idea of epideictic as a third branch of rhetoric, and Kennedy suggests its substantially expanded range of possibilities is "the beginning of the movement to extend epideictic to include a greater variety of genres, even some not specifically oratorical" (Kennedy, 1963, p. 285). This broadening of epideictic expanded its associations with various philosophical and ceremonial activities and it can be seen in the developments occurring during the Hellenistic period.

Because Philodemus' (110-35 B.C.E.) On Rhetoric appears to address the critique of epideictic advanced by the Epicurean school, it sheds light on the philosophical regard for epideictic during the Hellenistic period (Burgess, 1902, pp. 172, 223). Philodemus' perspective critiqued certain portions of rhetorical activity but allocated a space for philosophers to influence public morals and avoid the ethically suspect practice of deliberating public policy or arguing court cases (Kennedy, 1963). Gaines also reads Philodemus as an innovator who rejected the Epicurean critique of epideictic. As Gaines explains, the basic principles of the critique held that epideictic speech was more strongly associated with skill in demonstrations of praise or blame than with interest in the subject being of praised or blamed, and it denied a philosopher public influence because the speaker was either forced to comply with popular opinion or to assume the role of dangerous speech and take on the risks associated with presenting a truly epideictic speech (Gaines, 2003). But that admonishment, attributed to the writings of Epicurus, was not reproduced carte blanche in Philodemus, and thus we can see a shift toward tolerance of epideictic speaking by this follower of the Epicurian school. An understanding of the philosophical views prevalent in different Hellenistic schools is needed to appreciate the way rhetorical doctrines were insinuated into the major philosophical academies of the Mediterranean region and subsequently diffused into active principles for speaking and statecraft.

When Dionysus of Halicanarsus (fl. 60-7 B.C.E.), a Greek informant keenly attuned to the rhetoric of the Roman Republic and principate, averred that the laudatio funebris imitated the form of the Athenian funeral oration, he underestimated the depth of Rome's own epideictic traditions. Attitudes similar to Dionysus' have dampened appreciation for the uniqueness of Roman rhetoric and continue to guide historical narratives that portray Roman rhetors as imitators of a thoroughly Greek techne.

Many of Rome's rhetorical practices followed normative standards before Greek rhetorical theory was introduced. While not an entirely insulated tradition, Roman epideictic texts address themes that could only have emerged out of the Latin culture. In addition to shaping the conceptual domain of Roman epideictic, Rome's social, political, and religious traditions regulated the reception and assimilation of Greek rhetorical thought. The Greeks and Romans shared many conceptions of epideictic, but they differed in many respects as well.

The essential points of contrast between Roman and Greek epideictic result from the distinctness of their respective cultural traditions. Cicero's theoretical writings, for all their ambivalence and occasionally even dismissive regard for epideictic as a pursuit unworthy of the noble orator, were attuned to the connection between Roman cultural values and Roman epideictic practice. The arguments advanced by Antonius in Cicero's Dialogue on Oratory conveyed his recognition that Greek epideictic principles were inexact guides for understanding Rome's epideictic traditions and practices (De Oratore, 2.11). Convinced that genuine aristocrats embodied the elaborate and "non-rhetorical" socio-political knowledge reflected in Roman ceremonial ritual, Antonius dismissed the study of epideictic rules as a redundant or useless task by proffering a disjunctive argument: if Roman virtue is understood, it does not need to be taught; and people who require virtue are unworthy of its lessons.

Cicero's dialogue De Oratore was thematically consistent with Aristotle's theory, signaling the continued authority of the Greek handbook tradition, but its open speculation concerning the Greek principles of epideictic reflected a potentially selective regard for these principles. Its prevailing arguments assimilated Greek views of rhetoric and epideictic into a distinctly Roman vision that emphasized cultural practices. Additionally, some passages within this dialogue demonstrate a high level of cultural ambivalence regarding epideictic (Dugan, 1985). Dugan has suggested that Cicero's underdeveloped conception of epideictic, which generally "subordinate[d] the discussion of its genus to its use within forensic and deliberative speeches" was due to the fact that "Rome lacked a longstanding tradition of ceremonial oratory like Greece's" (p. 38). Crassus and Antonius' perspectives were not mutually exclusive, but they reflected distinct intellectual traditions that foster different modes of action and being. When aggregated, their attitudes defined the conceptual domain for Roman orators contemplated the Roman and Greek qualities of epideictic.

In addition to idealizing virtues which valorized aristocratic mores, Antonius' comments acknowledged that other behaviors could also exemplify praiseworthy virtue. He coined the phrase "favors of fortune," bona fortunae, a pairing of words denoting nobility of character (bona) and connoting the manifestation of virtue (fortunae). This pairing distinguished between innate character and revealed attributes, and clarified Antonius' expanded range of laudatory topics suited for praise and the speech's occasion. This offered the speaker a balanced approach; as a conservative principle, the phrase "favors of fortune" emphasized noble birth and upbringing. However, Antonius' remarks regarding illustrations of virtue, by stressing the nobility manifested by deeds, allocated space for more "ordinary" heroes. The surprisingly complex phrase assimilated the external signs that customarily revealed virtuous attributes and praiseworthy activities that prove the validity of these signs. The assumption that such signs were embodied in manner and gesture was based in the belief that deeds are external signs of internal virtue. More significantly, Antonius' noteworthy argument gave some evidence of the recognition that Roman epideictic could become a flexible rhetorical form, capable of reorienting the basis of Roman values and supplying a new watermark to preserve the integrity of subsequent rhetorical transactions.

Advances in epideictic scholarship require an understanding of the pivotal role that the non-linguistic features of certain rhetorical events play in producing meaning. Rhetorical scholars studying epideictic texts share a theoretical interest in epideictic's spatial, temporal, and ceremonial roles. In light of this interplay between rhetoric and its broader cultures, the pervasiveness of religious topics as a broad trend is particularly relevant to a study of epideictic literature because laudations of virtue often emphasize piety and divine favor, and an understanding of the religious symbolism underlying epideictic texts can generate readings more closely attuned to the religious activities influencing rhetorical practice.

In the Imperial period ceremonies communicated the terms and conditions of political rule, clarifying the power dynamics linking the religious and military leadership and unifying the specific religious, military, and family connections under a complex system of rule. The spatial, temporal, and ritualistic trends initiated early in the imperial period established a basic set of expectations subsequently inherited by later Roman and Byzantine rulers (Dagron, 2003). Accounts of the Byzantine and later Roman empire's blending of ceremonial, ritual, and governmental functions have demonstrated the ways in which ceremonies preserved power and negotiated power relations. For instance, guidelines for appropriate conduct in ceremonies occurring in the later Roman and Byzantine periods, as reflected in Menander (c. 4th century C.E.) and other later Greek theorists, document the respect given to such events. Menander's text signaled an awareness of epideictic's significance among rhetors on the edge of empire and catalogued the appropriate rhetorical messages to coincide with visits by foreign dignitaries, festivals, and other similar events occasioning the presence of a heisiarch. These earlier Imperial events differ, to some extent, from the three primary ceremonies described in one recent study of the later Latin panegyrics, namely the adventus, the consecratio, and the accensio. However, they operated in a similar manner, communicating and consolidating shifting power dynamics, conveying the new relationships of power and allowing for the symbolic negotiation of political power (MacCormack, 1981).

2. Contemporary Epideictic

Epideictic continues to be a vital rhetorical form, integral to the fabric of contemporary public culture. For instance, a substantial portion of the studies of George W. Bush's presidential rhetoric have been devoted to his use of epideictic, and Medhust (2010) holds that the most noteworthy rhetorical achievements of his presidency relied upon epideictic. Bostdorff's study of Bush's epideictic argued that a covenant renewal characterized Bush's post 9/11 rhetoric. Bush's calls for a covenant renewal, a rededication to the liberal democratic faith, vested him with the symbols and role of authority (Bostdorff, 2003). Due to the fact that display of leadership is generated and reinforced in a time of war, Bush's displays of epideictic leadership characterize his administration's broad rhetorical program. Seizing the opportunities arising from ceremonial occasions ranging from "commencement addresses and Memorial Day messages to speeches that commemorated the 60th anniversary of D-Day and celebrated the 4th of July" (p. 298), President Bush sought to use every available epideictic event as an opportunity to advocate U.S. action in the Iraq war. A continuing recognition of epideictic's centrality to contemporary culture has prompted contemporary rhetorical theorists to understand the modes, uses, and implications of contemporary epideictic practices.

Epideictic scholarship in the last 50 years has drawn extensively from the ideals and theories of antiquity to present a richly nuanced set of concepts regarding epideictic's role in contemporary life. In the United States, the emergence and modification of various epideictic traditions have provoked a desire to gain a deeper understanding of epideictic and appreciation for its relation to political behavior. Even though the foundational principles of epideictic's operation were systematically detailed long ago, the ongoing quest to understand epideictic discourse has added significant texture and depth to this conceptual frame.

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, a conceptual broadening of epideictic's scope moved beyond the more limited vision of the genre as a discourse of praise and blame and delved into the role of the epideictic occasion, audience, and language, as well as the relationship between praise and various social and cognitive processes. Perelman's emphasis on epideictic's educative function is typically listed as the initial expression of this broader conception (Perelman, 1969, pp. 52-53). Oravec (1976) expanded upon the significance of the epideictic audience, drawing from Aristotle's explanation of the observational role played by the epideictic audience to explain the audience's need to judge and evaluate instead of passively observing and perceiving (p. 163). Rosenfield (1980) elaborated the meaning produced by speaker and audience during shared epideictic encounters, demonstrating how epideictic occasions produce moments of truth and awe in which the audience shares essential knowledge about being. Drawing many of these observations together, Condit enunciated an essential triad of epideictic functions: Definition and Understanding; Shaping and Sharing community; and Display and Entertainment (Condit, 1985). Her typology has guided many studies produced over the past two decades, which often confine their analysis to elaborating the way that one or more of those particular functions operate in the rhetoric. Together, these expansions of scope laid the foundation for a flourishing of contemporary epideictic analyses, as noteworthy for their breadth as for their abundance.

Even though epideictic is a process of praise and blame, the scant attention to blame paid by rhetorical theorists beginning with Aristotle continues to this day. Rountree's survey of Aristotle's examples has demonstrated the near absence of examples drawn from psogos, or speeches of blame. Despite the inevitable pairing of praise and blame, the bulk of speeches studied and discussed are examples of praise (Rountree, 2001). More recently, Engels' study of early American culture has demonstrated the important role that invective, a discourse of blame, plays in constituting public culture (Engels, 2009).

Similarly, in Ramsey's study of Ambrose Bierce's satiric response to the 19th century lexicographers emphasized the way Bierce used the process of blame to resist Webster's nationalist project: "This is another illustration of how Bierce uses a rhetoric of psogos to controvert and reply to Webster in lexicographical space, by pointing out that love of a anthropomorphic deity represents little more than narcissism" (Ramsey, 2013, p. 72).

Creative examination of epideictic discourse has enabled critics to discern additional rhetorical features operating in epideictic rhetoric. Studies focusing on epideictic reasoning modes, the relationship between epideictic and time, and epideictic's function including its deliberative potential have been the primary areas of inquiry

A. Epideictic reasoning

Examinations of the arrangement patterns in epideictic discourse can uncover both the strategic choices of an advocate and the modes of reasoning intrinsic to the epideictic process of praise and blame. For instance, Kahl and Leff (2006) studied prudential reasoning in President Bill Clinton's four speeches commemorating the Invasion of Normandy. Instead of operating in the arguments, these reasoning processes are activated by the rhetor's topical choices and emphasis. Clinton's rhetoric broadened the public's understanding of and appreciation for the D-Day mission, enabling a younger generation to show their respect for the generation that fought and lived through the Second World War. A similar type of epideictic reasoning is evident in Lincoln's temperance rhetoric. Here, Lincoln constructed a binary between the old and new temperance movement, enabling him to critique the ideology and approaches of the traditional "Washingtonian" temperance advocates and simultaneously to marshal topoi of restraint that elevated actions and behavior more readily associated with a newer Whiggish vision of temperance. Zaeske (2010) observed a strategy of critique that operated to advocate and condemn specific temperance activities. Departing from many topics associated with the temperance movement, Lincoln praised "the Washingtonians not so much for what they did, but for what they did not do" (p. 408). He omitted perfunctory mention of Washington in the introduction, and refrained from attacks on the alcohol trade, any urging of sobriety, or even discussion of his own temperance. As Zaeske argues, Lincoln's arrangement of praise and blame discounted the traditional Washingtonian approach to temperance and elevated a Whiggish vision of temperance.

In addition to influencing topical choices, epideictic's unique temporal positioning can provoke innovative argumentation strategies. When a celebratory event emphasizes the immediate present it suspends temporality and creates space for potentially dissenting arguments. To defend protesters who were arrested after disrupting the 1991 Denver Columbus Day celebrations, the reasoning advanced in Ward Churchill's legal brief undercut arguments casting genocide as a completed event, an event from the past, not present. Because the question of the court concerned whether the epideictic occasion of Columbus Day was disrupted, Churchill's brief drew from historical examples to create a rupture in the standard narrative regarding Columbus day: "Ward Churchill's rehearsal of history counted because of the epideictic moment and because of his means of retelling the story, a retelling that demanded accountability. Churchill recognized that Columbus Day celebrated an incomplete memory" (Palczewski, 2005, p. 132). Invoking the ever present epideictic moment, Churchill presented the Native American genocide as an ongoing process, not as a completed historical event.

Olson's elaboration of the power epideictic has in assigning praise and blame in a variety of texts is summarized by the concept of an "epideictic dimension," a term she coins to signal the way epideictic situates particular values in a range of discourses. Olson's emphasis is upon epideictic's conservative function. Her concern lies in the ways that the epideictic dimension of a text "coherently, elaborately, and powerfully promotes and justifies values, beliefs, and practices that maintain status quo power relationships, even when those are not its ostensible lessons" (Olson, 2013, p. 461). She points out that we can understand the way praise and blame operates in a variety of texts if we appreciate the notion of the epideictic dimension. These, she explains, are "constituted by textual layers that teach and maintain a community's 'common' beliefs and values to guide members' behavior beyond the immediate situation so that status quo practices and power distributions are justified and continue to operate smoothly" (Olson, 2013, p. 474).

Olson's study of the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast alerts readers to the additions made to the film, the omissions from the classical versions of the story, and the way these modifications appear to children "as an educational initiation into how what their adult caregivers treat as praiseworthy romance operates" (p. 458). This initiation is particularly troubling because the violence in the text's depiction shapes the way young viewers perceive violence. She argues that it shapes community values regarding romantic relationships in a negative way: "violence in Beauty and the Beast codes heroes and villains and creates a hierarchy of social acceptability for violence" (Olson, 2013, p. 459).

B. Functional pairs

Critics attuned to epideictic's instrumental functions have elevated the functional pairs systematically categorized by Condit and have discovered additional functions. Ramsey's discussion of the emergence of dictionaries in the 19th century harmonizes with Condit's designation of education/definition as one of epideictic's primary functions. A lexicographer's tracing of a word's definitional boundaries imposed a more standardized vision of the language, fixing meaning and giving words a more shared signification. Efforts to define and establish a permanent ordering for word meaning in dictionaries were augmented by the practices of professional journalists and writers: "Lexicographers aimed at framing the definitions of words and concepts regarding social institutions through the American apparatus of textual production, from the classroom to the newspaper office" (Ramsey, 2013, p. 66). In other words, the lexicographer's project pursued a fixed national identity: "The epideictic discourse of Webster's lexicon was an overt attempt to bind the American community together under a vast array of fixed lexical definitions" (p. 67).

Atchison analyzes Jefferson Davis's pursuit of two of the functional pairs found in Condit's tripartite scheme: reformulating community and accomplishing definition/understanding. In his resignation announcement, Davis presented messages normally associated with refutation and contestation, justifying the South's secession without simultaneously engaging in a contentious debate. Davis relied upon a general respect for propriety to advocate the South's justifications for Mississippi's secession while framing any refutative response as indecorous (Atchison, 2012, p. 118). This approach framed the occasion as a time suitable for contemplating and understanding the nature of secession not for opposing it. Such emphasis on decorum and the propriety of the occasion inhibited rebuttal because it designated "a peaceful parting as the appropriate response," not rejoinder (p. 118). Atchison demonstrates how strategic invocation of decorum norms can insulate a disputatious advocate from direct critical response.

Michael Hyde's critique of Mitch Albom's Tuesday's with Morrie demonstrates the ways the epideictic process of acknowledgment contributes to social wellbeing. For Hyde, acknowledgment is a collective or public form of recognition, a pragmatic and "moral act" that supplies meaning to life; it facilitates social awareness and understanding to recognize and understand difference. More than an instance of "community sharing" Hyde sees acknowledgement as a necessary component to life that helps people manage the distresses of living and that "makes possible the moral development of recognition by enabling us to remain open to the world of people, places, and things even if, at times, matters become boring or troublesome" (Hyde, 2005a, p. 26).

While a desire to use epideictic moments to transform a community does not necessarily guarantee its transformation, deployment of epideictic topoi that establishes a creative connection to the ceremony's participants can provoke a departure from the norms. Stob argues that William James demonstrates this masterfully in his address celebrating the dedication of the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th unit, one of the first black regiments in the Union Army. In addition to drawing from the expected themes and commonplaces of the genre associated with a commemorative oration (courage, patriotism, heroism, brotherhood, and sacrifice), James reconstituted his audience by challenging them to demonstrate a "lonely courage" to take a more active role in their own community: "Yet he concluded the speech by giving the people of Boston an active role in maintaining their community and society at the turn of the 20th century. James's commemorative confrontation was, in the end, a way of reconstituting and reorienting his audience relative to the civic challenges of their time" (Stob, 2012, p. 258-59). In the last third of the speech, James offered his corrective, an appeal to individualism, virtuous civic engagement: "In the civic space of the Shaw memorial dedication, then, the idea of 'lonely courage' provided James with the perfect segue into the kind of individualist virtues he thought necessary for correcting the bigness of society" (p. 264). As Stob argues, "James directly challenged traditions associated with memorializing speech in a way that challenged his audience: noteworthy about James' oration was the directness, explicitness, and riskiness of his confrontation in a ceremonial occasion" (p. 252).

C. New Aristotelian standards

Distinctly less doctrinaire than readings of Aristotle that followed the Neo-Aristotelian tradition, newer interpretations of Aristotle's Rhetoric have complicated the long accepted distinction between functional oratory (pragmatikon) and the oratory of display (epideiktikon). Such scholarship has increased understanding of epideictic's pragmatic and active qualities. Ned O'Gorman's (2005) discussion of the interaction between the written form and the process of showing gives measure to the force exerted by epideictic's lexical elements. He detailed a matrix of visual signifiers, adjectives, and processes melding the reality of the spectators' conception of the world to the speaker through linguistic constructions. An example of this melding process was observed by Petre (2007), whose study of U.S. political conventions found that "The epideictic function is particularly suited to have invitational rhetorical qualities because of its emphasis on creating community with the audience" (p. 21). She analyzes epideictic's harmonious interaction with invitational rhetoric, a mode of rhetoric that "enabled the sharing of perspectives and of sight" and that "allowed the audience to enter their world and see it as they do" (p. 33).

Arguing that the mental conceptions arising from such visual productions establish the grounds for later deliberation, O'Gorman clarifies the concept of lexis found in Aristotle's Rhetoric and De Anima: "The phantasmatic character of lexis may make rhetorical judgment, too, reliant on images, as images activated through lexis are brought before the mind's eyes of auditors and form the basis for the mental deliberations that underlie rhetorical krisis" (O'Gorman, 2005, p. 26). The epideictic imprint directly influences deliberative themes with its vision of virtue and vice that actively displays "nobility at the level of praxis" (p. 15). For this reason, encomia which encourage the direction of action "provide concrete guidance on how to live in harmony with noble ideals" (p. 15).

Such construction of virtue and encouragement of exemplary civic behavior uniquely helps communities recognize and appreciate the conduct that sustains them. Hauser sees the epideictic speaker playing the essential role of a "teacher of civic virtue" whose discourse celebrates and memorializes "the deeds of exemplars who set the tone for civic community" (Hauser, 1999, p. 14). Recognition and absorption of epideictic's disclosed truths offer a source of collective and often public knowledge (Hyde, 2005a, p. 23). Epideictic topics reveal a topography of being, a conceptual map of the common concerns of human existence. Epideictic's engagement with political action is summed up best in Aristotle's maxim identifying right action as a standard for values and common values as the basis for determining appropriate actions: "if you desire to praise, look what you would suggest; if you desire to suggest, look what you would praise" (Aristotle, Rhetoric, I.ix.37). A similar linkage of values to action applies to individuals; the sense making and awareness arising from epideictic enables and facilitates self-creating. This is why Robert Danish (2008) has defined epideictic as a "history of the present" that catalyzes "the project of self-creation" by gaining respect and understanding for the ways "subjects are constituted in a given historical moment" (p. 293).

Vivian (2012) studies Booker T. Washington's witnessing rhetoric, as a form of memorializing evidence rhetoric that he sees as "generically epideictic in nature" (p. 191). He looks at the topical shifts in Washington's speech prompted by the need to forget; an active form of rhetorical agency which transforms society by forgetting the types of impediments that may block such a transformation: "Expressions of epideictic forgetting advocate radical transformations in the present scope and content of historical memory" (p. 193).

Epideictic's conservative function catalyzes this transformation: the pursuit of epideictic's traditional role, protecting "cultural truisms," permits and occasionally even necessitates constructive interrogations of those truisms. As Lois Agnew (2008) has observed, the power epideictic gains from the interaction between the audience and rhetor produces doxa and holds the possibility for the creation of a new awareness: Epideictic observers participate in the process of knowing (p. 153). Rhetors and audiences willing to come together to extend the boundaries of its form add vitality to epideictic.

D. Epideictic occasions

Since epideictic is closely linked to the occasions often invoked and emphasized during its presentation, scholars have undertaken inquiry into these phenomenological connections. In contrast to the approach taken by Condit and others to categorize a typology of epideictic purposes, topics, and themes, this stream of scholarship prioritizes the immediate temporal circumstances of epideictic and the presence invoked in these circumstances.

Rollins (2005) argues epideictic meaning is not supplied through language alone, but depends upon the occasion marked by the language (p. 16). He discusses Derrida's explorations of temporal displacement in his funeral orations to consider some of the unique features of the epideictic occasion. Derrida's funeral oratory treats death as a signifier of radical otherness. Its insistent use of the future anterior tense, a conditional phrasing that denies presence a static position draws attention to the impossibility of speech reaching this radical other. In this tense, Derrida's declarations of grief for those who "will have been his friend ..." (p. 18) interrogate the expression of loss as much as the nature of the loss itself. From the moment of the epideictic occasion, Derrida's relationships with the departed are defined negatively. The present is always a signifier of a temporal relationship with another time. The present then enables a temporal orientation: "In other words, though presence seems to be a static entity, Derrida's funeral orations show that epideictic rhetoric's presence is always in response" (p. 18).

But the epideictic response provokes another realization--that the present is removed from other temporalities. This removal is absolute and, in the case of mourning the dead, puts Derrida at a loss to explain the connections between his act of speaking and the absolute specter of death. Taking place in the immediate flux of time, epideictic moments enable "the rendering apparent of actions and deeds" (p. 10) and in Derrida's case, reveal his own efforts to reconcile a philosophical dilemma: To remain silent in the face of death is just as troubling as to assume that the dead somehow remain. This dilemma, repeatedly introduced throughout Derrida's various funeral orations, is presented as a rhetorical figure, aporia. Derrida's consistent use of aporia initiate his epideictic reflections on the meaning of human experience.

E. Temporal explorations

Epideictic rhetoric carves out space for time within time and creates its own present anteriorities. Its temporal dynamism enables communities to anchor moral thought in the ever shifting present. The moral truths enunciated in epideictic texts disclose immediate needs, rendering it the most radically present form of discourse. Hyde affirms that the unfolding of "our temporal existence defines the most primordial form of epideictic speech and 'public address'" (Hyde 2005b, p. 7). With an awareness that the future is always not yet present, epideictic responds to the demands that such uncertainty places upon one's conscience. This uncertainty provokes what Hyde refers to as "the call of conscience," a collective recognition of shared social responsibilities understood as a coming "to terms with the related issues of right and wrong, the good and the bad, the just and the unjust, the truth and the untruth" (p. 7). Judgment overcomes the paralysis of uncertainty and inaction: "With the call of conscience comes a call for moral judgment and decisive action, a call that emanates from out of the ecstatic temporality of our existence--the way in which human being is always in the dynamic state of 'standing outside and beyond itself'" (p. 7). Facing the tremendous difficulty, or even impossibility, of articulating the horrors of the attacks on September 11, the ceremonial discourse following these events enabled communities to cope with their troubles, failings, and peculiar predicaments. That is why Hyde argues, "the events of 9/11 defined a monumental occasion for would-be rhetorical heroes to display their talents as they sought to disclose the truth, make sense of the horror and chaos at hand, and thereby help in the treatment and guidance of an anxious and terrified American public" (p. 4).

Epideictic's temporal orientation enables speakers and audiences to compare different states of being. In addition to Derrida's comparison between the "is" and the "will have been" or the Aristotelian understanding of the "is" as an "ought to," epideictic discourse can juxtapose the "is" and the "really is." Just as Ward Churchill's legal brief created a rupture that challenged a static conception of Columbus Day as a celebration of the past, the epideictic showing of what "really is" is a process of revelation. Danisch (2006) attributes this process of revelation to "[(1)] aesthetic practices of display that uncover what lies hidden, (2) a focus on outlining, on describing, and making present the common values of audiences, and (3) mechanisms for generating cohesion in a community" (p. 293), thus associating this revelatory form of epideictic practice with Foucault's genealogical constructions, which reveal the hidden values and assumptions that make "various communities cohere" (p. 293).

Uncovering or revealing the various matrices through which power is asserted, ultimately enhances "the audience's sense of agency" (p. 300). Closely related to the deliberative process, this revelatory discourse offers a new ways to conceptualize the half-truths of epideictic as "as-if" statements: "Deliberative decisions about the future of the self can be made only after an epideictic rhetoric demonstrates the quality of the present moment within which the self is embedded" (p. 293). Foucault's discourse is primarily focused on the domain of potentiality, the subjunctive domain of possibility and compulsion to being: "It is too easy to read Foucault in the mode of 'is' rather than the mode of 'as if'--the force of his project may come from the 'is' but it is always moving toward the 'as if.' Foucault's disclosure of the subjunctive world, the world of possibility supplies a vision for change or, at least, resistance" (p. 298).

F. Epideictic deliberation

The broadening range of purposes associated with epideictic rhetoric has provoked considerable reconsideration of epideictic's deliberative capacities. At times, epideictic can occasion deliberative contestation. For instance, in the eulogies given at the Worcester Firefighters Memorial Service, Smith and Trimbur (2003) discerned a whole range of competing deliberative messages. Overall, the different social, political, economic, and geographic standpoints represented by the various eulogists in the Worchester eulogies evoked deliberative themes relevant to their position. When viewed together, the unresolved contradictions of various deliberative disputes emerge "regarding union and state, citizens in need of protection and those whose job is to protect, industrial building sites and postindustrial economic conditions, technical skill and the expectation of sacrifice" (p. 22).

Even when not directly guiding deliberative arguments, epideictic discourse can reinforce deliberative themes and messages. This is evident in Harpine's (2010) analysis of the strategy that leaders of different African American organizations relied upon to influence William McKinley's prospective policies. Bishop W. W. Arnett, representing the African Methodist Episcopal Church's delegation to McKinley, praised a shared Republican lineage and respect for justice (p. 49). Such praise for justice as a fundamental Republican value subtly encouraged McKinley to maintain consistency with this value as the president; Bishop Arnett affirmed racial justice as both a bedrock Republican principle and as a guide to political action.

Yang's study of the toasts Nixon offered throughout his historic trip to China has demonstrated the more direct influence epideictic can have upon deliberative goals. Even though the diplomatic exchanges between the two geopolitical rivals took place within an epideictic framework, Nixon's toasts established both the "tone" and "the deliberative issues ... addressed in the exchange" (Yang 2011, p. 5). Nixon's care with crafting toasts appropriately suited for the ceremonial exchanges between the U.S. and Chinese delegations required a delicate balancing of national and international interests; his messages reconciled the need to consistently affirm both stated declarations of U.S. policy and expressions of goodwill by his Chinese hosts, despite their seeming incompatibility. Aware that hardliners in the United States and China both would benefit most from an unsuccessful mission, Nixon's toasts maneuvered around a tangled web of domestic and foreign interests. Nixon relied upon the epideictic norms of the toast to advance the diplomatic aims of the U.S. and to negotiate the competing demands presented both by his domestic rivals (hardliners), and by the immediate political dynamics in China. Nixon's toasts continually emphasized peace, a common goal shared by the Chinese and American people that could enable both nations and peoples to overcome their respective differences. Still favorably viewed by the Chinese, the epideictic themes Nixon advanced continue to endure and American presidents still consult his discourse to understand the underlying rationale of the United States' China policy (p. 33).

At times, epideictic values are so strongly linked to functional deeds that advocating values becomes tantamount to advocating action. On such occasions epideictic and deliberative processes become indistinguishable. Dale Sullivan outlines the specific belief network Dietrich Bonhoeffer appealed to in a letter warranting a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. To overcome the restraint imposed by Christian theology's normative prohibition against killing, Bonhoeffer had to build conviction that assassinating Hitler was just. Sullivan identifies transgression, conviction, and authorization as the three foundational stages in establishing this competing moral framework:

(1) There must be sufficient reason to go beyond, or to transgress, one's limited sphere of responsibility and to interfere in the sphere of others, even during a time when such action is not yet recognized by others as necessary. (2) There must be sufficient intensity of belief to motivate action. (3) There must be relative certainty that one is not acting out of one's own enthusiasm but rather that one is truly authorized to take action. (Sullivan, 2003, p. 40)

As scholarship has demonstrated how epideictic can occasionally alter the conduct of deliberative discourse and potentially even overwhelm it, the potential consequences of this process has generated concern. Bostdorff (2011) has suggested that epideictic exists in mutual exclusion with deliberation. When martialed in a time of war to overwhelm, mute, and replace rational deliberative modes, there arises "the danger that such epideictic may pose to our polity"(p. 298).

Bradford Vivian's (2006) critique of presentations of sacred texts of the United States in ritualized form underscores a more poignant critique of contemporary epideictic. Noting that the epideictic discourse coinciding with the first anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks largely consisted of the reading of canonical texts from the American rhetorical tradition, including the Gettysburg address, the preamble and introduction to the Declaration of Independence, and the closing passages in FDR's Four Freedoms speech, Vivian calls attention to the way this "celebration of presumably fundamental political principles in an ostensibly nonpolitical idiom [was] highly conducive to corporate media dissemination" (p. 4). Vivian explains how this type of discourse naturalizes neoliberal governing institutions: "Neoliberal epideictic invests an ironically apolitical vocabulary of democratic excellence with the authority of tradition, prosperity, and even sacred prophesy" (p. 4). Epideictic rhetoric is so strongly tied to its institutions of praise that Vivian sees their primary purpose as performances that preserve institutional order: "Even today, ritual performances of such epideictic forms are intended to symbolically preserve cultural tradition, collective memory, and political order--not to stand apart from or transcend them" (p. 5). Vivian's cautionary treatment of neoliberal epideictic stems from its erasure of political difference and distinction. The replication of the nation's sacred texts in a contemporary setting becomes little more than a public relations event that renders the discourse a platitudinous assertion of national power. Neoliberal epideictic naturalizes institutional power; it "praises as a public virtue the nominally apolitical decision to refrain from questioning inherited institutional wisdom. It solicits the polity's faith in the continuity of its enabling political process without articulating conditions for their revitalization in light of immediate sociopolitical conflicts" (p. 19). Perhaps the most insidious threat posed by neoliberal epideictic is the way it "control[s] political speech by appearing not to do so" (p. 20). Neoliberal epideictic inhibits deliberation regarding the efficacy of our public vocabulary and discourages a progressive production and addition to this vocabulary.

3. Expansions in Scope and Method of Study

The theoretical broadening of epideicic rhetoric has emerged from a scholarly dialogue regarding epideictic's argumentative features, relationship to deliberative rhetoric, and its temporal conditions. This broadening has motivated educational theorists, ethicists, and scholars in other fields to pursue epideictic scholarship. Rhetorical studies of comedy, ritual, advertising, bumper stickers, and music have revealed diverse manifestations of epideictic in contemporary public culture.

A. Fields of epideictic study

Scholars in a few cognate disciplines have taken up epideictic inquiry. In applied linguistics, scholars have demonstrated how the tracing of epideictic themes offers a heuristic aid to discovering emergent genres of political discourse. Because epideictic occasions function as discursive events, scholars using corpus-based content analysis can establish the linguistic fields surrounding these events. McKenna and Waddell's (2007) use of lexical analysis to catalog the epideictic themes within a sample of official statements following the July 2005 London bombing tracked the way discourse shaped emergent genres. This approach enabled them to locate the "particular characteristics of the mediated messages of world leaders, which condemned the action while calling for a shared resolve to maintain civic values" (p. 396).

Epideictic analysis of advertising themes demonstrated how praise for accepted cultural values can subtly endorse products. Blakely (2011) identifies the ways that epideictic celebrations of freedom thematically guide ads promoting technological or pharmaceutical goods. Themes promoting "enjoyment of Life with no Limits," "Happy Carefree, a type of Freedom," and "efficiency, Connectedness, Control and Speed" (p. 695) offered advertisers a way to overcome or escape the immediate advertising situation. Similar to Bostdorff and other's conclusions regarding deliberation, Blakely argues that some "examples of epideictic rhetoric ... encourage us to forget we are looking at advertising by presenting messages that accord with commonly accepted cultural values" (p. 685). Epideictic themes essentially masked the fact that advertisements were encouraging the sale of a product by promoting instead the type of lifestyle that accompanied the use of the product.

Epideictic facilitates community building, promoting an acceptance and even appreciation for pluralistic values and celebrating the difference that grounds community. Danisch (2008) stresses the need to appreciate contemporary expressions of epideictic as they emerge from the cultural spaces in which art is used for the display of values, the development of community identity, and education. To this end, he advocates Alain Locke's vision of pluralistic epideictic, a celebration of diversity in values and commitments as a basis for the "productive dialogue" that contributes to the "health and maintenance of American democracy" (p. 315). Art, language, and other cultural practices can advance a cohesive pluralistic vision of society because they can display competing values, forge identities for larger communities, and mediate their different value systems.

Education theorist Jim Garrison (2003) advocates a similar integration of poetry and art into educational practice as a means to surpass the rigid categories of the present and "to explore tangible worlds of possibility, thought, feeling, action, and purpose beyond the customary epideictic rhetoric of the classroom, school, and community" (p. 235) Accessing the emancipatory potential of what Garrison refers to as a reflective epideictic depends upon "going beyond not only customary morality but customary ideas of scientific inquiry as well" (p. 232). He contrasts the stifling effects of customary epideictic discourse with the emancipatory potential of a revolutionary epideictic. Reflective epideictic is an intelligent and moral discourse emerging from the particular values of individual celebrants and arising from the open questioning and revising of moral determinations. This vision offers an alternative to epideictic which rigidly imposes moral themes upon its audience and subjects them to the impositions of a prefabricated cultural script, a highly limiting narrative of action. Institutional and pedagogical structures that externally designate the good or offer a static vision of human potential are vestiges of this destructive epideictic practice. Instead of the external imposition of moral valuation, Garrison advocates a pedagogy of prophetic wisdom, an epideictic he refers to as "intelligent cognitive criticism" (p. 240).

Focusing on the ritualistic uses and effects of reported speech during the powwow, Roberts (2004) points out that reported speech enables the speaker to build authority and also to transform "objects, words, or ideas from the quotidian world into the ritual one" (p. 274). She refers to this value creation process as revalorization. Reported speech is a reprocess in which the epideictic speaker repeats or replicates the statements of others, adding symbolic value to specific behaviors, values, and ideals. She argues that this rhetorical process enables the "speaker not merely to animate the authority and value of a society, but to construct and manipulate them" (p. 266). Reported speech operates in the limnal/transformative stage of the ritual process--it is here that the original words are transformed to give the community value. Reported speech in the powwow transforms actions into profound gestures, attaching equally profound weight to every gesture and enabling the ceremony to be seen as valuable to all (p. 281).

B. Objects of epideictic study

In addition to extending its theoretical components of epideictic speech into other scholarly fields, scholars have identified a host of novel textual examples of epideictic. Graff's (2001) observation of the unique association epideictic had with the written word in antiquity has demonstrated that epideictic was never confined to discrete ceremonial occasions, but can serve as a means of expression (pp. 24-25). Casper (2007) has detected an epideictic focus in the Nobel lectures of scientists. He points out that there were stylistic differences in describing the knowledge produced as these scientists had to mediate the more forensic writing style of the report with the epideictic themes of the report. Studying stand-up comedy, Morris (2011) observed how the topical choices of praise and blame enable native American comedians to alter dominant norms, values and beliefs to invert the conceptions of native Americans and Euro-Americans: "Implicit in this resistance and criticism is praise for the living realities experienced by indigenous peoples" (p. 38).

Demonstrating the potential application of epideictic criticism to political stickers, Vigso (2010) has examined the use of epideictic themes in the extremist stickers of the right and left to facilitate a "continuous building of brand image" (p. 43). Vigso concludes that epideictic descriptions operate to "to encourage the activist engagement necessary to become visible in public space through the use of stickers" (p. 45). Harpine (2004) identifies songs as noteworthy places where epideictic themes are manifested and in studying the songs of the 1876 presidential campaign he points out that songs are a unique means to present themes of blame: "In a similar way, song may offer a socially acceptable way to deliver the rhetoric of blame" (p. 77).

4. Conclusion

Epideictic research is a dynamic field of scholarship that continues to draw insight from contemporary practice and classical theory. This literature review has sketched out the primary streams of inquiry that epideictic scholarship will follow. Briefly summarized, these topics of inquiry include a range of areas. First, it continues to elaborate epideictic's conservative dimensions as a power and culture-preserving discourse as well as a progressive art capable of reconstituting communities. Second, epideictic relies upon its own unique form of reasons and arrangement of arguments. Third, the trends of epideictic scholarship reveal a continuing broadening of focus elaborating epideictic's function. Fourth, the connection between epideictic and deliberative discourse has transformed and scholarly understanding has elaborated the deliberative reliance upon epideictic forms of judgment. Fifth, epideictic's connection to time and its unique temporal dimensions in relationship to the past, present, and future have reinforced Aristotle's observation that marks this discourse as a multi-temporal one. Finally epideictic inquiry has fostered insight into other disciplines and offers a useful approach to understand how praise and blame operate in a diverse assortment of practices and contexts.


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Ilon Lauer
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Author:Lauer, Ilon
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Article Type:Essay
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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