On Critical-Rhetorical Pedagogy: Dialoging with Schindler's List

Brian L. Ott, Carl R. Burgchardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The two prevailing critical paradigms in rhetorical and media studies can be characterized as artistic and ideological. Despite their evident differences, both of these analytical modes impose a final signified on the text. That is to say, each approach insists its critical interpretation is authoritative. Consequently, neither mode is particularly well suited to the broad aims of critical pedagogy, which values the dynamic and always-unfinished interplay among text, citizen-student, and other. Drawing upon Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of dialogism, this essay offers an alternative critical paradigm that values the lived experiences of students and promotes agentive citizenship. This paradigm, which we have dubbed critical-rhetorical pedagogy (CRP), conceptualizes criticism dialogically and situates it in a much larger network of pedagogical and political discourses. To illustrate the utility of CRP, this essay provisionally sketches how it might be practiced to critically engage Stephen Spielberg's 1993 film Schindler's List.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-33
Number of pages20
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Bakhtin
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Dialogism
  • Ideological Criticism
  • Schindler's List


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