Presenting ASU's ethos: Old Main as a seat of argument

Document
Description

Scholarship on the rhetoric of place and space provides ample precedent for the study of structures as rhetorical texts; real and imagined places which convey meaning or memory, particularly monuments,

Scholarship on the rhetoric of place and space provides ample precedent for the study of structures as rhetorical texts; real and imagined places which convey meaning or memory, particularly monuments, memorials, and museums have been extensively studied, but loci of identity and history in institutions of higher education are under- examined. The following analysis of Arizona State University's Old Main building seeks to fill a gap in the study of place and space. As an entity which produces its own powerful discourses, Arizona State University expresses its historicity and institutional goals through varied and numerous media, but Old Main is one of the most critical, for the structure acts as an ethical proof in ASU's argument for its character, endurance, and worth. This examination addresses how ASU's ethos is articulated through the experiences of Old Main's past and current users, the instructional historical texts and artifacts displayed in the structure, the way that the building is mediated by ASU discourses, and the agency of the edifice itself. This work endeavors to answer Henri Lefebvre's call to improve widespread understanding of spaces as texts and their dialogue with users, and builds on the work of Carol Blair, Richard P. Dober, Diane Favro, and Bruno Latour, as well as that of Henri Lefebvre. To provide full context, this analysis integrates scholarship from the disciplines of campus planning, architecture, classical rhetoric, and the rhetoric of place and space.