Topic is

  • what a message is about, the subject matter of a text
  • the scholarly conversations and the cultural and social conversations around texts and topics
  • the content of dictionaries and encyclopedias and other publications.

Synonyms: message, point, thesis, concept, main idea, academic field of study

[Read: Substantive Prose]

Academic fields, academic disciplines, and scholarly conversations are organized around Topics.

Our thoughts about topics are grounded in anecdotal experience, textual research, and empirical research.

Topics have histories, genealogies, intellectual traditions. Discourse communities/Communities of Practitioners have developed intellectual traditions and research methodologies for discussing topics or conducting research on topics

Different readers have different exposures to past scholarly conversations on a topic. And the rhetorical stances of readers and rhetors impinge on their openness to a topic, their willingness to view it critically and unemotionally.

Our rhetorical stances as rhetors–our experiences with families, schools, religions, cultures, ethnicities, gender–shape how we define, talk about, and research topics.

Encyclopedias are collections of brief essays on topics.

Topics are searchable through key words.