Rhetoric CFPs & TOCs

Rhetoric CFPs & TOCs
Photo: Kristoffer Trolle (creative commons)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Kids today don't know the intimacy of the phone as I knew it.

When I was sixteen, I would curl up in the dark, on the floor, to talk to Rebecca Tamel on the phone for what felt like forever. At any moment, my mom, Eileen Beard, might pick up the other phone in the house and ask me to cut it short, for bedtime or because she needed to use the landline (which was the only line).
To use the phone was to withdraw from space, from the world. People who could hold the phone between their shoulder and their ear while they cooked or worked were the exception. the phone was meant to be held to the ear.
After a week or so in isolation with teenagers, it seems, they don't know how to use a phone that isn't on speaker, as loud as a TV in the room. The sound doesn't bother me -- very little bothers me -- but the idea that they have traded volume for intimacy in communication does. There were moments, on the phone, when I could whisper and it could mean something. Whispering while on speaker could not mean the same thing.
I think kids today trade whispers for two ranges: loud, and louder. I think it costs them something.

All my Hufflepuff jokes will be useless.

The new, illustrated editions of Harry Potter re-enchant the books for me. Have you seen or read them?
That said: This semester, I had a high school student in my class who had neither read nor watch Harry Potter. I am frustrated when every writing major wants to be JK Rowling, but I fear that someday, they will not have read her, either.
All my Hufflepuff jokes will be useless.
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Why did the Hufflepuff return his House tie?
It was too tight.
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Did you hear about the Hufflepuff who gave his Kneazle a bath?
He is still trying to get the fur off his tongue.
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A blind wizard walks into a pub. He says to the barkeep, "Want to hear a Hufflepuff joke?" The pub goes completely silent. The barkeep says, "Sir, I am a Hufflepuff. I'm used to handling a rough crowd alone. I have my wand drawn. The wizard to your left is an auror with his wand drawn. He too is a Hufflepuff. The witch on your right has her wand drawn. She is a dueling champion and also a Hufflepuff. Are you absolutely certain you want to tell that Hufflepuff joke?"
The blind wizard says, "Gods no! Not if I'm going to have to explain it three times!"

It’s 5:30. I’ve been awake for two hours.

Danse Russe comes to mind. Who can say I am not the happy genius of this household I am visiting?
My classes go well. One of my students called my optional Google Hangout the best one she’s had all week. The only goals in my Google Hangouts are to say: it’s going to be all right. You got this, where “this” is a pronoun for whatever is challenging you.
I picked up four deluxe illustrated Harry Potter books from Barnes and Noble yesterday. There are a lot of staff at BN who know my name and I don’t know theirs. I regret that. I miss long hours drinking lattes after dark among the books.
Today I will explore the Duluth Public Library offerings, hoping to entice the tweens to do some ancestry research, maybe. 
In the end, I remember something a friend said once: that My gift is that I can find joy in the smallest things. I’m thinking about the books piled in my car, in case I cannot get home, and the blank journals to fill, and the Alex Raymond page (from a Sunday Flash Gordon strip) that I am itching to hang on my office door, next to the Tagalog comic pages and Simpsons poster and Tardis print I got at Convergence. When will I see my office door again?

Just finished "Ishi Means Man."

Just finished "Ishi Means Man." The learning curve for me was steep -- extensive discussions of the colonization of Mexico as well as American history.
Written in 1976, the book makes leaps to help readers understand the way we treated indigenous people by analogy to the ways we were treating the Vietnamese and the ways we treat African-Americans. We assert that they are subhuman, we become frustrated when they will not assent to those assertions, and then we enact violence.
I don't think a white, male, trappist monk could write such a book today; the exhortations to let the Other speak for themselves would be great.
But it's 1976. Merton has a global readership of largely white, Catholic or sometimes Buddhist readers who largely don't care about indigenous issues (whose only positive knowledge of indigenous cultures were Jay Silverheels and Iron Eyes Cody) but who would read translated fragments of ancient church texts if Merton told them to, threaded into his essays.
So what do I do with this kind of book?
...
I will be returning to the notion of visions in the book, to compare to the visions Merton discusses in Lutgarde. But that is reading to learn about Merton, which may be all I can do, from fifty years vantage.

I'm reading Thomas Merton's "Ishi Means Man."

I'm reading Thomas Merton's "Ishi Means Man."
It's jarring to read a book which is "discovering" indigenous culture and ways of knowing almost entirely through Western monographs. Merton does cite then-contemporary 1970s indigenous activists, but his histories are almost all white settler histories. Merton is smart enough to read these histories against the grain, as evidence of all that is wrong with colonial relationships to indigenous people.
But in the end, I can't read this to learn about anything other than Merton. Merton's statements about fasting for vision in indigenous peoples can't be trusted as statements about indigenous peoples, but they can be read as a piece of the complicated puzzle that is Merton's Christian mysticism.
I'm still reading, still constructing that puzzle.
Meanwhile, reading about Ishi, the figure who gives the book its title, is painful. From Wikipedia:
"Ishi, which means "man" in the Yana language, is an adopted name. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber gave him this name because in the Yahi culture, tradition demanded that he not speak his own name until formally introduced by another Yahi.[1] When asked his name, he said: "I have none, because there were no people to name me," meaning that there was no other Yahi to speak his name on his behalf."
Honestly, it's 8:30am, and I'm waking with a broken heart, in reading that.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Obituary for Douglas Walton, Distinguished Research Fellow



With deep sadness, the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric (CRRAR) mourns the death this week of Distinguished Research fellow, Dr. Douglas N. Walton. After a long career at the University of Winnipeg, Dr. Walton joined the University of Windsor as Assumption Chair in Argumentation in 2008. He was a prolific scholar, publishing over a hundred papers and several books in his time at Windsor alone. He led the field on more fronts than can be enumerated here, establishing the groundwork on which several generations of scholars have continued to build and setting the research agendas for generations of scholars to come. In spite of his international reputation, he is remembered as a man of deep humility, generous with his time and expertise and eager to mentor young minds. Those who knew him well can today count themselves fortunate and will continue to be inspired by the tremendous legacy he leaves behind.

Douglas Walton (Ph.D. University of Toronto, 1972) is the Distinguished Research Fellow of CRRAR (Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric) at the University of Windsor.
From 2008-2013 he held the Assumption Chair of Argumentation Studies at UWindsor. He has been Visiting Professor at Northwestern University, University of Arizona, and University of Lugano (Switzerland).
He is co-editor of the Critical Argumentation textbook series for Cambridge University Press. In 2011 he was Fernand Braudel Research Fellow of the European University Institute in Florence, where he collaborated on research in legal argumentation with Prof. Giovanni Sartor of the EUI and the Faculty of Law at the University of Bologna.
In 2010 he was appointed to the Editorial Board of the journal Artificial Intelligence and Law. In 2009 he was given the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Dean’s Special Recognition Award of the University of Windsor in recognition of excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity.
In the area of argumentation studies, he has published 50 books, as well as 350+ refereed papers, and has had 19,124 citations as of Sept. 14, 2017 (Google Scholar). He has given lectures and workshop contributions in many countries.

Obituary for Dr. James W. Chesebro

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It is with tremendous sadness that I report the passing of Dr. James W. Chesebro (Ph.D., University of Minnesota), Past President of the National Communication Association (NCA). He is survived by his loving husband, Donald G. Bonsall, with whom he had shared his life since 1981.
With Jim’s passing, the discipline of communication has lost one of its giants. He dedicated himself to the promotion and development of the discipline through his scholarship, through his extraordinary record of service, and through the countless number of students and colleagues who continue to be influenced by his exceptional teaching and guidance.
Among numerous additional awards for scholarship, service, and teaching, Jim was the recipient of the National Communication Association Golden Anniversary Monograph Award, the Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award, the Robert J. Kibler Memorial Award, the Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education, the Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award, the Everett Lee Hunt Award, the Eastern Communication Association Distinguished Research Fellows Award, the Eastern Communication Association Distinguished Teaching Fellows Award, the Kenneth Burke Society Distinguished Service Award, the Kenneth Burke Society Lifetime Achievement Award, the Speech Communication Association of Puerto Rico Distinguished Service Award, and the Speech Communication Association of Puerto Rico Outstanding Career in Research Award.
The James W. Chesebro Award for Scholarly Distinction in Sexuality Research is presented in his honor by the Central States Communication Association to scholars who have made significant contributions to the study of gender, sexuality, and sexual identity.
With particular focus given to dramatism and to the study of media as symbolic and cognitive systems, Jim’s scholarship spanned the discipline of communication, resulting in significant contributions to multiple areas of study and sometimes actually forging new areas of study. His numerous books include Gayspeak (1981), Computer-Mediated Communication (1989), Methods of Rhetorical Criticism (1990), Extensions of the Burkeian System (1993), Analyzing Media (1996), Communicating Power and Gender (2011), Internet Communication (2014), and Introduction to Communication Criticism (2017), in addition to other titles. He published well over 100 journal articles and book chapters. And, he took part in over 350 convention panels, including the presentation of nearly 200 convention papers. His sustained and extensive level of scholarship places him as one of the most active scholars in the history of the discipline.
The revolutionary and visionary spirit of his scholarship was also evident in his prolific service and leadership. Dedicated to enhancing the discipline of communication and expanding the scope of its influence, he held over 200 service roles throughout his career. He served as President of the National Communication Association in 1996 and served on the Executive Committee and Legislative Assembly over a sixteen-year period of time. He chaired the Publications Council from 1986 through 1988 and was Director of Education Services for NCA from 1989 through 1992. He had earlier served as President of the Eastern Communication Association and had co-founded the Speech Communication Association of Puerto Rico. He also served as editor of Communication Quarterly, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and Review of Communication at various points throughout his career.
Among his countless service contributions, Jim’s perhaps most significant and personally important were changing the name of the national association from the Speech Communication Association to the National Communication Association and his commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion.
Maintaining that the association’s name should encompass the intellectual diversity of its members and properly promote public understanding of the association, Jim wrote a President’s column in the May 1996 issue of Spectra entitled “SCA Should Change its Name—But to What?” In what he later admitted was perhaps not the most subtle move, the page facing his column included a piece reporting focus group and survey results indicating that 78% of members favored a name change, 14% opposed a name change, and 8% percent were undecided. His November 1996 Spectra column argued for the change to the National Communication Association.
Jim moved the discipline on more than one occasion, and his commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion was central to his vision for the discipline. He was driven to make the discipline one that was open to all voices. At all levels and in all his capacities, he worked tirelessly to make his vision of the discipline a reality. He frequently encountered opposition, but a true leader, he never gave up and never compromised fighting for what was right.
Isolating even a few instances or initiatives would not do justice to all that Jim achieved, but his words might convey the core of his convictions. In his 1996 Presidential Address, employing the power and essence of the NCA caucuses as his point of departure, he noted how multiculturalism affects NCA and all of its members. He focused specifically on
"how multiculturalism affects each of us as individual scholars within the discipline of communication, how multiculturalism affects our sense of organization and the sense of unity and division that goes with such organizational schemes, how multiculturalism affects the policies and actions of NCA, and finally how multiculturalism affects the definition of NCA as a moral, ethical, and political professional education association"
He ended by his address by stating:
"In all, our dialogue needs to encourage and to respect the voices of all NCA members, not in spite of their cultural orientation, but because of their cultural identities. The mix of diverse cultures in NCA, the respect NCA members show for these diverse cultures, and the rich scholarship and research that NCA sponsors in understanding these culture-based communication systems, all can constitute the foundation for the unity that makes NCA a community of scholars."
Reflecting on his time as President in a 2006 piece published in the Review of Communication, he later noted:
"I continue to believe—more strongly than ever—that the strength, creativity, and development of the National Communication Association will, must, and should be shaped by its commitment to multiculturalism and diversity in its governing philosophies, theories, methods, applications, and performances. … In my view, multiculturalism and diversity are no longer options when we deal with communication; multiculturalism and diversity are now essential perspectives if we are to account for what happens during virtually all communicative processes and outcomes."
In so many ways, Jim was a trailblazer and a giant on whose shoulders we stand as we strive to continue and expand upon his vision for the discipline.
For all that Jim gave to the discipline through his scholarship and service, his work as an educator was especially meaningful. First and foremost, he was a teacher. He was a teacher whose influence in the lives and careers of his students is immeasurable and continues to this day.
Jim impacted countless students through his teaching and guidance. Having taught courses at a number of institutions, including Ball State University, Indiana State University, North Dakota State University, George Mason University, Queens College of the City University of New York, University of Puerto Rico, Temple University, University of Minnesota, and Concordia College, he taught a total of 61 different courses, including 20 graduate courses and 41 undergraduate courses. Of these courses, he taught approximately 200 different sections. Perhaps most remarkable, as with his scholarship, these courses spanned the entire discipline of communication.
Just prior to his retirement from the classroom, his most recent courses had been “Foundations of Digital Storytelling” and “Digital Message Analysis and Design.” He was once again forging a new path for the discipline of communication like he had done so often in the past. At a time when most people were just beginning to recognize the term, Jim had already established one of the nation’s first master’s programs in Digital Storytelling.
Jim’s dedication to teaching and academic success and the excitement with which he approached learning were inspirational to each student who entered his classroom. He demonstrated genuine respect for all of his students and viewed them as scholars and colleagues. He wanted his students to not only develop an understanding of communication but also contribute to its advancement through their own scholarship, service, and teaching. Through his own example, he taught them how to be scholars, and above all else, being a scholar meant working to make the discipline better.
Words cannot adequately convey the importance and scope of Jim’s influence on the discipline of communication and in the lives of so many people both directly and indirectly. Quite simply, his groundbreaking scholarship, visionary leadership, and passion for teaching and learning did make the discipline better. Ultimately, James W. Chesebro made the world better.
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