2011 Conference: Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, and Social Change

Fast Facts

Conference Dates: May 26-29, 2011
Proposal Deadline: January 20, 2011
Registration Starts: February 11, 2011
Conference Website: http://kbjournal.org/2011conference
Full Conference Program
Schedule at a Glance
Keynote Speakers
Travel and Accommodations (book now!)
Conference Chair: David Blakesley (dblakes@clemson.edu)

The Eighth Triennial Conference of the Kenneth Burke Society welcomes proposals that focus on any Burkean subject. Especially welcome are proposals that address the conference theme, “Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, and Social Change.” The conference will be hosted by Clemson University at its Madren Conference Center in Clemson, South Carolina, from May 26 to May 29, 2011. In addition to lively seminars, presentations, performances, and unending conversation in the parlor, KBS 2011 will also feature keynote speakers Jack Selzer and Scott McLemee.

KBS 2011 Logo

Click on the image to see the full-size Tagxedo, which uses the terms from Burke's passage about the "unending conversation of history" in The Philosophy of Literary Form for its inspiration (see p. 110-11).

The Conference Theme

Surveying the global scene in 1933, Burke wrote in his notes for what would become Permanence and Change, “We are trying to solve cultural problems with the most explosive words in our vocabulary, and we need not be surprised that there are continually occurring frightful accidents which rip out half a continent and maim the lives and bodies of millions.” The step away from these explosive words is, Burke claimed, “the step which [humankind] has never been able to take. Heroism; Jungle authority; acquisition; pugnacity; inspiration; ‘superiority’ . . . this is still at the bottom of our thinking, though [the] situation no longer ‘requires’ it. . . . This is the crux—can we make this change, from which all else would radiate?” In our own historical moment, which so eerily echoes the cultural, political, and technological upheavals of the first half of the twentieth century, Burke’s question remains urgent—and unanswered. Can we make this change?

This theme calls on conference participants to explore the relevance of Burke’s thought and practice for defining, analyzing, or producing the kinds of change that would enable us to transcend or disarm our “explosive words.”

  • What cultural problems need to be solved?
  • What rhetorical practices cause, cloud, or intensify those problems?
  • Where, when, and how does change occur?
  • What genres of persuasion and identification encourage or enable change?
  • What role do we as teachers, artists, scholars, critics, citizens play in creating change?

Featuring diverse opportunities for engagement with Burke’s enduring relevance, the Eighth Triennial Conference will continue the interdisciplinary tradition of past events, with participation by students and scholars from communication, rhetoric, composition, literary theory and criticism, cultural studies, sociology, technical communication, art, economics, political science, and other disciplines. Thus, in addition to proposals addressing the conference theme, we welcome those that address topics of continuing relevance in Burke studies:

  • Burke and his circles
  • Archival research in the Burkean corpus
  • The meaning and relevance of particular Burkean texts
  • Burke in the fields
  • The future of Burkean studies
  • New applications of Burke’s insights to contemporary issues

Over the course of the conference, a combination of keynote speakers, featured presenters, and seminar leaders will explore the possibilities of and conditions for meaningful change. Keynote speakers, seminars, and seminar leaders will be announced in January, 2011.

Proposal Submission

The proposal submission deadline has passed. Acceptances will be announced in early February 2011. After acceptance and to be eligible for awards and inclusion in a subsequent conference volume, proposers will be invited to submit full-length submissions by April 15, 2011.


Attendees may register for the conference by mail starting February 11, 2011. You can learn more and download the forms here. As for past conferences, affordable registration fees will include all meals and special events. Travel grants and subsidies for students may be available and will be announced as the conference nears. Further details will be published on the conference website, http://kbjournal.org/2011conference from now until the conference.

The Venue

Clemson University is located in Clemson, which is in upstate South Carolina. The Madren Conference Center (http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/madren/conference/) is surrounded by beautiful Lake Hartwell and the Walker golf course, with easy access from Greenville/Spartanburg, Atlanta, Asheville, and Charlotte. The climate in May is ideal for outdoor gatherings, golf, and water sports.

The Hosts

The conference chair is David Blakesley (dblakes@clemson.edu). The conference is sponsored by the endowment for the Campbell Chair in Technical Communication at Clemson and the Kenneth Burke Society.


If you have questions about the conference, please contact David Blakesley (dblakes@clemson.edu). Watch the conference website (http://kbjournal.org/2011conference) for additional announcements.

Keynote Speakers for KBS 2011

We're pleased to announce two exceptional keynote speakers for the 2011 Triennial Conference of the Kenneth Burke Society: Scott McLemee and Jack Selzer:

Scott McLemee
Inside Higher Ed
"Motives of the Public Intellectual; or, Confessions of an Unlicensed Burkean."

Scott McLemee writes the weekly column "Intellectual Affairs" for Inside Higher Ed. He was a contributing editor at Lingua Franca and he covered the humanities as a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2004, he received the National Book Critics Circle award for excellence in reviewing, and began serving on that organization's board of directors in 2008. Besides editing two volumes of writings by C.L.R. James, he has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and abroad. He discovered Kenneth Burke in adolescence, which was not recently. Read A Puzzling Figure in Literary Criticism Is Suddenly Central at the Chronicle of Higher Education (login required).

Scott McLemee

Jack Selzer
Penn State University
"Kenneth Burke, MLK, and Me: Taking a Comic Perspective on August 28, 1963"

Jack Selzer earned the Kenneth Burke Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 for service to the organization, for mentoring colleagues and graduate students in their archival research on Burke, and for his publications Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village (Wisconsin, 1997); Kenneth Burke in the 1930s (South Carolina, 2007, with Ann George); and Kenneth Burke and His Circles (Parlor, 2007, edited with Robert Wess). Currently past president of the Rhetoric Society of America, he has taught courses on rhetoric, composition, technical writing, and Kenneth Burke at Penn State since 1978. He is currently working with Keith Gilyard on a book on the rhetoric of the civil rights movement, and researching another book on Burke's later career.

Jack Selzer former President Bill Clinton
Jack Selzer (right) greets former President Bill Clinton at Penn State University. Photo Credit: Annemarie Mountz. Year Taken: 2008. View a high-resolution version.

Register for KBS 2011

To register for KBS 2011 at Clemson, you will need to download and complete the registration form and mail your form and payment to the address shown on the form. We can only accept payment by check, made payable to Clemson University.

Summary of Registration Fees

Registration fees include a one-year membership in the Kenneth Burke Society. If you are already a member, one year will be added to your membership. Please check the appropriate space according to your status and according to the timing of your registration, then enter the total in the space provided. Registration includes meals, refreshment breaks, t-shirt, book discounts, and other swag throughout the conference.

By April 15:                 ______ $195
After April 15:             ______ $215

Student Registration: ______$135 (before April 15)           ______ $155 (after April 15)

Note on Late Registration

So that we can make sure to have all materials ready, be sure to mail registration forms before May 19, 2011. After that date, you can plan on registering on-site.


Those who cancel before May 10, 2011 are eligible for a full refund. We can provide a 50% refund if cancelled on or before May 19, 2011.  After that date, there are no refunds possible since all food and other arrangements have been confirmed.

Seminar Registration

When you submit your registration, you'll be asked to select rank your top three seminars. Space will be limited, but we will try to honor everyone's first or second choice. Seminars run throughout the conference. There is no additional charge to attend a seminar. Please see the conference website for full details on each: http://www.kbjournal.org/seminars2011.

Travel and Accommodations

For full details, please see the Travel and Accommodations KBS 2011 page, which contains information about how to make hotel reservations, how to get to Clemson, and more. Room rates at the conference hotel run $120 (up to four people). 

Conference Dates/Program

The conference will begin in the late afternoon on Thursday May, 26, 2011 at 5 pm with the first of four seminar meetings, followed by a welcome reception. The conference ends on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 1 p.m. There will be panel sessions on Sunday morning. There will also be a golf outing or other fun events planned for those who want to stick around.

Conference Schedule at a Glance: KBS 2011

The conference runs from late afternoon on Thursday, May 26, through Sunday mid-day on May 29, 2011. All events will be held at the Madren Conference Center, which is connected to the Martin Inn.

To view a full draft of the program, login and then the PDF attachment will appear at the bottom of this message.

Thursday, May 26


3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Registration Open: Conference Center lobby

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Seminar Meetings 1

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Welcome Reception (hors d'ouevres, cash bar)

9:00 pm. - ?

After hours parlor in Hospitality Suite

Friday, May 27

Registration and Exhibits open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

8:30 am - 9:45 am

Concurrent Sessions A

9:45 am - 10:15 am

Refreshment Break

10:15 am - 11:30 am

Concurrent Sessions B

11:30 am - 1:00 pm 

Lunch: Keynote Speaker (Plenary)

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Seminar Meetings 2

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Refreshment Break

3:00 pm -4:15 pm

Concurrent Sessions C

4:30 pm -5:30 pm

Featured Sessions

6:00 pm - 9 pm

Outdoor Barbecue, Michael Burke Reading, Entertainment

9 pm - ?

After hours parlor in Hospitality Suite

Saturday, May 28

Registration and Exhibits open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

8:30 am - 9:45 am

Concurrent Sessions D

9:45 am - 10:15 am

Refreshment Break

10:15 am - 11:30 am

Concurrent Sessions E

11:30 am - 1:00 pm 

Lunch (Sandwich Buffet)

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Seminar Meetings 3

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Refreshment Break

3:00 pm -4:15 pm

Concurrent Sessions F

4:30 pm -5:30 pm

Featured Sessions

6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Banquet and Awards Ceremony: Keynote Speaker

9 pm - ?

After hours parlor in Hospitality Suite

Sunday, May 29


8:30 am - 9:30 am

Seminar Meetings 4

9:30 am - 9:45 am

Refreshment Break

9:30 am - 11:00 am

Kenneth Burke Society General Meeting

11:00 am - Noon

Kenneth Burke Society Officers Meeting

Noon - 12:30 pm

Box lunches

1:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Golf Outing, Walker Golf Course (Email dblakes@clemson.edu if you want to play);

7:00 pm - ?

Post-Conference Pool Party, hosted by Parlor Press at 3015 Brackenberry Drive, Anderson SC 29621 (20 minutes east of Clemson; directions to be provided).

PDF icon kbs2011-programdraft.pdf319.07 KB

Travel and Accommodations KBS 2011

Madren Center

Clemson University is located in Clemson, which is in upstate South Carolina. The Madren Conference Center and Inn (http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/madren/conference/) is surrounded by beautiful Lake Hartwell and the Walker golf course, with easy access from Greenville/Spartanburg, Atlanta, Asheville, and Charlotte. The climate in May is ideal for outdoor gatherings, golf, and water sports. You can also learn more about the Madren Conference Center and Inn on Facebook. If you would like to play some golf on the last afternoon of the conference, please email David Blakesley (dblakes@clemson.edu) to join the group. The Walker Golf Course is on Facebook as well.

Walker Golf Course

Planning Your Arrival and Departure

The conference will begin in the late afternoon on Thursday May, 26, 2011 at 5 pm with the first of four seminar meetings, followed by a welcome reception. The conference ends on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 1 p.m. There will be panel sessions on Sunday morning. There will also be a golf outing or other fun events planned for those who want to stick around.


The Greenville/Spartanburg airport (GSP) is the closest to Clemson, about 40 minutes by airport shuttle or car. Atlanta, Asheville, and Charlotte are about two hours away by car. Local shuttles service all airports. Amtrak has a stop in Clemson on the Crescent line. Shuttle and other information about travel arrangements will be announced in January, 2011. Shuttle arrangements can be made through a number of private shuttle services. We recommend Anderson Clemson Shuttle Services: http://clemsonshuttle.com/. The cost for roundtrip service from GSP to Clemson is about $90. As possible, we'll also announce ride-sharing and other airport transportation options.


We have reserved a block of rooms at the Madren Conference Center and Inn (the conference headquarters), which offers multiple room types, all of which are spacious and nicely appointed: Double Queen/King ($120) and Suites ($120). Suites include a kitchen, living room, and separate bedroom and two beds plus a sofa bed. All rooms have views of the golf course, gardens, or Lake Hartwell. There is a restaurant and bar on site, and a free local bus service is just a short walk away. Room reservations may be made by phone at 888-654-9020 (toll free) or 864-654-9020 (local). Be sure to specify “Kenneth Burke Society” or GF (Group Folio) # 8067 when making your reservation. Rooms should be reserved as soon as possible and before March 26, 2011 to ensure the conference rate. There are other hotels in the area, but there won't be a shuttle service and they are 1-2 miles away.

Seminars at KBS 2011

The tradition of outstanding seminars at past conferences continues in 2011. We have six distinguished scholars leading five seminars, each of which radiates from the conference theme, "Burke, Rhetoric, and Social Change." Seminars will meet all four days of the conference in a small group setting for discussion, debate, and competitive cooperation (friendly as it may be). The leaders describe their seminars below and include a list of work to read prior to the conference. Seminar participants are often asked to prepare inforrmal response papers of some sort. Seminar leaders will make contact with seminar participants in advance of the conference with updates as needed.

Conference registrants should select a seminar when they submit their 2011 KBS Registration Form. We'll make every attempt to give each person the first or second choice (you'll be asked to rank your top three). Space in some seminars will fill up quickly, so be sure to register early. These descriptions may be updated before the conference, so be sure to check back before sending in your registration.

Quick Links

Burke and Law

Clarke Rountree
University of Alabama, Huntsville

This seminar will explore intersections between Burke’s work and law, with particular attention to the Clarke Rountree’s application of the pentad to the analysis of judicial discourse. Seminar participants will read the essays below. Additionally, the group will read the U.S. Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London (the controversial case approving Connecticut’s use of imminent domain) as a case study in legal rhetoric.

Prior to the conference, small group members will submit a f5-8 page exploratory essay considering how Burke’s ideas might help us understand law, justice, or judicial processes. The focus should be narrow, considering the role of identification, form, terms for order, terministic screens, perspective by incongruity, bureaucratization of the imaginative, the master tropes, the five dogs, administrative rhetoric, substance, dialectic, the constitution-behind-the-constitution, or other Burkeian concepts relevant to legal discourse or talk about the law. Essays may consider explicit statements Burke has made about law or apply one of his concepts to general legal processes, to a particular example of those processes, or to talk about law and justice.

Materials to Read

  • Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives. 1945. Berkeley: U of California Press, 1969. (Especially the Introduction, Part 1, and Part 3.)
  • Rountree, Clarke. “Coming to Terms with Kenneth Burke’s Pentad.” The American Communication Journal 1, no. 3 (May 1998). (Online at http://acjournal.org/holdings/vol1/iss3/burke/rountree.html)
  • Rountree, Clarke. “Instantiating 'The Law' and Its Dissents in Korematsu v. United States: A Dramatistic Analysis of Judicial Discourse.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 87 (February 2001): 1-24.

Provided by the Seminar Leader

  • Rountree, Clarke. “Chapter 1: Judicial Motives in American Jurisprudence.” In Judging the Supreme Court: Constructions of Motives in Bush v. Gore. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2007.
  • Rountree, Clarke. “Setting the Stage for Brown v. Board of Education: The NAACP’s Litigation Campaign Against the ‘Separate But Equal’ Doctrine.” In  Brown v. Board of Education at 50: A Rhetorical Perspective. Edited by Clarke Rountree. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2004.
  • Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

Clarke Rountree is Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Rountree was awarded the prestigious 2008- 2009 Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism by Michigan State University Press for his book, Judging the Supreme Court: Constructions of Motive in Bush v. Gore. He is presently the Vice President of the Kenneth Burke Society.

Race-ing Burke

Bryan Crable
Villanova University

In many respects, this seminar topic would seem to figure a connection at best unlikely, and at worst antagonistic. Burke might seem an unlikely figure to link with race--simply because his origins (geographic, generational, and racial) contrast sharply with the concerns of those who advocate or construct critical race theory. More to the point, Burke was not then, and is not now, known for his writings on issues of race. Not only are Burke's own writings relatively quiet on matters of race (with some notable exceptions), but the same is true of the secondary literature. To be sure, some scholars have done work connecting Burke's work to issues of race, identity, and racism (e.g., Bobbitt, Rhetoric of Redemption; Carlson, "'You Know It When You See It'"; Crable, "Race and A Rhetoric of Motives"; Crable, "Symbolizing Motion"; Klumpp, "Burkean Social Hierarchy"; Lynch, "Race and Radical Renamings"). In many respects, however, Burkean scholarship focuses much more strongly on issues of class than of race (or of gender). This seminar will hope to change that somewhat, by focusing attention on several key works by Burke that deal with matters of race, and from throughout his career, including the "Rhetoric of Hitler's 'Battle,'" an early review from The Philosophy of Literary Form, the controversial citation of Ralph Ellison in A Rhetoric of Motives, and a late essay on Ellison's Invisible Man. Further, by reading these works alongside essays by Ellison and Donald Pease, seminar participants will be in a position to contribute new, Burke-fueled statements on our nation's ongoing "conversation" on race and identity.

Materials to Read

  • Bobbitt, David A. The Rhetoric of Redemption: Kenneth Burke's Redemption Drama and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007.
  • Carlson, A. Cheree. "You Know It When You See It: The Rhetorical Hierarchy of Race and Gender in Rhinelander v. Rhinelander." Quarterly Journal of Speech 85 (1999): 111-128.
  • Crable, Bryan. "Race and A Rhetoric of Motives: Kenneth Burke's Dialogue with Ralph Ellison." Rhetoric Society Quarterly 33.3 (Summer 2003): 5-25.
  • Crable, Bryan. "Symbolizing Motion: Burke's Dialectic and Rhetoric of the Body." Rhetoric Review 22.2 (2003): 121-137.
  • Klumpp, James F. "Burkean Social Hierarchy and the Ironic Investment of Martin Luther King." Kenneth Burke and the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Bernard L. Brock. Albany: SUNY Press, 1999. 207-41.
  • Lynch, John. "Race and Radical Renamings: Using Cluster Agon Method to Assess the Radical Potential of 'European American' as a Substitute for 'White.' KB Journal 2.2 (Spring 2006). http://www.kbjournal.org/lynch
  • "The Rhetoric of Hitler's 'Battle.'" The Philosophy of Literary Form. 1941. Berkeley: U of California P, 1973.

Bryan Crable is the Chair of the Communication Department at Villanova University. He is also the Founding Director of the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. He received the Charles Kneupper Award from the Rhetoric Society of America, for best article of 2003 in Rhetoric Society Quarterly: "Race and A Rhetoric of Motives: Kenneth Burke's Dialogue with Ralph Ellison." In 2008, he chaired the 7th Triennial Conference of the Kenneth Burke Society. Crable is finishing a book on Kenneth Burke, Ralph Ellison and the American "racial divide," scheduled to be published by The University of Virginia Press in 2012. He is also completing an edited volume on Kenneth Burke and the transcendence of social conflict, to be published by Parlor Press in 2012.

Burke and Education

Elvera Berry
Roberts Wesleyan College

Peter M. Smudde
Illinois State University

Whatever our particular interest in the work of Kenneth Burke, to the extent that we engage his ideas, we become both student and teacher of those ideas. Taking Burke seriously calls for an examination not only of the substance of his corpus, but also of the implications of that substance for how we function as educators. The theme of the 2011 conference, “Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, and Social Change,” speaks directly to the nature and role of education. While he did not write extensively about education, per se, Burke left a corpus filled with implications for education as well as a major resource in his remarkable 1955 essay, “Linguistic Approach to Problems of Education.”  Concerned though he was about the lack of pedagogical imagination in his time, Burke himself could not have fully anticipated the level of polarization and bureaucratization in today’s colleges and universities, let alone the atomizing effects of web-based news cycles and social media. However, his work remains invaluable in raising questions, identifying concerns, and proposing changes aimed at transcending our own “explosive words” and disarming anger and hate with civil discourse.

This seminar is organized around these questions:

  • What did Burke advocate directly regarding education and civil discourse, and what attitudes toward education can one glean from the rest of his corpus?
  • What role should we, as educators, play in creating social change?
  • What would a Burkeian educational approach for course design and classroom pedagogy look like?
  • What insights does Burke offer regarding the challenges of educating today’s students?

Participants are also encouraged to identify their current educational concerns. Ample time will be given to examining what it means to take Burke seriously, as educators, and to consider implications for the ways we teach and students learn.

Materials to Read

Participants are asked to read Burke’s 1955 essay, “Linguistic Approach to Problems of Education” (National Society for the Study of Education, Modern philosophies and education: The fifty-fourth yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part I of 2) and to consider its applicability 56 years later. This essay will serve as the foundational reading for the Seminar. It is the cornerstone and opening chapter in Humanistic Critique of Education: Teaching and Learning as Symbolic Action. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2010

Additional Highly Recommended Readings

  • The set of thought-provoking essays contained in Humanistic Critique of Education, all of which speak to the idea of “teaching and learning as symbolic action.”
  • “On Words and The Word” (opening chapter of Burke’s 1961 book, The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology, pp. 7-42)
  • “Dramatism” (International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 7, pp.445-452, Crowell Collier and Macmillan, Inc.)*
  • “Terministic Screens” (third chapter in Burke’s 1966 book, Language as Symbolic Action, pp. 44-62)
  • “Poetics and Communication” (in Perspectives in Education, Religion and the Arts, H. Kiefer & M. Munitz, editors [1970], pp. 401-418, SUNY)*
  • “Literature as Equipment for Living” (in Burke’s 1941/1973 book, The Philosophy of Literary Form, pp. 293-304).
  • Enoch, J. (2004). Becoming symbol-wise: Kenneth Burke’s pedagogy of critical reflection. College Composition and Communication, 56(2), 272-96.

* Electronic version to be made available.

Elvera B. Berry (Ph.D.) is Professor of Communication and Director of the Honors Program at Roberts Wesleyan College, and 2010 recipient of the inaugural Spiritan Award for Teaching bestowed by Duguesne University’s Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies. A long-term member the Kenneth Burke Society involved in regional and national organizations, she has been studying, teaching, and applying the works of Kenneth Burke for 25 years. Her essay, "The Both-And of Undergraduate Education: Burke's 'Linguistic' Approach" appears in the 2010 collection Humanistic Critique of Education: Teaching and Learning as Symbolic Action.  

Peter M. Smudde (Ph.D., Wayne State University) is assistant professor in the School of Communication at Illinois State University. He came to academe full-time in 2002 after sixteen years in industry in the fields of public relations, marketing communications, and technical writing. His primary research and teaching interest is the application of Kenneth Burke's ideas and contemporary theories of rhetoric to pedagogy and industry. He is also the editor of Humanistic Critique of Education: Teaching and Learning as Symbolic Action (Parlor Press, 2010).

Burke, "Hitler's 'Battle'" and Beyond 

Steve Katz
Pearce Professor, Clemson University

Kenneth Burke’s “The Rhetoric of Hitler’s 'Battle',” ostensibly a book review, was a rhetorically perspicacious if not prophetic analysis of what was yet to transpire. Though the layers of biography, bigotry, tirades, hatreds, and political strategies that permeate Mein Kampf turned others away in disgust and disbelief, Burke foresaw the general outline of events, read in relation to capitalism, religion, and anti-Semitism, just beginning to unfold. Burke did not have the last word on the interpretation of Mein Kampf; others have examined it since. But despite Burke’s warning that “we need to discover what kind of ‘medicine’ this medicine-man concocted, that we may know exactly what to guard against if we are to forestall the concocting of similar medicine in America,” for obvious and subtle reasons, rhetorical scholars, with a few exceptions, have tended to shy away from engaging Hitler’s manifesto, or its wider implications about genocide and rhetoric, in any hermeneutic depth.

This seminar will not be so shy. What can Burke’s analysis of Mein Kampf teach us today? Or, conversely, what does Mein Kampf and the horrors of history that followed teach us about Kenneth Burke’s rhetoric? After a general introduction of these two primary sources, and discussion of some pieces of scholarship about or that employ Burke’s insights, concepts, or methods of reading, in this seminar participants will share and discuss their five-page exploratory papers focusing on a Burkean method applied to a section or part of Mein Kampf, and/or similar and perhaps rhetorically untreated holocausts in subsequent history. The concept or methods applied could include Burke’s notions of identification, consubtantiality, or substance; form, casuistry, and/or entelechy; tropes, terministic screens, pentadic ratios, etc. Papers should be as specific as possible.

Materials to Read

Burke, Kenneth. “The Rhetoric of Hitler’s ‘Battle’.”  The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action. 3rd ed. Berkeley: U of California P, 1973. 191-220.

Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (any unexpurgated edition. I have the 1939 edition, published by arrangement with Houghton Mifflin). You might want to pay particular attention to Volume 1,“Chapter VI: War Propaganda” and in Volume 2, “Chapter VI: The Struggle of the Early Days—The Significance of the Spoken Word,” or “Chapter XI: Propaganda and Organization,” as I do in some of my work (see below), but any part or topic of Hitler’s manifesto, which are highly discernible in the Table of Contents, is ripe for the talking.

Pauley, Garth. "Criticism in Context: Kenneth Burke's "The Rhetoric of Hitler's 'Battle'" KB Journal 6.1 (Fall 2009). http://www.kbjournal.org/garth_pauley

Schmidt, Josef. “In Praise of Kenneth Burke: His ‘The Rhetoric of Hitler’s ‘Battle’ Revisited.” Should be available for free from your university computer at: RHETOR – Volume I (2004). http://uregina.ca/~rheaults/rhetor/2004/schmidt.pdf

Weiser, Elizabeth M. “Burke and War: Rhetoricizing the Theory of Dramatism.” Rhetoric Review, Vol. 26, No. 3, 286–302. Copyright © 2007, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.  Should be available via university journal subscriptions or may be downloaded from Prof. Weiser here: http://newark.osu.edu/facultystaff/personal/eweiser/Documents/Burke%20and%20War.pdf

Materials to Read Provided by the Seminar Leader

Katz, Steven B. “The Ethic of Expediency: Classical Rhetoric, Technology, and the Holocaust.” College English 54 (March 1992): 255-75

Katz, Steven B. “Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Hitler’s Program, and the Ideological Problem of Praxis, Power, and Professional Discourse as a Social Construction of Knowledge.” Special issue on Power and Professional Discourse, Journal of Business and Technical Communication. (Jan. 1993): 37-62

Steve Katz is the Pearce Professor of Professional Communication at Clemson University. He received his Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1988. His most recent book is the 3rd edition of Writing in the Sciences: Exploring Conventions of Scientific Discourse, co-authored with Ann Penrose and published in 2010 by Allyn & Bacon/Longman. In 1993, Dr. Katz won a National Council of Teachers of English Award for his article on "The Ethic of Expediency." His book Plato's Nightmare is due out from Parlor Press in 2011.

Mining Burkean Archives

Ann George
Texas Christian University

Archival research is changing the face of Burke studies. In the past decade, a host of essays and books have demonstrated how the archives ask us to reexamine what we “know” about Burke by reexamining how we’ve come to this knowledge. Archives, that is, changewhat we study (his rhetorical strategies as well as his theory, how he wrote as well as what he wrote) and how we study, enabling us to employ Burke’s methodologies—to read dramatistically, to “use everything.” And, then, archives help us begin to define what “everything” means in each case.This seminar will enable participants to explore, practically and theoretically, the potential for and the limitations of creating new understandings of Burke via his archives.

 Materials to Read

Anderson, Dana, and Jessica Enoch. “Introduction.” Burke in the Archives:  Using the Past to Transform the Future of Burkean Studies. Ed. Dana Anderson and Jessica Enoch. Under review at U of South Carolina P.  

Crable, Bryan. “Distance as Ultimate Motive: A Dialectical Interpretation of A Rhetoric of Motives.” RSQ 39.3 (2009): 213-39.

George, Ann. “Kenneth Burke’s ‘On Must’ and ‘Take Care’ ”:  An Edition of His Reply to Parkes’s Review of Attitudes Toward History.”  RSQ 29.4 (1999):  21-39.

---. “Finding the Time for Burke.”  Burke in the Archives:  Using the Past to Transform the Future of Burkean Studies. Ed. Dana Anderson and Jessica Enoch. Under review at U of South Carolina P.  

“Interview: Jessica Enoch—Striking Metaphors.” Working in the Archives: Practical Research Methods for Research and Composition. Ed. Alexis E. Ramsey, Wendy B. Sharer, Barbara L’Eplattenier, and Lisa S. Mastrangelo. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2010. 152-53.

Morris, Sammie L., and Shirley K Rose. “Invisible Hands: Recognizing Archivists’ Work To Make Records Accessible.” Working in the Archives: Practical Research Methods for Research and Composition. Ed. Alexis E. Ramsey, Wendy B. Sharer, Barbara L’Eplattenier, and Lisa S. Mastrangelo. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2010. 51-78.

Robert J. Connors, “Dreams and Play: Historical Method and Methodology.” Methods and Methodology in Composition Research. Ed. Gesa Kirsch and Patricia A. Sullivan. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1992. 15-36.

Tell, David. “Burke’s Encounter with Ransom: Rhetoric and Epistemology in ‘Four Master Tropes.’ ” RSQ 34.4 (2004): 33-54.

Wible, Scott. “Professor Burke’s ‘Bennington Project.’” RSQ 38.3 (2008): 259-82.

Ann George is Associate Professor of English at Texas Christian University.  Currently President of KBS, she is co-author, with Jack Selzer, of Kenneth Burke in the 1930s and is working on a critical edition of Permanence and Change.

KBS 2011 Program

We're pleased to publish the program for the 8th Triennial Conference of the Kenneth Burke Society. Printed versions of the program will be available at the conference. Any errata should be emailed to the conference chair at dblakes@clemson.edu (David Blakesley).

8th Triennial Conference of the Kenneth Burke Society

Attitudes Toward Kenneth Burke in Inside Higher Ed

Scott McLemee

Intellectual Affairs columnist for Inside Higher Ed Scott McLemee has written an excellent piece on KBS 2011 at Clemson. Here's a brief excerpt:

Attitudes Toward Kenneth Burke

. . . The triennial meeting of the Kenneth Burke Society, held at Clemson University over the Memorial Day weekend, drew a diverse crowd, numbering just over one hundred people -- with at least a third, by my estimate, being graduate students or junior faculty. The Burkological elders told tales of the days when incorporating more than a couple of citations from “KB” in a dissertation would get you scolded by an adviser. Clearly things have changed in the meantime. Tables near registration were crowded with secondary literature from the past decade or so, as well as a couple of posthumous collections of KB's work. The program featured papers on the implications of his ideas for composition textbooks, disability studies, jazz, environmental activism, and the headscarf controversy.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/mclemee/mclemee_on_burke_society