The Kenneth Burke Discussion List provides a forum for people with vested interests in the study of Kenneth Burke's life and works with the opportunity to converse with each other on the Internet, in a "Virtual Burkeian Parlor," if you will. Subscription to the list is open to anyone interested in continuing the Burkeian conversation. Participants come from a variety of academic fields, including rhetoric, speech communication, English, composition, sociology, religion, and mass communication. The list's purpose is to promote the study, understanding, dissemination of research on, critical analysis of, and preservation of the works of and about Kenneth Burke.
Perhaps the best way to describe the KB list's "scene" comes from Burke himself: "Where does the drama get its materials? From the 'unending conversation' that is going on at the point in history when we are born. Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress." (_The Philosophy of Literary Form_ 110-11)
The KB list functions like many other discussion lists, which allow users to choose how they would like to receive messages, etc. New subscribers receive an initial message from the listserver detailing these options. At present, the list is unmoderated, so participants should follow the usual decorum for serious discussion lists. Everyone will be sent periodically a list of list guidelines (FAQs), but generally speaking, messages should be reasonably relevant to the aims of the list and to the continuing conversation, should not attack others venomously, and should be written for public consumption (i.e., avoid personal messages to specific individuals). The list owner (David Blakesley, firstname.lastname@example.org) will work to ensure that the discussion is lively, collegial, and provocative.
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