Embodied Rhetorics: Writing Rides from the Seat of a Bike

Janice Chernekoff, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania


This essay connects Burke’s concept of a mind-body dialectic with studies of embodied rhetorics to explore connections between bodily vocations and the writing linked to them. Randonneuring, a form of endurance bicycling, and the ride reports written by participants, provides a case in point.

Analyzing Warrants and Worldviews in the Rhetoric of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: Burke and Argumentation in the 2016 Presidential Election

Emma Frances Bloomfield, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Gabriela Tscholl, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Combining a dramatistic analysis with the Toulmin model productively contributes to a rhetorical understanding of the 2016 presidential election and locates Burke as an integral component of political communication criticism. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's rhetoric differed not only on policy arguments, but also on their rhetorical vision for America. Trump's campaign arguments privileged the agent and thus invoked identification with an idealist worldview, while Clinton's rhetoric privileged agency and thus invoked identification with a pragmatic one. Warrants and worldviews are interconnected parts of campaign rhetoric that contribute to both persuasion and identification.

Othello: An Alternative Dramatistic Analysis

Henry King, Malmö University, Sweden­­


Kenneth Burke’s reading of Othello in terms of “the disequilibrium of monogamistic love” is both perceptive and puzzling, ignoring the issues of scene (Venice and Cyprus) and downplaying Othello’s racial otherness. This essay situates it within the wider story of his attempts to think about issues of race, and proposes a Burkean reinterpretation of the play emphasizing the agent-scene ratio and the dialectic of merger and division. The play is then related to the politics of its period of composition and the present day.

Freeing the Lockerbie Bomber: Cultural Constraints on the Construction of Motives

Clarke Rountree, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Simone McGrath, Independent Scholar


Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi, who was convicted as the notorious Lockerbie Bomber, was freed by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on humanitarian grounds. The justification MacAskill provided in a speech on the release was widely criticized as cover for alternative motives. This essay uses MacAskill's speech as a case study of a failed construction of motives to reveal cultural constraints on the construction of motives. It illustrates the function of what Clarke Rountree has called "specific dimensions" of pentadic relationships (as opposed to "general dimensions") and how that shapes constructions of motives.

Review: "Rhetoric and Ethics in the Cybernetic Age: The Transhuman Condition" by Jeff Pruchnic. Reviewed by Lauren Terbrock-Elmestad

Cover of Rhetoric and Ethics in the Cybernetic Age

Pruchnic, Jeff. Rhetoric and Ethics in the Cybernetic Age: The Transhuman Condition. New
York, Routledge, 2014. 206 pp. $46.95 (paperback); $155.00 (hardcover).

Reviewed by Lauren Terbrock-Elmestad, Saint Louis University

To what extent can videogames be held responsible for human deaths? What are the implications of paying vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, to create Internet material? What does it mean for chatroom users to communicate with a nonhuman entity, such as Burkebot — a language-recognition program that uses a stock of Kenneth Burke quotations? These are some of the questions investigated in the five chapters of Jeff Pruchnic’s book, Rhetoric and Ethics in the Cybernetic Age: The Transhuman Condition.

Memories of Kenneth Burke

Featuring  Michael Feehan, David Cratis Williams, Elvera Berry, Richard Thames, Ed Appel, Clarke Rountree, and James Klumpp

2017 Kenneth Burke Society Triennial Conference
"Conflicts and Communities: Burke Studies in a Divided World"
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania