The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America
Jim Aune's blog


DeleuzoGuattarian Counterinsurgency?

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 9, 2012 - 5:04am

When even military strategists are poststructuralists, something deeply weird is going on:


The 25th Anniversary of Bloom's Closing of the American Mind

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 7, 2012 - 1:23am

A new edition of the "opening shot in the culture wars" comes out this week. An interesting (and oddly honest) look back here. As readers of this blog know, I have some moderate Straussian tendencies on odd Tuesdays, so I'm thinking of blogging a bit on the book. Anyone want to join in?


Academic Rules 4: Hegelian Mutual Recognition

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 5, 2012 - 5:53pm

I entered graduate school in COMM in the fall of 1975. I had a vague sense that there was a split between the social science and humanities wings of the field formerly known as speech. The instant I entered grad school I discovered a battle was going on for my soul. I had (he said immodestly) astronomically high GRE's and a nearly 4.0 (3.93 to be precise) GPA from a then-good liberal arts college (don't get me started on what it's like now). At that time one had to take both rhetorical methods and social science methods as an MA student, and I did rather well at both.


Academic Rules 3: Peak Email

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 4, 2012 - 10:09pm

A generalization: as syllabi have become more detailed, undergraduates pay no attention to them. As library searches have become easier, neither undergraduates nor graduate students know how to use the library. As emails from administrators like myself become more frequent, faculty pay no attention either. Discuss. You will get a Nobel Prize in Something if you solve the problem that email has created.


Academic Norms 2

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 3, 2012 - 1:14pm

I spent roughly half my professional life in the small liberal arts college setting. There the norm was: be in the office 9-5 five days a week. Since moving to a PHD program, I have continued to prefer to teach MWF. For about half my time here, I was a 5 day a week in the office person, although I cut back on that to 3 days a week a few years ago. There appears to an explicit principle in my department, as well as in others across campus, that especially junior faculty should be given T-Th schedules and stay home and write for the other three days.



Submitted by Jim Aune on April 1, 2012 - 9:49am


Implicit Rules in Academe

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 1, 2012 - 7:17am

Following up on syntaxfactory's posting of the Chronicle article earlier today about class and higher ed: if we adopt the lens of Kenneth Burke's "socio-anagogic" criticism and examine the sources of "social mystery" carefully, Briallen Hopper and Johanna Hopper's poignant story illustrates how crossing various social boundaries often results in situations where you only discover the presence of a Rule after you violate it. (I think of the perhaps true story about Allan Bloom in Bellow's Ravelstein when Bloom/Ravelstein offends Mrs. T.S.


The Ethics of Anonymous Hacktivism

Submitted by Jim Aune on February 3, 2012 - 9:04am

The Anonymous collective hacked the website of A3P, a neo-Nazi group, and claims the information there reveals deep ties to the Ron Paul campaign. A few questions for discussion: 1) Does the information actually reveal reciprocal ties between the two groups, or are things more ambiguous? 2) Anonymous's actions are clearly illegal, but are they in any clear sense ethical? What are the boundaries between investigative journalism and this sort of document dump?


A Strange Story

Submitted by Jim Aune on January 8, 2012 - 10:29am

For some reason (it's probably a property of the aging brain) my thoughts recently have turned to the 1970's, especially my college years. I still can't make sense of the story I'm about to tell (consider it a followup to our discussion of ghosts here around Halloween), but it's my closest brush with the Uncanny ever. In the summer of 1974 I worked as a camp counselor at a camp in the Badlands of North Dakota. It was my second summer on the job, and I loved it, especially the starkly beautiful landscape of the Badlands.


Footnotes for the Illiterate

Submitted by Jim Aune on January 8, 2012 - 12:57am

Jameson on Mao:

"Mao Zedong himself drew back from the ultimate consequnces of the movement he had set in motion, when, at the supreme moment of the Cultural Revolution, that of the founding of the Shanghai Commune, he called a halt to the dissolution of the party apparatus and effectively reversed the direction of this collective experiment as a whole (with consequences only too obvious at the present time" Ideologies of Theory, 207-8.