The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Butler and Genealogy

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 9, 2006 - 9:15am

An unusually lucid essay on Butler and Foucault (I think I now actually understand the concept of "genealogy") by Alison Stone, "Towards a Genealogical Feminism: A Reading of Judith Butler's Political Thought", published in volume 4, number 1 of Contemporary Political Theory. The full text is here: And, while we're on the topic of academic feminism, check out today's NYT article on the gender divide in higher education. The declining performance of men in college has been obvious to me for about ten years now. We need a serious discussion of the issue. An excerpt: --Department of Education statistics show that men, whatever their race or socioeconomic group, are less likely than women to get bachelor's degrees — and among those who do, fewer complete their degrees in four or five years. Men also get worse grades than women. And in two national studies, college men reported that they studied less and socialized more than their female classmates. Small wonder, then, that at elite institutions like Harvard, small liberal arts colleges like Dickinson, huge public universities like the University of Wisconsin and U.C.L.A. and smaller ones like Florida Atlantic University, women are walking off with a disproportionate share of the honors degrees. It is not that men are in a downward spiral: they are going to college in greater numbers and are more likely to graduate than two decades ago. Still, men now make up only 42 percent of the nation's college students. And with sex discrimination fading and their job opportunities widening, women are coming on much stronger, often leapfrogging the men to the academic finish. "The boys are about where they were 30 years ago, but the girls are just on a tear, doing much, much better," said Tom Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education in Washington.


Hirshman on Feminism and Stay-at-Home Mom's

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 9, 2006 - 8:57am

This article from the American Prospect is getting a lot of controversy (including a listing in Goldberg's 100 people who are screwing America): (I find the article deeply annoying, but I'll wait to see if anyone else has a comment).



Submitted by Jim Aune on July 9, 2006 - 8:52am

From Lee Siegel's culture blog at the New Republic: A CONTEST: Here's a game you can play if you find yourself at loose ends over the summer weekend. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary has determined the 25 most commonly used words in the English language. They are, in order of frequency: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact. See if you can fit them all into one sentence. (You're allowed to use verbs, of course, and other parts of speech.) I'll have mine ready on Monday.



Submitted by Jim Aune on July 8, 2006 - 6:47pm

The Spring 2006 issue of Rhetoric Society Quarterly is out, with essays by Debra Hawhee, Jeffrey Walker, Janet Atwill, John Poulakos, James Fredal, Ekaterina haskins, Michael Leff, and Susan Jarrett--all focusing on scholarship in ancient rhetoric. A reminder for those of you who read the Blogora but don't belong to RSA: you're missing something by not getting RSQ and attending the annual conferences/workshops. Go to the RSA webpage and click on the membership button (you can join online):


North Korea

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 8, 2006 - 12:32pm

Some helpful background on the issue:


Rethinking Marxism Conference

Submitted by Adria on July 8, 2006 - 9:28am


Hypothetically Speaking: Ethics and Persuasion

Submitted by Adria on July 8, 2006 - 9:18am

This summer, a classroom exercise in ethics in persuasion led to the following "issue": To raise discussion about ethical speaking, a well-meaning professor provided several different scenarios in which students had to place themselves and then discuss what they would do if they were the speaker in that scenario. One scenario generated heated controversy: You're the President of the United States and you are trying to garner support for a war. In a state of the union address, you want to say that the enemy has WMD, only your advisors tell you that there is no evidence of WMD. In your speech, do you go ahead and say that there are WMD or no? Why or why not? One young woman said that she would tell the American people that there are WMD, even though it would be a lie. She argued that the American people are stupid, and that she trusts the President to lie to "us" (herself included). "That's democracy." Otherwise, she notes, how *could* democracy function? "Without the government lieing to us, there could be no order and safety." The class got into a very heated debate over this issue--leaving for the day with a lot of hostility toward one another. If you were the professor, how would you respond?


Content Analysis of Judicial Opinions

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 7, 2006 - 4:21pm

A new article on how and why of content analysis (a little tweaking, and rhetoricians could find this useful):


The Smoking Gun?

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 7, 2006 - 1:20pm The Democrats and other groups seriously need to start raising money just for monitoring and litigating voter suppression efforts like this.


Astrological Politics

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 7, 2006 - 4:06am

Thanks to the WaPo we know that Capricorns and Aquarians were most likely to vote for the flag-burning amendment, while Scorpios voted against: I wonder if we took all Congressional votes in, say, the 20th century and looked for astrological sign patterns. . . where on earth would I ever publish it?