The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


How to Read Žižek by Adam Kotsko

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 3, 2012 - 10:53pm

A good brief introduction: Granted, I tend to think of Z as an anti-semitic wanker, but I would like to have a discussion about the way that "ideology" (still my main scholarly-rhetorical interest) projects "contradictions."


DeleuzoGuattarian Counterinsurgency?

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

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


Does Rhetorical Studies Progress?

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 23, 2011 - 10:56am

A recent conference at Harvard addresses the question "Does Philosophy Progress?" Some video here. How would you answer the same question for rhetorical studies? My own belief in the Whig Interpretation of History is rather deep, although uneasily so.


Kahn on Schmitt and Political Theology

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 29, 2011 - 12:54pm

Paul Kahn's new book on Carl Schmitt, sacrifice, and liberalism looks pretty important. Check out the ongoing discussion over at Immanent Frame (one of those must-read blogs, I think).


A Grammar of Motives

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 14, 2011 - 1:05pm

There is much of rhetorical interest in the various arguments about the riots in England. I confess to a certain initial revulsion against claims by the far Left that the riots have a political cause. See A.N. Wilson here. The fact that so many targets were hard-working Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu immigrants seems lost on some people.


Did Marx Have a Political Unconscious

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 25, 2011 - 11:52pm

I'll continue with my blogging of Jameson's Representing Capital tomorrow, but tonight it hit me what's troublesome about his analysis. Jameson does elegant and persuasive readings of figures as diverse as Balzac, Wyndham Lewis, George Gissing, and even Hegel (in the recent Hegel Variations, a much better book than this one)--I note the absence of a single Greimasian semiotic rectangle in the present book. Alvin Gouldner (never cited by Jameson) had the courage to explore the political unconscious of Marxism itself (hint: it was the intellectuals' will-to-power).


Jameson, Representing Capital, 1, Chapter 1

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 24, 2011 - 2:33pm

This is a dissatisfying chapter; I don't think it need be this obscure, even as it tries to replicate the dialectical form (at the sentence level) of the content of part one of Capital. But here goes (chime in here, if you're reading along with me).


Jameson, Representing Capital, 7

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 20, 2011 - 2:05pm

I've been slacking a bit on posting notes about Jameson's book (part of the problem is that it's denser prose than usual); as perhaps is appropriate for a work on dialectic, I'm going to skip ahead to the concluding chapter in hopes that it illuminates the body of the text.

"Political Conclusions"

1. unlike the Manifesto, Capital I has no political conclusions.

2. What do we mean by the political?

a. handbooks for political activism, e.g Machiavelli, von Clausewitz, Sorel, or Lenin.


Predestination and Social theory

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 19, 2011 - 1:04pm

I had a small revelation this morning, and I'm curious what the more theologically inclined among you (Joshua? Ryan?) think about it. The central problem in sociological theory since the 18th century has the been the relative role of "structure" and "agency" in society (Marx would be heavy on structural determination, classical liberals and existentialists heavy on agency, and Giddens trying to strike a middle path). Could it be that this central problem in social theory is a replaying of the Reformation debates on predestination (single and double) versus Arminianism?


an historiographical puzzle

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 16, 2011 - 10:56pm

Believe it or not, I have no hidden agenda behind this question: why, when rhetorical studies took a definite philosophical turn after around 1975 (Philosophy and Rhetoric had then been around for about 7 years), did both my generation and the now roughly two generations younger than mine seize on Continental Philosophy rather than analytic philosophy (I don't know why I've capitalized those differently, but it seems right) for our scholarship? Thoughts?