The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Leo Strauss's Legacy

Submitted by Jim Aune on March 22, 2011 - 5:07pm

Libertarian C. Bradley Thompson takes on neoconservatism and the legacy of Leo Strauss. (I'm not sure it's fair, but I'm also not sure it's entirely wrong. I post in part to illustrate that there probably WAS a coherent Platonic theory of practical rhetoric.)

What did Kristol learn from Leo Strauss?


Leo Strauss Archive

Submitted by Jim Aune on March 13, 2011 - 2:56pm

The Leo Strauss Center at the University of Chicago continues to release audio files of his courses. The 1963 course on Plato's Gorgias is of particular interest to rhetoricians. Courses on Cicero and on Aristotle's Rhetoric are not yet available. I plan on posting some notes on the Gorgias class sometime soon. And I continue to work on an article on the differing conceptions of rhetoric and political theory in the work of Strauss versus the Cambridge School (Skinner, Pocock).


When Rhetoricians Don't Like Rhetoric

Submitted by Jim Aune on January 14, 2011 - 3:34pm

The biennial Public Address conference was held at Northwestern in fall 1991. I had a revelatory moment during that conference, as one of the speakers (I forget whom) read a "purple" passage from Daniel Webster and the whole room erupted in laughter. I've had a similar reaction the last few days, as I've read various blog and facebook posts on Obama's Tucson speech, many of which have evoked the concept of "kitsch" to describe it.


Benjamin on Mythic and Divine Violence

Submitted by Jim Aune on January 11, 2011 - 12:26am

Walter Benjamin's great essay. Seems relevant at the moment, somehow. And Derrida's commentary (bilingual). And another set of commentaries, including one by our own Ken Rufo. And an issue of Colloquy.


The "vert" family

Submitted by Jim Aune on December 30, 2010 - 8:29pm

Michele Bachmann told the Republicans in Michigan that she became one of them after reading Gore Vidal's Burr. Um, ok. I never really thought of Gore Vidal as an archetypal "liberal", although I kinda liked him after William F. Buckley, Jr. called him a "queer" in 1968:


Adorno, for Tuesday

Submitted by Jim Aune on December 21, 2010 - 5:58pm

“Dialectics is the ontology of the wrong state of things. The right state of things would be free of it: neither a system nor a contradiction”- Adorno, Negative Dialectics


PHD Comprehensive Exam Question

Submitted by Jim Aune on December 18, 2010 - 8:28pm

"Americans think psychologically rather than sociologically. Discuss this thesis and its implications for the study of American public discourse."


Intellectual Attention Space

Submitted by Jim Aune on December 4, 2010 - 1:06am

I'm still working on my final post on questions of method in relation to Pat's book. I just discovered that my favorite contemporary sociologist Randall Collins has a blog. I'm teaching his new book Violence: A Micro-sociological Theory this spring. It totally blows violence research in communication/social psych out of the water (as well as Bourdieu's work on symbolic violence).


More on DeMan

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 18, 2010 - 8:12pm

I'm attaching a pdf file of a 1990 book chapter on Deconstruction--note that I do cite DeMan (also note the eerie reproduction of the library worker's fingers in the "text"--a Derridean "trace" if there ever was one). This was a moment when I somewhat enthralled with post-structuralism. (I would now label myself a "genetic structuralist," a la Marshall Sahlins.) No one, to my knowledge, has ever cited this chapter--makes me regret a bit I never published it in a journal. I'm a bit curious if you more savvy readers think I got it "right."

aune decon.pdf2.49 MB


Another Definition of Rhetoric

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 14, 2010 - 11:39am

"Rhetoric, the doctrine of controlling affects in political ensembles, is applied thymotics. . . . Part of the business of morally complex systems--that is, cultures--is the self-stimulation of its actors through an elevation of thymotic resources such as pride, ambition, the need for recognition, indignation, and the sense of justice" (Peter Sloterdijk, Rage and Time, 20, 21). Sloterdijk is something of a neocon in Germany--and Habermas's great nemesis. But I note yet again that conservative political theorists continue to take rhetoric seriously while liberals/radicals usually do not.