The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Angus Fletcher on Allegory

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 3, 2009 - 11:03pm

My reading notes on Fletcher's Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode are attached as a word file, in case they might be of use to anyone. The section on psychoanalysis may be of use to some folks down the road in Austin.

Angus Fletcher.doc41 KB


Historians as Exorcists, Whigs, or Jacobites

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 3, 2009 - 12:43pm

"[W]e are prone to fall under the spell of our own intellectual heritage. . .[for] it is easy to become bewitched into believing that the ways of thinking . . . bequeathed to us by the mainstream of our intellectual traditions must be *the* ways of thinking about them. Given this situation, one of the contributions that historians can make is to offer us a kind of exorcism." --Quentin Skinner, Visions of Politics I, p. 6. This observation is especially true of our histories of rhetoric, methinks.


Comprehensive Exam Question #34

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 31, 2009 - 3:32pm

In Barbarism and Religion, Vol IV (Barbarians, Savages, and Empires), J.G.A. Pocock writes, discussing Diderot on "Hottentots," "It is well to recall that historiography was still the child of rhetoric, and that the rhetorician's arts included that of telling two sides of the same story; but here rhetoric serves to expose both sides of the contradiction--to which rhetoric itself belongs--between history and nature" (p. 271). Write an essay in which you discuss how "rhetoric" belongs to the contradiction between "history" and "nature." (4 hours)


Charles Taylor on Habermas for his 80th Birthday

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 27, 2009 - 6:02pm

A tribute by one great contemporary philosopher to another. The comments on Habermas's arguments about modernity pick up some important themes from last weekend's conference.


Modern Rhetoric Project

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 26, 2009 - 3:52pm

I've had a jampacked yet pleasant week. I spent Thursday through Saturday at the Modern Rhetoric Project's conference at the U of Minnesota's Humanities Center. David Beard of UM-Duluth, who is probably the best conference organizer around, collected a diverse bunch of people to reflect on modernity (which I broke down into aesthetic modernism and sociological accounts of modernization). One topic I hadn't thought much about lately was raised by David Gore in the last session--the role of religion in modernity.


Republicanism, Liberalism, Social Democracy

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 14, 2009 - 3:55pm

This new book about the emergence of liberalism from republicanism looks important, especially for those of us still puzzling over the meaning of the Atlantic Republican tradition, or neo-Romanism, as Skinner now calls it.


Skinner on Hobbes

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 11, 2009 - 12:25pm

If you've been following along with my reflections on Thomas Hobbes and Quentin Skinner, here's a very interesting review of Skinner's most recent book on Hobbes. My main problem with Skinner's argument is that, unlike C.B. MacPherson, he is unwilling to use the word "capitalism" in referring to Hobbes's influence on modern liberalism.


Antimodernist Rhetoric

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 9, 2009 - 11:44am

Notes and commentary on Tracy Strong's introduction to Carl Schmitt's The Concept of the Political:


More Hardt and Negri

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 7, 2009 - 10:09pm

Commonwealth, the sequel to Empire and Multitude, by Hardt and Negri is now available from Harvard UP. I happened to notice this today while I was reading this month's Artforum, which has an excerpt from it. The excerpt is not available online, but an introduction is, describing the impact their work has had on contemporary art.


Rhetoric and Modernity

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 30, 2009 - 11:46am

A somewhat shorter version of a paper I'm delivering at Minnesota in a few weeks:

Theses on Modernity, Modernism, and Rhetorical Theory

James Arnt Aune
Texas A&M University

All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.--Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach," Thesis VIII

Il faut être absolument moderne. --Rimbaud