The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Gehrke Book Event: Conclusion

Submitted by Jim Brown on December 28, 2010 - 12:38pm

We have come to the end of Gehrke's The Ethics and Politics of Speech and to the end of our first Blogora Book Event. That end comes in the form of Gehrke's conclusion about notions of community and ethics that he has excavated from his archive. As I mentioned in my first post about this book, this is the part of the project that is most interesting to me.


Gehrke, Chapter 3

Submitted by Jim Aune on December 22, 2010 - 9:28am

In this final installment of my reflections on Chapter 3 of Pat's book I want to focus more specifically on questions of method:

1. Starting a conversation. Pat's book, like Bill Keith's 2007 book Democracy as Discussion: The American Forum Movement and Civic Education, begins an historiographical project. Both books remind me of Wallace Stevens's lines in "Tea at the Palaz of Hoon":

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.


Gehrke Book Event – Chp. 6: The Recalcitrance of Humanism. AKA: Agency, Language, Community.

Submitted by johnm on December 20, 2010 - 7:53pm

Hello all, I’m John McKenzie, a regular commenter here on the Blogora, and an ABD student in Comm. Studies rhetoric at the University of Texas. I’ll be discussing chapter six as we continue moving through Pat’s excellent book, The Ethics and Politics of Speech. I’ll just start off by mentioning that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the book so far, and in particular have enjoyed reading this chapter on humanism because it has taken me somewhat nostalgically through a lot of the topics I’ve spent time on with my own research and in my own education at UT and Texas A&M.


Chapter 5, The Ethics and Politics of Speech

Submitted by Nate Kreuter on December 9, 2010 - 7:46am

Due to a slight hiccup in scheduling, I'll be talking about Chapter Five of Pat Gehrke's The Ethics and Politics of Speech, even though Chapter Four hasn't been covered yet. Hopefully Chapter Four will be covered subsequently.


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).


Chapter 3: The Ethics and Politics of Speech/Rhetoric & Philosophy

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 26, 2010 - 9:23am

In this chapter, Gehrke focuses on four themes: the perception of an ethical crisis within speech as an academic discipline and within communication as a social practice; the rise of a body of rhetorical studies to replace social-psychological principles as the source of moral criteria for evaluating communication; a return to reason--now based in philosophy rather than in science--as the grounding principle for communication ethics; the problems that this philosophical turn posed for moral judgment, especially given the rise of existential philosophy.


Chapter 3: The Ethics and Politics of Speech: Lived Experience

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 14, 2010 - 1:56pm

I will respond to Pat's chapter in three parts. In this first response, I want to draw on the resources of my own lived experience as a high school student of "Speech Communication" from 1969-1971 Much of what Pat says resonates with that experience. In my second response, I will discuss college and graduate school. In my third response I will go up a level or two of abstraction and pose some questions about method (suggesting that Pat neglects the social and institutional bases of the changes he so cogently describes).


Gehrke: de Man?

Submitted by ddd on November 9, 2010 - 7:32am

I'm in Ch 4 right now, and just totally digging this smart book. I know we're on ch 3 now, so i'll save my ch 4-specific questions, but i have one sort of general question. It just dawned on me that I haven't seen any reference to Paul de Man yet. Checked the index: nothing. So i'm wondering about the influence of de Man in the history/ies of speech/rhet. Did his work not offer any kind of turn or crisis on that side of our aisle? I'm kind of fascinated by that possibility.


Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear), or, "The Critic Must Be a Moralist"

Submitted by Adria on October 31, 2010 - 5:36pm

I read Pat's Chapter Three for this week with sound bites of Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" reverberating through my mind. My dear colleagues like Amy Young and Johanna Hartelius focus on the ceaselessly changing role of the public intellectual and the shifting notion of expertise (when our comedians turn pundits! albeit, Stewart has played down any political intent behind this rally), and I will not raise all of those very important and engaging issues here. At least, not explicitly.


Gehrke: Self-Mastery and Platforms

Submitted by Jim Brown on October 27, 2010 - 4:25pm

Chapter 1's discussion of "mental hygiene" also brings us a discussion of "self-mastery":

One of the central themes in the advocacy of mental hygiene and psychiatry in speech training was the need for students to develop self-mastery if they wished to become effective speakers. In being reasonably self sufficient and adopting mental objectivity, the good speaker would develop awareness and control of himself or herself. (28)