Tag Archives: rhetoric

Words or Actions?

The question—words or actions?—is a false choice. Change can and does emerge through dialogue, debate, deliberation, diplomacy, and other modes of talk, but language is not enough on its own. Power can be exercised—and opposed—through direct action, such as described … Continue reading

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Some Ways of Measuring Quality of Conversation

There are many ways to consider how well a discourse community handles disagreement, including the following: To even begin to consider these questions requires more self-awareness than is often available, especially within a setting of hierarchical power relations. And all … Continue reading

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Lighting A Lamp And Cursing The Darkness

Religion Professor Stephen Prothero’s essay on the place of religion in politics exemplifies the muddled terminology that often accompanies state-church separation discussions that I consider in my research. Prothero’s argument also interests me for another reason. In advocating for the … Continue reading

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Terrorism is in the Eye of the Property Holder

Some members of the Texas legislature object to a curriculum program asks students to think about the Boston Tea Party as a terrorist act.  According to an article in the Austin American-Statesman by Ben Kamisar, “The lesson asked the teacher … Continue reading

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Stasis in the State of the State

Texas Governor Perry gave his State of the State address yesterday. Our local NPR affiliate KUT included a couple quotes in its report that caught my attention, highlighting the difficulty people have converging on the same question in political rhetoric. … Continue reading

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Why “From the Rostra”?

“The head and hand of Cicero were suspended for a long time from the rostra in the forum where formerly he had been accustomed to make public speeches, and more people came together to behold this spectacle than had previously … Continue reading

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School Choice & the Irresponsibility of Choiceless Rhetoric

“Since rhetorical proof is never a completely necessary proof, the thinking man who gives his adherence to the conclusions of an argumentation does so by an act that commits him and for which he is responsible.” The New Rhetoric, 62 … Continue reading

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Inclusion and Exclusion in State-Church Separation

Bradlee Dean’s guest prayer (video here) before the Minnesota House of Representatives on 20 May has caused something of a stir—both for the prayer’s content and Dean’s homophobic ethos. In his prayer, made at the behest of House Speaker Kurt Zellers … Continue reading

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Difficult Scholarly Dialogues on Religion

I look forward to the responses garnered by Toby Coley’s Rhetoric Review article “Opening a Dialogue about Religious Restraint in Graduate Professionalization,” though not without some trepidation. Coley presents a careful argument, and I don’t doubt it could help spark the productive dialogue … Continue reading

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The proliferation of stases and the loss of complexity

The outcry over the Cordoba House project is an appalling example of the depths to which US public deliberations can sink, yet it is hardly surprising given the history of US public debate. As with all public policy issues discussed on this … Continue reading

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