Welcome to the Seminar on Kenneth Burke!
So that we can get to know each other a little better, please post a reply to this message in which you
describe where you are from
give your course of study and year in your graduate program
talk about your areas of interest and career goals
tell what you would like to get out of this course
describe one of your favorite books and what you like about it
I'll start. I'm in my fourth year at Clemson.I came here from Purdue University, where I was the Director of Professional Writing and Professor of English for ten years. I earned my PhD from the University of Southern California in "Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Literature." My areas of specialization include rhetorical theory, digital and visual rhetorics, print and digital publishing, information architecture and content management, and film theory and production. In 2002 I founded Parlor Press, an independent scholarly press that has now published about 175 titles. I'm currently the editor of KB Journal, the journal of the Kenneth Burke Society. I've also chaired to Burke conferences, the first in New Orleans in 2002 and the most recent here at Clemson in 2011, which was a fantastic event involving many RCID students.
One of my favorite books is Kenneth Burke's Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose (1935). I've always loved this book because it covers so much important ground in rhetorical theory, is filled with wry anecdotes that explain human communication in ways that resonate broadly across all types of writing and speech, and (perhaps most important), manages to present its case in a form and style that is finely crafted and richly textured, like a book of theory as a form of art. I own multiple copies, each of them marked up and dog-eared (except for the digital version!). I first read it in the mid-1980s in graduate school and will usually read it again every year or two.
I was fortunate to meet Burke twice, first at a publisher's party in Seattle at the 1990 4Cs, in the Space Needle of all places. He had given a presentation earlier that day (more on that in class). I met him a few months later in New Harmony, Indiana, at the 3rd Triennial Conference of KBS. He was still going strong at 93. KB and I have even corresponded, but it didn't amount to much. At the bottom of my letter to him requesting permission to conduct research in the Burke archives at Penn State, he wrote "OK. KB." I guess I'll take it!