Burke Paper Contract

Acting (Out) Illnesses

On sensing

In the sense that discursive reason is dialectical, the mythic image may be treated as figuring a motive that transcends reason. It may also make claims to be "religious," since it presumably represents man's relationships to an ultimate ground of motives not available for empirical inspection.


“If, in the opinion of a given audience, a certain kind of conduct is admirable, then a speaker might persuade the audience by using ideas and images that identify his cause with that kind of conduct” – Kenneth Burke ROM P.55

Licensed to...

Order, the Secret, and the Kill. To study the nature of rhetoric, the relation between rhetoric and dialectic, and the application of both to human relations in general, is to circulate about these three motives. (265)

In this Burke discusses the motivation of hierarchy (Order), mystery (Secret), and conquest (Kill). It is fascinating how he discusses dialectic as the means to Kill, and the Kill as a mode of dialectic. This triad of motives brings forth the image of the Illuminati for me. Conspiracy, hidden authority, and obsession of control.

Major Project

I am planning on creating a multimedia project that engages Kenneth Burke’s definition of man. I wish to look particularly at the “symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal” aspect of the definition in light of the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of biosemiotics, which has as its premise that all of biological life signs. While signs are not necessarily synonymous with symbols, of course, there are persuasive arguments within biosemiotics that “symbol” is appropriate for all of biological life, as well.

Major Project - Burke and Identification at ABC

My major project will consist of a paper that I hope to present at the 79th Annual International Association for Business Communication (ABC) conference in October. I have presented at this conference before and so I am familiar with the audience and feel that introducing Burke and his theory of identification would be of interest.

Poetry of Evil?

Did you ever do a friend an injury by accident, in all poetic simplicity? Then conceive of this same injury as done b sly design, and you are forthwith within the orbit of Rhetoric. (37)

This seems to be a very sarcastic, cynical idea of rhetoric. Of course, that is the point... a hypocrite trying to out-hypocrize the hypocrites. A suicidal poet who plays in the realm of devious rhetorics? OUCH! Personally, this sounds like a melodrama to me!

Body-less Parlor Voices

My proposal is a multimodal exploration of how introverted female bloggers have shifted the Derrida-Center in closed religious communities. I’m particularly interested in how blogging has impacted and changed the institution of the church and its norms and traditions in much the same way that Gutenberg’s printing press shifted the Center from the powerful Catholic church to the newly-literate individual.

The Animated Burke

It is my intention to do an animated video of one (or more) of Burke's short stories and/or poetry. I have yet to select which one(s) would be best for adapting to animated visual representation. I would publish this on either Kairos or KB Journal.

Identification, Division, and Beyond?

You will understand war much better if you think of it, not simply as strife come to a head, but rather as a disease, or perversion of communion. (Grammar of Motives 22)

The section from which this quotation comes aligns war and the identification/division pair with what I call “negative dependency”: a necessary condition of the very possibility of conceptuality as we traditionally understand it whereby things are need their opposites for their identities.


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