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Language and Demagoguery Brown Bag Series

Center for Democratic Deliberation Brown Bag Series: Spring 2019

Do you like talking about democracy? Do you like lunch? Do you like talking about democracy over a delicious lunch? If so, join us for the spring 2019 Center for Democratic Deliberation Brown Bag Series on Language and Demagoguery!

We will discuss selections from the work of Professor Patricia Roberts-Miller (Professor, Rhetoric and Writing, University of Texas-Austin), who will give the 2019 Kenneth Burke Lecture in April. Her research focuses on how language can be used for demagogic purposes, both past and present. Roberts-Miller is not only a distinguished scholar in rhetorical studies, but has also been featured in the national media (from the Los Angeles Times and Washington Monthly to her commentaries in Citizen Critics).

These discussions are open to all faculty and graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts, so please feel free to share this announcement widely. 

  • A light lunch (sandwiches, etc.) will be provided.
  • Interested? Please indicate your interest in any or all of the sessions below by sending a note to Hailey Schneider, , so that we can estimate adequate space and food.
  • Read as much or as little as you can manage. These meetings are intended to feel like an informal salon, not a seminar.

Meeting Times and Readings

Wednesday, February 27, Noon to 1:30 p.m., Sparks 200
Reading: Fanatical Schemes: Proslavery Rhetoric and the Tragedy of Consensus (Introduction, Ch. 1)*

Wednesday, March 13, Noon to 1:15 p.m., Sparks 305B 
Reading: Democracy and Demagoguery (Introduction, Ch. 1- 4)*

Wednesday, April 10, Noon to 1:30 p.m., Sparks 007A (bottom floor, enter the Learning Center, take a right turn)
Reading: Rhetoric and Demagoguery (Introduction, Ch. 1-2) PDF available here

* Available as e-books on the Penn State Library website (through LionSearch)

Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture Details

Dr. Roberts-Miller’s Kenneth Burke Lecture will take place on Tuesday, April 16 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Nittany Lion Inn Faculty Staff Club. The title of her lecture is "The Rhetoric of Hitler's 'Battle' and Hitler's Rhetoric in Battle.”

Roberts-Miller’s work focuses on the history, theory, and pedagogy of public argumentation. She is the author of Voices in the Wilderness: The Paradox of the Puritan Public Sphere (University of Alabama Press, 1999), Deliberate Conflict: Composition Classes and Political Spaces (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004), Fanatical Schemes: Proslavery Rhetoric and the Tragedy of Consensus (University of Alabama Press, 2009), Democracy and Demagoguery (The Experiment, 2017), and Rhetoric and Demagoguery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2019).