Brigance Colloquy at the Wabash College Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts
This colloquy will bring a select group of rhetorical scholars together to examine the role of rhetorical studies and the practice of rhetoric in a democratic society. In addition, the meeting will address issues related to the most appropriate pedagogical strategies for preparing students for citizenship in a democratic society. A total of 16 rhetorical scholars will participate in the spring 2005 meeting. Eleven scholars will prepare essays related to the colloquy theme while three additional scholars will make public presentations. Additional rhetorical studies scholars, interested alumni, and students are welcome to attend the keynote address, the colloquy banquet, and the sessions on the Brigance Legacy on Saturday morning.
William N. Brigance established a well-known legacy in the Communication discipline as a promoter and advocate for the role of public speech in a free and democratic society. In addition, he played a seminal role in the development of the discipline in the United States. He served as both the editor of the leading journal of the field, the Quarterly Journal of Speech, and the president of what is now the National Communication Association. Brigance authored several influential texts in the field and began the Speakers Bureau, a program that was adopted by scores of institutions across the country. Students in the Speakers Bureau constructed addresses, which they presented to political, social, and business organizations in their local communities. In sum, Brigance charted a path in the orator-statesman tradition through the close connection he made between rhetorical practice and a free, democratic society. As he wrote, "Ö speechmaking in the beginning grew out of manís first attempts at self-government, that it is inherent in a free society, that a course in speech ought to be based on this concept, and speech training in a free society ought to be recognized as being essentially at variance with that in countries where governments are sustained by thought control."  It is this connection between rhetoric and democratic citizenship which this colloquy will honor and extend.
The colloquy will take place on the campus of Wabash College at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and other campus venues. The mission of the Center of Inquiry is to explore, test, and promote liberal arts education (http://www.liberalarts.wabash.edu/).
Brigance, William Norwood. (1952, 1st ed.) Speech: Its Techniques and Disciplines in a Free Society, p. vii. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Brigance Colloquy Scholars
Denise Bostdorff (College of Wooster)
Cara Finnegan (University of Illinois)
Thomas Goodnight (University of Southern California)
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