Call for Papers
American Society for the History of Rhetoric 2008 Symposium
Thinking Through Rhetoric:
A Symposium on Rhetoric, Cognition, and Culture
Thursday, November 20, 2008
San Diego, California
Human cognition and human culture, in their rich diversity and stunning complexity, are now the focus points for scholars representing a broad range of disciplines from neuroscience and evolutionary biology to rhetoric and literary studies. Historically, various cultural and/or scholarly conceptions of cognition – how the human mind comes to know and understand – have had profound influence on rhetorical theory, the teaching of rhetoric, and rhetorical practice. Indeed, every practical or pedagogical rhetorical program has relied upon implicit or explicit notions of cognition, or what might be called "cultures of cognition." Furthermore, the ups and downs of the art of rhetoric's fortune have been more than once tied to theories of cognition, as in the oft-cited disrepute into which rhetoric fell in the Enlightenment due in part to Cartesian theories of cognition. Rhetoric's history, therefore, is closely related to the history of conceptions of cognition, and conceptions of cognition are closely related to cultural norms and practices, including those shaped by rhetoric. Today, both the science of cognition and the study of rhetoric represent dynamic intellectual fields, each with rich histories. This symposium considers these histories, as well as the present state of studies in these areas and their overlap.
Thomas Habinek, University of Southern California, “Descartes’ Error or Descartes’ Dream? Cognitive Science’s Need for History”
Thomas Habinek is Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at the University of Southern California. His many publications in Latin literature and ancient cultural history include The World of Roman Song: From Ritualized Speech to Social Order (Hopkins 2005), Ancient Rhetoric and Oratory (Blackwell 2005), and The Politics of Latin Literature (Princeton 1998). His current research examines new models of mind and their potential impact on traditional humanistic and historical modes of inquiry.
Although proposals of all work in the history of rhetoric will be considered, preference will be given to submissions that address topics consistent with the conference theme, including, but not limited to, the following:
Broadly the 2008 ASHR symposium will address questions like:
1/ How might scholars of rhetoric both learn from the work of scholars in scientific and social scientific disciplines, and how might rhetoric in turn contribute to our understandings of cognition and culture?
2/ How do histories of cognition and histories of rhetoric inform, illuminate, or challenge each other?
3/ What are the limits of "cognition" with respect to rhetoric, and likewise what are the limits of "rhetoric" with respect to cognition?
More specific questions addressed at the symposium might include:
4/ How might our current theories and/or histories of rhetoric need to be reformulated to address the insights of sciences of mind?
5/ How might rhetorical pedagogy learn from, challenge, and/or compliment ostensibly "scientific" theories of pedagogy?
6/ What new approaches to the history of rhetoric might be opened by focusing on conceptions and cultures of cognition?
Panel proposals will be considered, but individual submissions are encouraged. Individual proposals should consist of a title and an abstract of no more than 500 words without identifying features in the body of the text. Panel descriptions should include a description of the panel's theme and descriptions of each presentation (not to exceed 750 words). A detachable cover sheet with author(s), title, and contact information should be included. Papers from rhetoric, classics, languages and literatures, cultural studies, history, philosophy, and all related disciplines are encouraged, as are submissions from scholars who are not members of ASHR. Proposals should be submitted as e-mail attachments in Microsoft Word format to David Timmerman (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline for papers and proposals is Friday, August 1, 2008. Acceptance decisions will be made by September 1. Additional information on the pre-conference will be posted at the ASHR website www.ashr.org at that time.
NB: Pre-registration for this event is required.
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