Communication and Culture | Research Seminar in Rhetoric and Public Culture (Topic: Public Scholarship in an Age of Empire and Terrorism)
C705 | 24078 | Robert Ivie and John Lucaites

CMCL-C 705: Research Seminar in Rhetoric and Public Culture
(Topic: Public Scholarship in an Age of Empire and Terrorism)
Class Number: 24078, 24079

F, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM, Location: TBA
Meets with CULS-C 701 and AMST-G 751
Open to Graduates Only!

Instructors: Robert Ivie and John Lucaites
Office: Mottier Hall 203 (Robert Ivie), Mottier Hall 202 (John
Phone: 855-5467 (Robert Ivie), 855-5411 (John Lucaites)

This seminar is offered to graduate students with an
interdisciplinary outlook on the interface between publics and
scholarship.  It operates through rhetorical heuristics and
attitudes to explore the role that publicly connected or engaged
scholarship can play in the development of “liberal-democratic”
political culture.

The development of a “liberal-democratic” public depends, as John
Dewey insisted, on the public communication of intellectual insights
and innovations.  This was the premise on which he defended academic
freedom.  Unfettered scholarly inquiry is to be valued to the extent
that it enriches “liberal-democracy” through artful—that is, full,
moving, and responsive—communication that enhances public
deliberation on matters of common concern.  This engagement in
cultural politics is important but hazardous work for scholars,
especially in the prevailing context of national crisis and an open-
ended war on terror, an era of culture wars and deep divisions
over “liberal-democratic” aspirations, the exigency of
globalization, and the operation of empire.  Artful intellectual
engagement in these circumstances requires a rhetorically savvy
attitude and practice.  Yet, as John Michael argues, democratic
politics are impossible without the participation of intellectuals.
Thus, we wish to examine how the intellectual can address the
general public most productively.  Such a project will entail
consideration of the rhetorical histories of the public intellectual
and public scholarship, as well as consideration of current
controversies over academic freedom and their potential impact on
research and teaching, including initiatives aimed at containing and
curtailing the public dissemination of scholarship.

The primary texts for the course will be determined at a later date
but are likely to include works such as:
John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems (1927; reprinted by Swallow
Press/Ohio UP); Thomas Bender, Intellect and Public Life: Essays on
the Social History of Academic Intellectuals in the United States
(Johns Hopkins UP, 2003); Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Civility and
Subversion: The Intellectual in Democratic Society (Cambridge UP,
1998); Alvin Gouldner, The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of
the New Class (New York: Continuum, 1979); David Forgacs, ed., The
Antonio Gramsci Reader (New York: NYU P, 2000); John McGowan,
Democracy’s Children: Intellectuals and the Rise of Cultural
Politics (Cornell UP, 2002); John Michael, Anxious Intellects:
Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment
Values (Duke UP, 2000); Richard A. Posner, Public Intellectuals: A
Study of Decline (Harvard UP, 2001); and Louis Menand, ed., The
Future of Academic Freedom (U of Chicago P, 1996).

Readings will be supplemented with selected articles that are about
and/or exemplify public scholarship and with guest presentations by
visiting intellectuals who have practiced public scholarship.  Each
student will develop over the course of the semester a project in
public scholarship, including (1) a prospectus that conceptualizes a
sustained program of public scholarship—complete with a well
articulated rationale based on the class readings and related
materials—and (2) a work of public scholarship that initiates the
prospective program by engaging a public issue in a manner adapted
specifically to a public audience.  Such an audience may be located
somewhere on a continuum from popular to educated but must be
demonstrably public rather than technical or strictly academic.  The
aim is to communicate intellectual insights beyond the limits of
disciplinary boundaries and to audiences outside the academy, that
is, to operate rhetorically with intellectual and scholarly acumen
in spheres of public “give and take.”

There will be two sections of this seminar that will meet together.
Each section is limited to eight.  Both Professors Ivie and Lucaites
will share in the grading and evaluation of students in each
section.  If you have specific questions, feel free to contact
Professors Ivie ( or Lucaites