New Books and Articles, 2007

Below is a list of the new or upcoming books and recent articles on Kenneth Burke or applying Burkean theories that the editors have been able to glean from the presses.


George, Ann, and Jack Selzer. Kenneth Burke in the 1930s. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2007.

Lewis, Camille. Romancing the Difference: Kenneth Burke, Bob Jones University, and the Rhetoric of Religious Fundamentalism. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007.

Rountree, Clarke. Judging the Supreme Court: Constructions of Motives in Bush v. Gore. Ann Arbor: Michigan State University Press, 2007.


Beim, Aaron, and Gary Alan Fine. "The Cultural Frameworks of Prejudice: Reputational Images and the Postwar Disjuncture of Jews and Communism." Sociological Quarterly 48.3 (2007): 373-97.

Responses to prominent reputations provide a framework for understanding the growth and decline of group prejudice. In the 1930s, the connection between American Jews and Communism was both an empirical and cognitive reality—Jews constituted a significant portion of the American Communist Party and many Americans stereotyped them as such. However, by mid-century, the perceptual linkage between Jew and Communist had largely vanished. We explain the change in public attitudes by treating prejudice as a cultural framework for collective memory. Building on Blumer (1958) and the empirical conclusions of other prominent sociologists of the period, we argue that group prejudice depends on a group's distinctiveness, its perceived moral imbalance, and the discursive utility of attacks. When components of this three-part frame weaken, prejudice dissipates. Specifically, we claim that the specificity of reputations serves as a concrete stand-in for more diffuse images of social groups. While group position is not only the result of the reputation of prominent figures, the public images of these figures help to shape prejudice and its decline. As an empirical case, we examine the cultural framework for interpreting the linkage of American Jews and Communism in the late 1940s and early 1950s through the reputations of Alger Hiss, Roy Cohn, and Adolf Hitler. Presented by reputational entrepreneurs, these images emphasize American Communists who were decidedly non-Jewish, underline the prominence of anti-Communist American Jews, and delegitimize public anti-Semitism.

Brook, Douglas A., and Cynthia L. King. "Civil Service Reform as National Security: The Homeland Security Act of 2002." Public Administration Review 67.3 (2007): 399-407.

The events of 9/11 have influenced policy making in public administration. The Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security, contained language that empowered the secretary of homeland security and the director of the Office of Personnel Management to establish a personnel management system outside the normal provisions of the federal civil service. Why did civil service reform succeed as part of this legislation when previous attempts at large-scale reform had failed? A case analysis of the enactment of civil service reform in the Homeland Security Act points to theories of policy emergence and certain models of presidential and congressional policy making. In this case, civil service reform became associated with national security instead of management reform. An assessment of the rhetorical arguments used to frame this policy image offers a powerful explanation for the adoption of the personnel management reforms in the Homeland Security Act. This case has implications for understanding how policy makers might approach future management reform agendas.

Carabas, Teodora. "’Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad’: The Debunking of Spies, Superheroes, and Cold War Rhetoric in Mad Magazine's ‘Spy Vs Spy’." The Journal of Popular Culture 40.1 (2007): 4-24.

DeGenaro, William. ‘The New Deal’: Burkean Identification and Working-Class Poetics.” Rhetoric Review 26.4 (2007): 385-404.

Holbrook, Peter. "What Happened to Burke? How a Lionized American Critic, for Whom Literature Was ‘Equipment for Living,’ Became Lost to Posterity." TLS July 13, 2007 2007: 11-12.

Ivie, Robert L., and Oscar Giner. "Hunting the Devil: Democracy's Rhetorical Impulse to War." Presidential Studies Quarterly 37.4 (2007): 580-98.

The rhetoric of evil, so prominently evident in contemporary presidential public address, articulates a primal motive for the war on terrorism by projecting democracy's shadow onto the external enemy. In this regard, the president's discourse is a manifestation rather than aberration of U.S. political culture, a reflection of the nation's troubled democratic identity. Upon close inspection, it reveals the presence of the mythos of a democratic demon contained within the republic, various ways in which the unconscious projection of this devil figure is rhetorically triggered, and the cultural significance of its lethal entailments. The diabolism of presidential war rhetoric, we suggest, functions as an inducement to evacuate the political content of democracy, leaving a largely empty but virulent signifier in its place, which weakens the nation by reproducing a culture of war.

Jeffrey, Stout. "The Spirit of Democracy and the Rhetoric of Excess." Journal of Religious Ethics 35.1 (2007): 3-21.

If militarism violates the ideals of liberty and justice in one way, and rapidly increasing social stratification violates them in another, then American democracy is in crisis. A culture of democratic accountability will survive only if citizens revive the concerns that animated the great reform movements of the past, from abolitionism to civil rights. It is crucial, when reasoning about practical matters, not only to admit how grave one's situation is, but also to resist despair. Therefore, the fate of democracy depends, to some significant degree, on how we choose to describe the crisis. Saying that we have already entered the new dark ages or a post-democratic era may prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because anyone who accepts this message is apt to give up on the hard work of organizing and contestation that is needed to hold political representatives accountable to the people. This paper asks how one might strike the right balance between accuracy and hope in describing the democracy's current troubles. After saying what I mean by democracy and what I think the current threats to it are, I respond to Romand Coles's criticisms of reservations I have expressed before about rhetorical excess in the works of Stanley Hauerwas, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Richard Rorty. This leads to a discussion of several points raised against me by Hauerwas. A digression offers some of my reasons for doubting that John Howard Yoder's biblical scholarship vindicates Hauerwas's version of pacifism. The paper concludes by arguing that Sheldon Wolin's work on the evisceration of democracy, though admirably accurate in its treatment of the dangers posed by empire and capital, abandons the project of democratic accountability too quickly in favor of the romance of the fugitive.

Weiser, Elizabeth. “Burke and War: Rhetoricizing the Theory of Dramatism.” Rhetoric Review 26.3 (2007): 286-302.

While rhetoricians are familiar with Kenneth Burke’s epigram Ad bellum purificandum, little attention has been paid to why the “purification of war” would be Burke’s purpose in A Grammar of Motives. Yet the Grammar, with its theory of dramatism, was written throughout a conflict Burke called “the mightiest war the human race will ever experience.” This article recovers Burke’s wartime writings and explores the impact of World War II on his intellectual development. Arguing that Burke’s dialectical project was conceived as a specific, hortatory response to the absolutism of total war, it recontextualizes Burkean themes of ambiguity, transcendence, dialectic, and action as it “rhetoricizes” dramatism, placing the theory within its original cultural/material conversational parlor.