Friday, May 30, 2008

Naming Taiwan's ruling party

Just something I noticed--don't know if anyone else did: during his visit to China, Wu Po-hsiung used the full name of the KMT: 中國國民黨 (Chinese [or "China"] Nationalist Party) a lot. Every time I saw a clip of him talking, "中國國民黨" (rather than simply "國民黨") would come out of his mouth. I suppose part of the reason for this would be that his immediate audience, the CCP officials he was meeting with, would appreciate Wu's embrace of the 中國 in the name of the island's ruling party after the years of "去中國化" that we were supposedly experiencing here and that probably had the CCP folks there wringing their hands (along with the KMT folks here).

It's interesting, though, to think about Wu's embrace of "中國國民黨" in light of the attempts to "localize" the KMT during the election--Ma's "long stays" and frequent use of Taiwanese, and the de-emphasis on the "中國" part of the party's name (though not to the point of changing its official name). The other interesting thing to think about will be what the KMT will call itself locally from here on out--will "中國" be used more, say, on local election posters, banners, etc.?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Naming Taiwan's leader

The Foreigner in Formosa comments on the KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung's use of "Mr. Ma" (instead of "President Ma") during his time in China.
Question for the KMT: If YOU feel no particular need to call Ma Ying-jeou, "President," why should any of his political opponents back home feel obligated to do so?
I personally have decided just to refer to him as 馬特首--might as well get used to the sound of it...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

CFP: Rhetorical Citizenship conference in Denmark


Call for Papers - Call for Participation International Conference on

"Rhetorical Citizenship and Public Deliberation"

October 9-10, 2008
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, DENMARK

The conference is presented by the researchers' network "Rhetorical Citizenship: Perspectives on Deliberative Democracy", based at the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen. The conference will open at 9:00 AM on October 9 and close at 5:00 PM on October 10. The registration desk is open from 8:30 am. both days. Participants may sign in, pick up conference materials, etc. at this time.

The conference theme frames explorations into:

  • how rhetorical citizenship can manifest itself
  • what common and/or local traits it might have
  • what societal interests are vested in regarding citizenship as a rhetorical phenomenon.

The conference welcomes scholars from a broad spectrum of academic fields, including Communication, Rhetoric, Political Science, and Philosophy, as well as educators, journalists, politicians, activists in political and grassroots movements, etc.

Keynote Speakers
The following Keynote Speakers will be featured:

Professor John Dryzek:
Contemporary democracy is mostly representative democracy. Deliberative democracy highlights communication rather than aggregation of the preferences of individuals. Especially in contexts where a well-defined demos cannot be identified, it may make sense to think in terms of the representation of discourses rather than persons. We might then think about desirable characteristics of discursive representatives, and the circumstances under which they might meet in a 'chamber of discourses'.

Professor John Dryzek (Australian National University) is the author of Deliberative Democracy and Beyond, Discursive Democracy: Politics, Policy, and Political Science, Democracy in Capitalist Times: Ideals, Limits, and Struggles, The Politics of the Earth, and several other works.

Professor Rosa A. Eberly:

More than two millennia after Plato put the -ic in rhetoric -- and more than a century after hair-splitting disciplinarity began to erode the scholarly pursuit of common questions -- scholars from across the arts and sciences (even physicists!) are bringing their "occupational psychoses" to the shared and perduring problems of democracy. What might scholars do to imagine our different roles -- researchers, teachers, citizens -- as complementary rather than antagonistic? I will discuss with the audience several historical and contemporary cases of how disciplinary differences discouraged and enabled the useful pursuit of common questions in the context of public scholarship.

Professor Rosa A. Eberly (Penn State University, formerly University of Texas, Austin) is a Fellow of Penn State's Laboratory for Public Scholarship and Democracy and is author of Citizen Critics: Literary Public Spheres, The Elements of Reasoning and many studies on rhetoric and civic engagement, and public scholarship and has published in distinguished journals such as Rhetoric and Public Affairs and Rhetoric Review, and New Directions for Teaching and Learning.

Professor John M. Murphy:
CULTIVATING CITIZENSHIP: THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RHETORIC In recent years, a variety of thinkers, from Robert Putnam to Danielle Allen, have identified individualism and distrust as key obstacles to a vigorous practice of citizenship. They have also generally focused on public rhetoric as a problem and unfavorably compared the competitive norms implicit within political discourse to the cooperative norms they see in other discursive practices. Rather than giving up on public rhetoric, I suggest we explore some exemplary discursive practices that may light the way toward a more vibrant citizenry. I'll illustrate these concepts with examples drawn from John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.

Professor John M. Murphy (University of Illinois, formerly University of Georgia) is the author of numerous studies of American political rhetoric in leading journals such as Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Quarterly Journal of Speech.

Professor Georgia Warnke: Title to be announced.
Professor Warnke (University of California, Riverside) is the author of Gadamer: Hermeneutics, Tradition, and Reason, Justice and Interpretation, Legitimate Differences: Interpretation in the Abortion Controversy and Other Public Debates, and After Identity: Rethinking Race, Sex and Gender.

Participation and papers
All those interested in the conference themes are invited, whether they wish to present papers or not. Papers discussing aspects of rhetorical citizenship - particularly with regard to questions raised by ideals about democratic debate and its many manifestations - are invited. Topics may include practical, ideological and ethical perspectives on public discourse. Particular questions explored might be:

  • What should we expect from public debate?
  • Can meaningful norms of public conversation be formulated, and how might such norms be nurtured?
  • What is "reasonable disagreement" and how can it be handled constructively?
  • How might the notion "rhetorical agency" contribute to our thinking about and critique of public deliberation?
  • What characterizes a constructive speaking position and how might it be obtained?

Papers should be given in English. Time slots for papers will be 45 minutes, including at least 10 minutes for questions and debate.

If you wish to participate, send an email to by June 1, 2008. (You may use the reply email function if applicable.) Those wishing to present papers should include a title and an abstract of no more than 200 words. Within a short time, you will then receive an email giving further information on registration, payment, etc., and directing you to the conference website.

Notification on acceptance of papers will be sent out by email by June 15, 2008.

Registration and fees:
Registration must be sent by email to
Fees for registration before July 1, 2008:
For academic faculty: DDK 500,00
For students and non-academic participants: DDK 350,00

Fees for registration later than July 1, 2008:
For academic faculty: DDK 600,00
For students and non-academic participants: DDK 450,00

Fees include conference participation, lunches, and coffee/tea/refreshments during conference hours, and a conference dinner (excl. beverages).

Instructions regarding payment will be posted on the conference website as soon as possible and sent by email to individuals who have submitted an abstract.

Final registration deadline will be September 15, 2008.

Conference Publication
The organizers intend to publish a volume containing selected conference papers. Participants interested in submitting their paper for consideration are invited to indicate this during the conference by submitting a brief statement containing subject, title and contact information. Final versions of papers must be submitted by November 15, 2008. All submissions for the conference volume will be peer reviewed.

Conference Website
There will be a conference website continually updated with relevant information, such as a full conference schedule, advice on travel, lodging, meals, etc. A website for the conference is under construction and will shortly be accessible at this address:

As organizers of the conference, we sincerely hope that you will choose to attend.

With our best wishes,

The Conference Committee:

Lisa Storm Villadsen Christian Kock
Associate Professor of Rhetoric Professor of Rhetoric
University of Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen

Hans V. Hansen Ove Korsgaard
Professor of Philosophy Professor, The Danish University School of Education
University of Windsor, Canada University of Aarhus

Kjell Lars Berge
Professor, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
University of Oslo

Kasper Møller Hansen
Associate Professor of General and Comparative Political Science Dept. of Political Science
University of Copenhagen

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Rev. B.F. Tefft on Daniel Webster's oratory

While working on a syllabus for an MOE-required elective called "Introduction to English Rhetoric" (that may not ever actually be taught, since although we're required to offer it students aren't required to take it), I came across the following comments on Daniel Webster's oratory in the preface to a book of Webster's selected speeches. (I imagine the previous sentence will have some of my readers--if I have any readers--wondering why anyone would ask me to write a syllabus for a course on rhetoric, but anyway...)

Here it is for my future reference:
It is quite evident that Mr. Webster matured rather slowly; that his efforts made before the age of fifty were his most popular because the most impassioned efforts; but that his productions dated beyond the age of fifty, though less fiery, are generally more indicative of his unsurpassed abilities as a man of deep, penetrating, far-reaching, and comprehensive mind. His mind, indeed, seemed to grow clearer as he advanced in years; and the very latest speeches, though not so striking to superficial hearers, will be regarded hereafter, by close and competent readers, as the most finished of all the productions of his tongue and pen.

One result, it is to be earnestly hoped, will not fail to follow a general circulation of these master-pieces among the generous youth of Mr. Webster's native land. It is to be hoped that his style of elocution, calm, slow dignified, natural, unambitious, and yet direct and powerful, will take the place of that showy, flowery, flashy, fitful and boisterous sort of speaking, which seems to be becoming too common, which so breaks down the health of the speaker, and which is nevertheless most likely to strike the feelings and corrupt the judgment of the young. Let me here say plainly, that, having heard Mr. Webster speak very frequently, on almost every variety of occasion, I have never heard him, even when most excited, raise his voice higher, or sink it lower, or utter his words more rapidly than he could do consistently with the most perfect ease, and with the utmost dignity of movement. He never played the orator. He never seemed to be making any effort. What he had to say he said as easily, as naturally, and yet as forcibly and possible, with such a voice as he used in common conversation, only elevated and strengthened to meet the demands of his large audiences. So intent did he seem to be, so intent he certainly was, in making his hearers see and feel as he did, in relation to the subject of the hour, that no one thought of his manner, or whether he had any manner, till the speech was over. That is oratory, true oratory; and it is to be hoped that the more general distribution of these masterpieces will have the ultimate effect of making it the American standard of oratory from this age to all future ages. (5-6)

From the Preface to Speeches of Daniel Webster, Selected by Rev. B. F. Tefft, D.D., LL.D., Embracing His Acknowledged Masterpieces in Each Department of the Great Field of Intellectual Action. NY: A. L. Burt Company, n.d. (1852?)