RHETORIC, BETWEEN THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF POLITICS
CEHUM, University of Minho
June 21-22, 2013
Invited speakers (provisional list)
As one of the consequences of the lingering process of corrosion of the rationalist assumptions of the Enlightenment project, in the last decades we have witnessed an attempt in different areas of the humanities to revive the central role rhetoric used to have in antiquity. Despite its political origins, however, the contribution of political theory to this important endeavour has only come of late, as more and more theorists have started to expose the rhetorical nature of politics in multiple manners: showing how it can be used to offer more sophisticated accounts of public deliberation, more attentive toward emotive aspects and contexts; or revealing it as an important manifestation of practical reason; or studying its presence in canonical thinkers and critical moments in the history of political thought; or finally, taking it as an inspiring source for a post-foundationalist emancipatory political theory.
This variety of approaches testifies to the pervasiveness of the rhetorical dimensions in the whole realm of politics, from action to theory. The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars coming from disciplines such as political theory, philosophy, history, literature, or communication, to debate the multifaceted significance of rhetoric in politics and to explore new ways to incorporate a ‘rhetorical perspective’ in the study of political thought. Our hope is that this event could offer an important moment to assess and foster the still incipient revival of rhetoric in this area.
The conference will be organized in plenary and parallel sessions. Proposals for the latter are invited on, but not limited to, topics such as: rhetoric and the limits of rational deliberation, rhetoric as a manifestation of practical reason, rhetoric and civic education, rhetoric and the public intellectual, rhetoric and post-foundationalist political theory, rhetoric and political change, rhetoric and the symbolic space of politics, rhetoric in canonical political thinkers and in the history of political thought.