Name: Roxanne Mountford, University of Kentucky.
Presentation Title: "A Century after the Divorce: Challenges to a Rapprochement between Speech and English"
Date: November 13, 2008
On January 25-27, 1970, a small group of scholars met at the Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin, to discuss the future of rhetoric. Scholars primarily from the fields of English and speech communication attended, with Wayne Booth, Edward P. J. Corbett, Henry Johnstone, Richard McKeon, and Chaim Perelman among the speakers. Reading the pages of The Prospect of Rhetoric, the conference proceedings for Wingspread, one is struck by the great optimism of the participants for their newfound interdisciplinary mission. But it was not to last. Thirty years later, another group of scholars met to initiate the Alliance of Rhetoric Societies to discuss rhetoric's declining influence in English and communication and to again initiate collaborations across disciplines. But the Alliance of Rhetoric Societies, like Wingspread, is already languishing. In this presentation, Roxanne Mountford re-reads the history of collaborations between English and speech communication through a postcolonial lens in order to explore why the dream of a holistic approach to the communication arts continues to elude us.