Tuesday, October 02, 2007

CFP: "Transcendence by Perspective," Seventh Triennial Conference, Kenneth Burke Society, June 29-July 1, 2008

One of the hallmarks of Kenneth Burke’s work is a deep-rooted suspicion of entrenched antagonism, of the bitterly contested either/or. Confronting a Western tradition mired in dualisms, and a social world fractured along binaristic lines, Burke traced these all-too-common symptoms to their source in the human symbolic condition and, not content simply with this diagnosis, he also sought a cure: the disciplined cultivation of transcendence via "ultimate" terms (A Rhetoric of Motives 186-89). As Burke writes in Attitudes Toward History, "When approached from a certain point of view, A and B are ‘opposites.’ We mean by ‘transcendence’ the adoption of another point of view from which they cease to be opposites" (336). Although inspired in part by his reading of Plato, Burke’s vision of transcendence avoids the pitfalls of the transcendental, but instead is grounded solidly in the necessity of our embodied symbolicity. In Burke’s skilled hands, transcendence becomes not the elimination of perspective, of partisanship, but the embrace of transcendence by perspective—because only by rigorously acknowledging the symbolic nature of perspective can we move beyond the stagnant stalemate of reified social, political, and philosophical binaries. . . . Further details on the conference are available here: http://www.villanova.edu/artsci/communication/news/burke.htm.

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