We are pulling to a close yet another amazing week here in the department. I continue to be so proud of everything we are doing.
For example,
Hye Seung’s article “Hollywood Diplomacy and The Purple Heart (1944): Preserving Wartime Alliances through Film Regulation,” The Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television is available in e-print.
Many of you saw what is really a two for one story. Ryan wrote the Rocky Mountain Collegian cover story on Tuesday, the 19th. The story was about Usama’s remarkable journey to CSU. Well done both of you!
Here’s some more cool news: Emily is one of the four initial graduate fellows in the new Graduate Fellowship program in the Institute for the Built Environment here at CSU.
Speaking of PhD students, I am sure many of you know that Andy has a series of wonderful short essays in Sonja Foss’s most recent edition of her rhetorical criticism text published by Waveland Press.
Our graduate program continues to rock and roll!
I met with a Juan Rivas in the last few days. He holds an MA in communication from Eastern New Mexico University and his job it is to help students who are struggling to complete classes find the skills needed to be successful.
I asked Juan to introduce himself to the community and he wrote this:
Juan Rivas is the Collegiate Success Coach for Outreach and Support Programs at Colorado State University’s Collaborative for Student Achievement (formerly CASA). He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a bachelor’s in history (2007) and a master’s in communication (2016) from the same institution. Juan’s role is to assist students facing academic challenges or obstacles by providing academic coaching, time management, strategies for success, and provide insight to CSU’s academic policies. Make an appointment by calling 970-491-7095.
As we continue to fulfill our mission to increase retention and graduation, reaching out to Juan if you have a student who is teetering may be a great idea.
What else is news?
Two more short, interconnected things, and then this email is done.
First, I am going to be spending much of tomorrow with a group of young people from area universities that are part of the Puksta Foundation Scholars program. The program offers scholarships to high-achieving students committed to social justice. I was asked to do a presentation regarding the use of good evidence era of fake news and blatant public lying.
I know a little bit about evidence and speaking and writing, but that sounds a little dry to me.
So I have revised the speaking assignment to be about eloquence. I am going to draw on ancient writers who thought a lot about eloquence and argued that deep, wide, and committed learning is at the root of eloquence. I will talk some about Isocrates’ understanding of judgement and the Greek and Roman understanding of virtue as a public action in which we actually do matters more than that which we intend to do. In this version of virtue that we did not intend to create a racist or a sexist message does not excuse repeated racist and sexist messages.
And finally, I will argue that rhetoric produces and is produced through ethos. Following not only the ancients but also Michael Hyde’s work, I will suggest that rhetoric creates dwelling places in which we can reason together about our common lives.
Each rhetorical action has, of course, its direct purpose; for example, to argue for or against changes in how health care is funded. But we are also, in these arguments, making claims about who and how we should be together. We address who is allowed to be part of reasoning-in-common and what counts as reasoning in the first place.
And this leads me to the second point.
I want to remind all of you of the upcoming ACT Human Rights Film Festival event “Symbols and History of Lynching.” I have attached a digital version of the poster for your use. Urge your students to come. It is free. No registration or ticket needed. We are working with Black African American Cultural Center, History, Ethnic Studies, with generous funding from the College of Liberal Arts to produce this.
For me, this event is partially about responding to very specific events here on campus. But just as importantly it is about our ethos—our reasoning together.
Friends, it is easy to reason together about easy things—where to go to eat this weekend (Café de Bangkok for Elizabeth, Sue, and me)—but hard to reason together about hard things. As we have built this event, we have realized in deeply embodied ways how hard it can be to build a place where we address honestly issues of race and terror. Lindsey in particular has been doing an amazing job helping create what will be a powerful event in building our ethos as a place where we can reason together about these hard things.
You see, departments of communication are not built to help us have the easy conversations. We don’t teach intercultural communication so that we can appreciate surface differences and ignore structural challenges. We don’t teach public speaking only for the purpose of giving a good toast at a wedding.  We don’t build classes on media and organizations and rhetoric and relationships so that we can offer easy solutions to hard questions.
No, we build these things so that we can engage together in deeply contested and powerful, committed conversations. That’s why we invest heavily in the Center for Public Deliberation, in the ACT Human Rights Film Festival, and in each and every single one of us.
We invest in these courses, curricula, programs, and ourselves so we can do the hard work, the risky work, the important work of reasoning together. And we are not alone. The College of Liberal Arts is part of this effort as well. Indeed, the range of opportunities to build this community is wide and varied.
Lindsey and Kari were at the opening of this year’s Colorado Invitational International Poster Exhibitwhere human rights were and are a key theme. I will be going tonight to the performance of Every Good Boy Deserves Favor which explores free speech and free thinking. Hey, want to join me?
And the list goes on. In fact, early next week the CLA will publish a list of events throughout this semester that can engage us in crucial conversations.
Well, turns out this is a long letter. I am so sorry! Hopefully you stopped early in page two.
I hope your weekends are wonderful as we celebrate the move from summer to fall and dig deep into our semesters.