RSA 2016–La même chose: Lawyers’ use of exemplary reasoning in persuasive writing

My proposal to speak at the Rhetoric Society of America conference here in Atlanta in May 2016 has been accepted. Here is the abstract: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, the more the stay the same. The French proverb counsels one not to expect too much from change. But what does it mean to s(t)ay “the same”? The question is of crucial importance in the law, where the Principle of Justice demands that a court should treat a situation today “the same” way that previous courts have treated “the same” situation in the past. Read More …

CCCC 2016 in Houston: New/now cognitivism proposal accepted

The organizers have accepted the roundtable proposal that I spearheaded for the 4Cs in Houston in April 2016. “New/now cognitivism: Strategies for theory and ‘literate action’” will include presentations from five scholars: Deborah Rossen-Knill, University of Rochester; Erin Williams, University of Saint Francis; Airlie Rose, UMass-Amherst; Jose Gomez, University of Texas, El Paso; and me.  Dr. Peter Elbow, Professor Emeritus at UMass-Amherst, will chair the roundtable. In my talk, titled “Relevance, cognitive environment, and audience,” I’ll offer a cognitive model for analyzing rhetorical performance by explaining the writer’s and audience’s “cognitive environments.” As used here, this concept originated with Sperber and Wilson (1995) Read More …

Introducing “disciplinary, professional, and technical communication” (DP&TC)

The diversity of research in scientific and technical communication (S&TC) is both exciting and maddening: exciting because it permits researchers to approach the subject of S&TC using a wide variety of theoretical orientations, methodological approaches, and objects of study and analysis; maddening because the diversity makes it difficult to pin down “the” discipline of S&TC. Taking the second issue first, I attempt in this post to provide a definition of S&TC, substituting the name “disciplinary, professional, and technical communication” and showing how studies considered part of S&TC really span these three subcategories, often addressing more than one of them at Read More …

Dissertation defense scheduled April 24

I’m scheduled to defend my dissertation on April 24, 2015, at 10:00a.m., Rm. 125, Nolte Center, 315 Pillsbury Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.  The event is open to the public; the public portion of the defense will not last more than an hour. Here is the abstract for the diss. If you are really curious and plan to attend, let me know, and I will share the whole PDF with you privately. -Brian

Gender/Genre (job talk presentation)

This is a presentation I’m giving today as a job talk at a university. It summarizes a part of my dissertation results and puts them in the context of my proposed “cognitive pragmatic rhetorical” (CPR) theory. It provides only a very preliminary overview of CPR theory; you’ll have to wait until that part of the diss is converted into an article to read the whole explanation 🙂

MLA preso/Technical communication and second language writing intersect: What students are thinking at the crossroads

Embedded on this post are PDFs of the slides and handout from the presentation that Laura Pigozzi and I are giving today at the Modern Language Association Conference in Vancouver, BC: Session #/Title: 613. Crossroads and Technical Communication: Second-Language Instruction, Habit, and Sustainability Saturday, 10 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 114, VCC West. Program arranged by the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, Presiding: William Klein, Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis Slides Handout

Case-based reasoning: Theory, pedagogy, and practice

This is a job talk delivered today at a law school. The slides appear below. Here, in summary, is the substance of my talk: The title of my talk is “Case-based Reasoning: Theory, pedagogy, and practice”. This presentation relates to a project I am pursuing to build on my dissertation and to extend work I’ve done with Dr. Lee-Ann Breuch on how students connect sources from their research to their present writing objectives. This talk has two parts, a theoretical one and an empirical one. In the theoretical part: I briefly discuss two norms of legal argumentation which live in Read More …

“Irreparable Harm” and legal arguments by analogy and example

Here are the slides from my talk at the 8th quadrennial conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation on Thursday, July 3. I figured I’d provide them here for folks interested in the subject. They’ll go by quickly in my talk, as I’m doing them in under 20 mins. Here are the excerpts of the memoranda and court decision from the case I planned to discuss during the session. These excerpts provide the complete argumentation of each party and the court on whether the plaintiff showed a likelihood of irreparable harm, one of for elements the plaintiff must show to get a preliminary injunction. If Read More …