Saturday, December 8, 2007

M.O.W.'s Wonderful Winter Writing Projects

Dear Fellow Founder Stalkers & Friends of M.O.W.,

We recognize that we have been remiss in publishing our musings and rants about the founders and their friends and we are pleased that so many of you keep coming back here to check on us. We regret that your coming here to see what we have to say has not actually given us the motivation to think of something clever to say. We are very sorry for that, indeed.

We fear that we still have very little to contribute to founder-stalking on this day, but we thought that we might discuss the three papers that we are currently working on and which are all due over the next few weeks. We hope that some fellow founder stalkers might have something useful to suggest to us by way of resources or analysis. If not, then at least you know why we are so quiet here on the interwebs.

M.O.W.'s Wonderful Winter Writing Projects:

1. Co-Author Chapter on Constitutive Rhetoric with a very smart mentor & colleague (JJ). JJ asked me to co-author a chapter for the Handbook of Public Address, which will be published by Blackwell in the next year or so (which is TOTALLY a Big Deal). We will review the literature on constitutive rhetoric--the idea that language positions people and things, calls them into being as Althusser would say--and then do a case study on the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and their immediate reception by the States, their more distant reception in the Hartford Convention of 1815, and their use in the Nullification Crisis of 1832-1833. The idea is to trace how the ideas of the Resolutions--which quickly became known as the "Principles of '98"--filtered into America's political discourse even though they had next to no effect in their immediate context. Due January 15, 2008.

2. Revise & Resubmit essay on "Constituting Romantic Heroes in the Discourse of July 4, 1826" to the Quarterly Journal of Speech. M.O.W. just got the reviewers' comments back on this essay yesterday and she is excited that they liked the idea of the essay and that they had some thoughtful suggestions for how she can improve it. Truth be told, M.O.W. has been working on a version of this essay for quite some time and she hopes that she can get it right this time. The problem seems to be that it is far too interesting of a rhetorical moment to capture all of the richness of what is going on, why, and how it works. But, M.O.W. will persevere and figure out how to say something useful and interesting about the deaths of Adams and Jefferson on America's Jubilee. The Jubilee fell in the middle of the longest and dirtiest political campaign in the nation's history (the 1828 grudge match between Andy Jack and JQA) and marked the shift between the first and second generations, the shift between the American political fiction and political myth, and the shift in American political discourse from republican to democratic. The net result was to reify the Founder's romantic and tragic republican fictions and to bury the tragic fiction to the backrooms of public discourse. You see fellow founder stalkers, there was a lot happening in that one moment. No wonder we have such difficulty turning it into a neat 35 page essay. No fear though, we will--somehow. Due January 18, 2008.

3. Co-Author essay with super smart Poly Sci Guy friend (JV) on the Bush Rhetorical Legacy and expand upon the idea that SJH and I began to develop in our PSQ essay about the "post-rhetorical presidency." Here JV and I will make the argument about the post-rhetorical presidency much clearer and look at three facets of Bush's rhetoric that demonstrate precisely how the new rhetorical patterns function to frustrate citizen action and prevent democratic deliberation: Presidential Signing Statements; the role of the Press Secretary; and Bush's General Rhetorical Style (this last section seems the most fuzzy to M.O.W.--what does that mean, "general style?" Maybe M.O.W. should build off of her RPA democratic style essay for that, eh? Note to self, obviously). In any case, we will present this essay in March at a conference about "Assessing the Bush Legacy," which sounds like a ton of fun, but means that we need to get this all written soon. Deadline is ambiguous, but something like mid-February, 2008.

Thus, fellow founder-stalkers, M.O.W. has her head full of ideas, none of which are developed enough to really share with you all here. Remember, M.O.W. follows the advice of her dear mentor, the late David Swanson: "it is best to not conduct our education in public," he said to M.O.W. once. And, as ever, he was right.

Any ideas for our Wonderful Winter Writing Projects? M.O.W. gladly accepts any and all thoughts about these important questions.


met said...

That's so strange - MY advisor said the same thing. And then some dude over at the Blogora (he's so pissy!) went so far as to say that you shouldn't be blogging in public unless you are a full professor.

I just don't know who to believe anymore.


MosaicMe said...

I take issue with not conducting our education in public... where else are we supposed to conduct it where others can help us grow and develop?

MercyOWarren said...

MET: I think that blogging in public is dangerous whether you are a full professor or not. And...I think that you forgot to say that your advisor is super smart.

Mocaicme: you have a point, but there is a kind of "public" that is adversarial and unkind and never forgets your mistakes and there is a kind of "public" that is generous and mentoring and hopes to help you to improve. We obviously want you to test new ideas with the latter rather than the former kind of public.