Burke lecture to examine relationship between individuals and society April 10

March 26, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Robert Asen, professor of rhetoric, politics and culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will deliver the Penn State Center for Democratic Deliberation’s annual Kenneth Burke Memorial Lecture at 4 p.m. April 10 in 100 Life Sciences Building at University Park.

The lecture, titled “Lives Lived Together: How John Dewey and Milton Friedman Imagined Human Relationships and Why this Matters for Contemporary Public Engagement,” will examine how interpersonal relationships impact public discourse, drawing from Dewey and Friedman’s opposing viewpoints on how individuals should interact with society at large.

According to Asen, Friedman argued that the individual was the basis of society and did not believe that the collective “we” could effectively address public issues. Conversely, Dewey believed that the relationship between an individual and his or her community formed the basis of society.

Asen’s research explores the democratic possibilities of rhetorical practice, both to build communities and divide them. Center for Democratic Deliberation Director Brad Vivian said the impact of that work extends far beyond academia.

“Robert Asen is a distinguished researcher and teacher who examines how we debate public policies in the contemporary U.S.,” Vivian said. “He also examines what those debates tell us about the social and political uses of rhetoric in the public sphere. His on-campus lecture will examine contrasting ideas about human relationships as the basis of society and the insights that those ideas provide into the state of contemporary public affairs.”

The Center for Democratic Deliberation is a center of excellence within the the McCourtney Institute for Democracy in the College of the Liberal Arts. The McCourtney Institute promotes rigorous scholarship and practical innovations to advance the democratic process in the United States and abroad.

  • Dr. Robert Asen

    Robert Asen will deliver the 2018 Kenneth Burke Memorial Lecture on April 10 at Penn State's University Park campus.

    IMAGE: Provided
Last Updated March 26, 2018