Archive for Introductions

Our long national nightmare is over…

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We know what you’re thinking… “OK, the presidential campaign is in full swing, Paul Ryan is the Republican Veep nominee, the GOP convention has concluded and the Democratic convention is days away, the economic recovery is still slow and painful (with everyone blaming everybody else), the media fact-checkers and cable news commentators are having conniption fits… and we’re watching Clint Eastwood chastise an empty chair without a script, while you guys are nowhere to be found?”

Guilty as charged. We won’t try to put up a front — blogging can be hard when things get busy… and then the regret points start piling up (“oh, we missed this… oops, we missed that… how could we let that one get away?”). But we’ve missed the action as much as you have, so it’s time to jump back into the fray.

Labor Day traditionally is the time when political campaigns relaunch themselves, to reintroduce themselves to their fans and foes and to introduce themselves to a new set of audiences seeing them for the first time. Thus it shall be with the Political Denizens. If you are reading us for the first time, we welcome you to our citadel of Beyond the Beltway commentary from an interdisciplinary, liberal arts perspective. Please check out our intro page and find out more about us.

For our true believers, waiting anxiously for another taste, here it comes. Say tuned for a debriefing of the Republican National Convention, a guest article from Honorary Denizen Janis Edwards and her students from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa on GOP spouses, and more. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well, where we’ll share some of our favorite online news and blog articles.

And……… RELAUNCH!

All About Dr. Steve Klien

So, when folks consult “experts” in American politics, political scientists and historians tend to be the go-to specialists.  What can a rhetorician bring to the table? A little background on me might shed some light.

I am currently Associate Professor of Communication Studies, and Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Division of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.  As a member of the Communication Studies Department faculty, I teach courses in political communication, rhetorical theory and criticism, media studies, and communication research. Two of the current staples of my teaching responsibilities are courses entitled “Communication, Politics, and Citizenship” (an introduction to political communication and rhetorical studies), and “Critical Analysis of Messages” (a course in the rhetorical criticism of public address, which I teach in a Learning Community with Chris Whitt on “The American Presidency in Times of Crisis”).

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All About Dr. Christopher Whitt

I have been living in Rock Island, Illinois since moving here to take a position as a professor in the political science department at Augustana College in August of 2007. Being a part of a supportive and dynamic department such as Augustana’s Political Science Department has be a real blessing. A little while after arriving at Augustana I became one of the four principle founders and a contributing faculty member in the college’s Africana Studies program. Another one of my roles at the college is advising a number of student organizations and working closely with the administration on issues pertaining to diversity in the faculty, administration, staff and even the student body. Continually I have worked to make special efforts to reach beyond the boundaries of the Augustana campus into Rock Island, the Quad Cities community and across the country in many instances of service and outreach.

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We are the Political Denizens

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Politics aggravates a lot of people. Politics confuses a lot of people. And because of this, politics disaffects a lot of people. According to a May 21, 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press,

More than three-quarters (76%) agree that “elected officials in Washington lose touch with the people pretty quickly.” More than half (51%) agree that “people like me don’t have any say about what the government does.”

This condition, clearly, is most troubling for a political system and a larger political culture committed (at least in theory) to a democracy grounded in the active participation of citizens. We find ourselves in an irksome paradox: the shape of our politics can’t improve without active citizen involvement, but active citizen involvement is depressed to a large extent due to the state of our politics. What to do?  The Political Denizens believe that informed discourse on our public life is a crucial piece to this puzzle.

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