Professor Charles E. Morris III of Syracuse University’s Communication and Rhetorical Studies Department presented “Sunder the Children: Abraham Lincoln’s Queer Rhetorical Pedagogy” as the 2013 Rhetorical Leadership Lecture.
The lecture aimed to queer Lincoln memory and pedagogy in the interest of rhetorical K-12 education and LGBTQ world-making. Morris argued that schools constitute a primary habitat of homophobia that contributes centrally to devastating bullying in the U.S. Drawing on the work of queer educational theorists, Morris weighed constraints on intervention, especially longstanding and pervasive discourses of recruitment, against the prospects of curricular resistance by means of rhetorical pedagogy. Then, with a queer inflection on Lincoln’s rhetorical corpus and performance, Morris used Abraham Lincoln as the queer modality of turns on conventional thinking about his sexuality and lessons, examining what useful these might bring to the K-12 classroom.
In the doubled sense of queering public address and embodying the “citizen-scholar,” this project extended and deepened what Cara Finnegan and John Murphy envisioned as “Lincoln’s rhetorical worlds.” Dr. Morris’s research interests include rhetorical criticism, queer studies, and public memory. He has twice won NCA’s Golden Anniversary Monograph Award (2003, 2010) for publishing the best article in the field.
Some photos from the event: