University of Minnesota
literacy & rhetorical studies
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spiral staircaseSpeaker Series

The interdisciplinary graduate minor in Literacy and Rhetorical Studies sponsors a Speaker Series to engage the University community in rich discussions about the uses of language, reading, and writing. Please see the Past Speaker Series page for earlier presentations.


2021 Speaker Series

co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Program

Catastrophe and Political Mourning in the Book of Mormon

A talk featuring David Charles Gore, author of The Voice of the People: Political Rhetoric in the Book of Mormon

Friday, February 12, 2021
12:00–1:00 pm

Register via this form to have the Zoom link sent to you.

Download the flyer.

Dr. Gore describes his talk below:

Without foreclosing any religious readings of the text, my aim is to explore how the catastrophes recounted in Book of Mormon history can inform our notions of civic engagement and what it means to live a virtuous life in a world torn by political conflict. When viewed in secular terms, the Book of Mormon offers a narrative of tragic and repeated political failure. It is full of cycles of social genesis and dramatic, lamentable declension and destruction. Yet paradoxically, the Book of Mormon’s secular tone constitutes an apocalyptic sublime. The political rhetoric that emerges from the narrative orients us toward being-in-and-for-others by awaking to mournfulness. What does it mean to mourn, and how can mourning improve public discourse? Mourning is a species of Memory, the fourth canon of rhetoric. Its signal contribution to politics is that mourning allows us to recollect the limits of the political, and such recollection may help us steer clear of abject political failure and civilizational demise.

photo credit Brett Groehler


For other literacy- and rhetorical studies–related events at the University of Minnesota and locally, check out these websites:

Immigration History Research Center events (College of Liberal Arts)

Thursdays at Four (Institute for Advanced Study)

Events (School of Law)

Events (University Libraries)