Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Committee Member

Raymond Quiel, Thesis Chair

Committee Member

Jack Kay, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nick Romerhausen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Marion


In this study, I detail the forensics education of Kenneth Burke, a leading rhetorical theorist and critic of the twentieth century. After investigating this previously unexamined area, I argue that Burke’s competitive forensics experiences pivotally informed his rhetorical schema. Theoretically guided by Burke’s pivotal term the forensic, I begin by mapping the contours of Burke’s educational biography. Next, I analyze and reconstruct Burke’s forensics education by focusing on the forensic organizations of Peabody High School, Burke’s literary society experiences at Ohio State University and Columbia University, and the literary activities of Greenwich Village. Finally, I proffer connections between forensics and two of Burke’s key terms, the parlor and ritual drama, and discuss illuminations, contributions, and directions regarding the pedagogy, theory, and biography of Kenneth Burke.

Included in

Communication Commons