David Frank is professor of rhetoric at the University of
Oregon and served dean of the University of Oregon Clark Honors College from 2008-2013. He will serve fall semester 2018 as the Ngee Ann Kongsi (NAK) Distinguished
Visiting Professor in the National University Scholars program at the National
University of Singapore.
and teaching interests feature what James Crosswhite has recently termed “deep
rhetoric,” the study and practice of reason expressed in argumentation seeking
justice. His research collaborations with colleagues on rhetoric, violence, and
nonviolence have won awards from the National Science Foundation, the National
Endowment for the Humanities, and the Korean Research Foundation. He was also
selected by the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs as a
Global Ethics Fellow.
His book, with Robert Rowland, on Israeli-Palestinian
rhetoric, won the prestigious Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism, and
his article on the “new rhetoric” was awarded the Journal of Communication and
Religion’s “Article of the Year.” He has delivered keynote lectures at the
University of Oxford and Peking University and has published six books, 13 book
chapters, and 40 articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.
Keynote Address: What is the Promise of Intercultural Communication? Arguments,
Counter-Arguments, Red America - Blue America, and the Temple Mount/ Haram
Abstract: I invite for your consideration my argument: A host of
empirical studies suggest violence has been declining for centuries, a trend
that has continued through the twentieth century and will do so now and into
the future because of reason-based intercultural communication. Here is a first counter-argument: A host of empirical studies, plus common
sense, suggest the world has been and is moving rapidly toward an apocalypse,
aided and abetted by toxic expressions of intercultural communication.
Here is yet a second counter-argument that
joins my argument with the first counter-argument: A host of empirical studies support
the claim violence has been declining for centuries, most notably since the end
of World War II because of reason-based intercultural communication, but this
long peace of 65 years is now yielding to the toxic consequences of climate
change and the rhetoric of dehumanization, with Armageddon now on the immediate
horizon. The first argument gives birth
to optimism, the second to pessimism, and the third to a form of opti-pessimism.
I advocate and will defend my argument in this address, while honoring and interrogating
my argument with the strongest versions of counter-arguments one and two. In so doing, I enact the promise of
intercultural communication to offer reason rather than violence as a response
to disagreement. I support my argument
with two case studies based on my research: the promise of intercultural
communication to bridge the divide between “Red” and “Blue” America and the
role intercultural communication has played to sustain a challenging “Status
Quo” agreement allowing Muslims, Christians, and Jews to share the Temple Mount
in Jerusalem/al Quds.