UT Austin professor to present lecture on rhetoric and demagoguery April 16

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Patricia Roberts-Miller, professor of rhetoric and writing at the University of Texas-Austin, will deliver the Penn State Center for Democratic Deliberation’s annual Kenneth Burke Memorial Lecture at 4 p.m. April 16 in the Nittany Lion Inn Faculty-Staff Club.

The lecture, titled “The Rhetoric of Hitler’s Battle and Hitler’s Rhetoric in Battle” will examine Burke’s interpretation of Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric in “Mein Kampf.” It will explore the strengths and weaknesses of Burke’s analysis by emphasizing Hitler’s deliberations with his generals and how it differed from conversations at his rallies and other conversations.

Patrica Roberts-Miller, professor of Rhetoric and Writing and director of the University Writing Center at the University of Texas at Austin, will present the Center for Democratic Deliberation's Kenneth Burke lecture April 16 at 4 p.m.  Credit: Image ProvidedAll Rights Reserved.

Roberts-Miller’s work focuses on the history, theory and pedagogy of public argumentation — particularly around demagoguery. She is the author of two recent books on demagoguery, “Rhetoric and Demagoguery,” released earlier this year and “Demagoguery and Democracy,” published in 2017.

Center for Democratic Deliberation Director Brad Vivian said Roberts-Miller’s work has broad appeal among faculty, students and the general public.

“Roberts-Miller consistently shows how dangerous forms of language or argument threaten to corrupt social, political and moral discourse — particularly in periods of controversy or conflict. Her work is rooted in historical as well as contemporary subject matter, and is accessible to both interdisciplinary audiences and general readers," said Vivian.

The annual Kenneth Burke Memorial Lecture honors the legacy of the American literary theorist, poet, essayist and novelist for which it is named. Burke taught at University Park and his papers are archived in the Penn State Libraries.

Roberts-Miller’s lecture is free and open to the public. The Center for Democratic Deliberation is a center of excellence within the McCourtney Institute for Democracy in the College of the Liberal Arts. For more information, visit

Last Updated March 26, 2019