Weapons of Mass Seduction: Rhetoric and Political Discourse in the U.S.

November 6, 2013 to November 9, 2013

One year after the 2012 U.S. presidential elections an international conference will be hosted jointly by the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg and the University of Ghent. Both Ghent and Middelburg possess close links with former U.S. presidents: the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, negotiated the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, while the Roosevelt family originated from the province of Zeeland, of which Middelburg is the main town.

The conference encompasses American political discourse and rhetoric in the widest sense. The three keynotes – Herbert Simons (Temple University), Dietmar Till (University of Tubingen), and David Zarefsky (Northwestern University) – will introduce key themes on persuasion, style, and political campaigning. The rest of the conference includes panels divided up into three broad themes: Historical, Contemporary, and Theoretical Approaches. Fifty papers will be delivered, with speakers attending from institutions in twelve different countries across Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Specialists of ancient and modern rhetoric, historians, political scientists, linguists, and communication specialists will all be present, allowing for contrasts, comparisons, and continuity between the disciplines.

Organising Committee
Gert Buelens (UG)
Michael Burke (UCR)
Danny Praet (UG)
Giles Scott-Smith (RSC)

Conference website


The RSC gratefully acknowledges sponsorship for this program by the Province of Zeeland.