Professor Christian Kock
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

“Defining Rhetoric – and Defending It at the Same Time: A New-Found Apocryphal Dialogue Between Gorgias and Socrates”

This dialogue, which Professor Kock will introduce and present to the public for the first time at the conference, is set in the Elysian Fields. In it, Gorgias the ‘sophist’ –the man who first introduced rhetoric in Athens– encounters Socrates and defends himself against the criticisms of him and of rhetoric made by Socrates in Plato’s dialogues. After studying Plato’s student, Aristotle, Gorgias proposes a way to define rhetoric that he thinks identifies it as a coherent and meaningful discipline in the world of learning, and might also provide a sound basis on which to build a an academic study program in rhetoric. Socrates, finding the tables turned on him for a change, thinks it’s a very hot day.

CV: Christian Kock is Professor of Rhetoric in the Department of Media, Cognition, and Communication at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. With a background in comparative literature, he has published and taught on argumentation theory, political debate, credibility, political journalism, the history of rhetoric, literary aesthetics and reception theory, versification, musical aesthetics, and writing pedagogy. He is author or co-author of numerous books, book chapters and articles in Danish and English on rhetoric, political debate, argumentation, literary experience and pedagogy, poetics, musicology, and journalism. His recent publications include De svarer ikke (They Are Not Answering), 2011, Rhetorical Citizenship and Public Deliberation, Penn State University Press, 2012 (with Lisa Villadsen), Ordets magt (The Power of the Word), 2012, and Retorisk praksis (Rhetorical Practice), 2013. He is on the editorial board of several international journals and is a frequent commentator on political debate and journalism in Danish national media.

Rhetoric in Athens

Conference on Rhetoric