Steven Mailloux (Loyola Marymount University - USA)

Under the Sign of Theology: Kenneth Burke on Language and the Supernatural Order

Photo of Steven MaillouxThis paper will examine Burke’s rhetorical paths of theological thought in the 1960s. “Theotropic Logology” is one way of characterizing Burke’s approach in a series of publications and conference papers during that period. Through theotropic logology, or words about words about God, Burke developed a distinctive rhetorical hermeneutics in addressing questions at the intersection of what he called (in “What Are the Signs of What?”) the linguistic and supernatural orders. This paper tries to think with Burke on these what-questions using published essays and unpublished archival materials.


Steven Mailloux is President's Professor of Rhetoric at Loyola Marymount University. He received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Literature at the University of Southern California and has taught at Temple University, University of Miami, Syracuse University, and the University of California, Irvine. He is the co-editor of Interpreting Law and Literature (1988) and editor of Rhetoric, Sophistry, Pragmatism (1995) as well as the author of Interpretive Conventions: The Reader in the Study of American Fiction (1982), Rhetorical Power (1989), Reception Histories: Rhetoric, Pragmatism, and American Cultural Politics (1998), and Disciplinary Identities: Rhetorical Paths of English, Speech, and Composition (2006). Mailloux teaches courses in rhetoric, critical theory, political theology, and U.S. cultural studies.