Byron Hawk is an Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. His research interests are histories and theories of composition, rhetorical theory and technology, and rhetorics of popular music. He is the author of A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), which won JAC's W. Ross Winterowd Award in 2007 and received honorable mention for MLA's Mina Shaughnessy Prize in 2008.

on seriousness

Rhetoric is "the art of carrying on a serious business of the understanding as if it were a free play of the imagination." (Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment)

"Philosophy is the most serious of things, but then again it is not all that serious." (Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics)

"The pure examples of Camp are unintentional; they are dead serious." (Susan Sontag, "Notes On 'Camp'")

For those in power, "Rhetoric is offered as serious study only by the enemies of truth, who wish to support their heresies through an unorthodox use of language." (James Berlin, Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures)

"Even as we take our jobs as teachers terribly, deadly seriously, we should not confuse this commitment with the impulse to take ourselves . . . too seriously." (Julie Lindquist, "Class Affects, Classroom Affections")

"Why do I want to write, why do I want to make a track, why do I want to do this installation? They're all hobbies, which keeps the fun. If I were a dead serious artist guy, who wanted to just strictly be in all the right collections, and network the gallery scene, that's easily done. Same with the DJ circuit. But by being a hobbyist, a kind of flaneur, or somebody who jumps around, it keeps things fresh and new." (Paul Miller/DJ Spooky, Rhythm Science)


Department of English
Humanities Office Building
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208

English Office: English Phone: (803) 777-4203
English Fax: (803) 777-9064

Email: byron [dot] hawk [at] gmail [dot] com
Office: Humanities Office Building, 408