2019 Br. Robert Smith Lecture

Kristin Mathe ColettaKristin Summer-Mathe Coletta '06

Rhetoric, Power, and Politics

A Study of Arguments Over the Value of Public Sector Employees


Part 1 is the lecture and Part 2 is the Q&A. Choose using the upper right corner icon.

Below are the slides used by Kristin during the lecture as well as the transcript. 



Brief bio:

Kristin graduated from the Integral program in 2006. She earned a Masters from Texas A&M University in 2009 and PhD in Rhetoric and Public Address from Penn State in 2013. Her hops across country for education have allowed her to live in vastly different climates, both environmentally and politically. Dr. Coletta studies rhetoric used in forming public policy. She is interested in the exchanges between social movements and politicians in the formation of policies impacting the poor and working class.


U.S. public sector employees are both workers and citizens. Because of the type of work they do, these roles often conflate at work. As politicians seek to change the size, shape, and roles of government, public sector employees are directly impacted. Public employees speak out both as workers through their unions or media, and as citizens in the political processes that impact their working conditions and compensation. Law makers and other elected officials speak out to justify policies. From this cacophony I seek to extract key arguments that indicate how the workers and their labor are valued. Arguments for future changes to political and economic practices can take as a starting point how we now publicly value workers and citizens.

 Seminar Reading:

Article by Lloyd F. Blitzer: “The Rhetorical Situation.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 1 (January, 1968) 1–14

 Material referred to in lecture:

Richard Trunka’s speech at a rally January 10, 2019

AFSCME Letter on Re-Opening the Federal Government, January, 2019

Scott Walker’s 2011 State of the State Address

Michael Moore, “America is not Broke” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgNuSEZ8CDw&feature=player_embedded


2014 Br. Robert Lecture

2014 Br. Robert Lecture Lecture by Albert Dragstedt

albert3For those who missed the lecture, here is an audio recording as well as the written text. NB the written text is an updated edited version.

Crafting Workable Tradition






2015 Br. Robert Lecture

2015 Br. Robert Lecture Lecture by Br. Raphael Patton

Faith and a Fish Tale: Discerning a Text

For those who missed the lecture, here is an video recording as well as the written text.

Download a PDF verison of the lecture



Noah Friedman-Biglin, '05 - Lecture on Mathematical Truth



On the Very Possibility of Mathematical Truth

Here is an audio of a recent lecture by Noah Friedman-Biglin, Class of '05 delivered Sept. 8, 2015


Noah Friedman-Biglin - On the Very Possibility of Mathematical Truth