Ira Allen Lecture: "Let Us Have Faith that Right Makes Might" Proverbial Rhetoric in Decisive Moments of American Politics
Presented by Professor Wolfgang Meider
March 12, 2014
The Willard Hotel
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
5:30pm -6:30pm Lecture
Scholars of diverse fields, but notably folklorists, linguists, and cultural historians, have long shown that proverbs play a major role in everyday oral and written communication. And yet, it is amazing that despite some isolated studies relatively little is known about the effective use of these traditional bits of wisdom in the political fray. Poignant contextualized examples from Abigail Adams to Barack Obama will serve to illustrate that proverbs can obtain incredible importance in political rhetoric that goes far beyond the almost subconscious use of a seemingly mundane proverb.
Professor Wolfgang Mieder is University Distinguished Professor of German and Folklore. Having received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University he came to the University of Vermont in 1971. From 1977 until 2008 he was the chairperson of the Department of German and Russian. He has received the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award as well as the Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award. He was also honored by the Pitre International Folklore Prize, the European Fairy Tale Prize, and two years ago he received the Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award from the American Folklore Society. His most recent recognition is an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Athens at Greece.He is the author of numerous articles and many books in German and English, among them Dictionary of American Proverbs, Proverbs Are Never Out of Season: Popular Wisdom in the Modern Age, The Politics of Proverbs: From Traditional Wisdom to Proverbial Stereotypes, International Bibliography of Paremiology and Phraseology, “Making a Way Out of No Way”: Martin Luther King’s Sermonic Proverbial Rhetoric, Proverbs Are the Best Policy: Folk Wisdom and American Politics, “Yes We Can”: Barack Obama’s Proverbial Rhetoric, and “Proverbs Speak Louder Than Words”: Folk Wisdom in Art, Culture, Folklore, History, Literature, and Mass Media.