On Thursday, Oct. 2, Professor Angela G. Ray, a renowned communication scholar with a specialty in studying the history of the Clionan Debating Society in the antebellum US, presented the Department of Communication’s 28th annual B. Aubrey Fisher Memorial Lecture, titled “A Green Oasis in the History of My Life”: Race and the Culture of Debating in Antebellum Charleston, South Carolina. The event included a lecture from Ray, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, where she narrated the history of this remarkable debating society established in 1847 by a group of young African American men, drawing on unpublished and rarely examined manuscript archives. Comparing the Clionians to other debating clubs throughout the country, she sought to assess the significance of debate as a popular educational practice in the antebellum United States, especially in relation to race, gender, economics, national and regional belonging, and political turmoil.
The next morning, Ray conducted an informal seminar, Writing Rhetorical History in Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Contexts: The Case of the Nineteenth Century U.S. Lyceum, which was attended by graduate students and professors at the U. By all accounts, the two-day event was a great success, and wrapped up the 28th year of annual B. Aubrey Fisher Lecturers. The event was established by the Department of Communication in 1986 to recognize the late Fisher’s outstanding achievements as a communication scholar and to provide a forum for presenting original research and theory in communication. Thank you to all who attended!