This volume presents the best scholarship from the 19th National Communication Association/American Forensic Association Conference on Argumentation, which took place July 30-August 2, 2015, at Cliff Lodge, Snowbird Resort, in Alta, Utah. The Alta Conference, first held in 1979, is the oldest conference in argumentation studies in the world and biennially brings together a lively group of scholars, representing a variety of countries, with diverse perspectives on the theory and practice of argument. The essays in Recovering Argument invite reflection upon and reconsideration of argumentation’s legacy, present status, and potential roles in social, cultural, and political life. Readers will encounter essays that treat the relationship between argumentation and memory, historical approaches to argumentation, the vitality of public and interpersonal argument, argument’s role in leadership, discursive and presentational forms of argument, and the challenges of difference. Readers also will find these topics addressed from a variety of historical, social-scientific, and critical-interpretive perspectives.
Randall A. Lake is Associate Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, USA, where he also was Director of Debate from 1981-1990, and Director of Forensics from 1990-1994. Among other positions, he served on the NCA Committee on International Discussion and Debate from 1998-2002, organizing exchanges with teams from the United Kingdom, Japan, the Soviet Union, and Eastern European countries. He was editor-in-chief of Argumentation and Advocacy from 2004-2008 and associate editor of three previous Alta Conference volumes. His research has appeared in Argumentation and Advocacy, Argumentation, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication Monographs, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and numerous edited collections. He also created and maintains asduniway.org, a website devoted to woman suffrage rhetoric, particularly that of Abigail Scott Duniway, of Oregon. He has received the NCA Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Dissertation Award (1982), the NCA Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for article of the year (1998), and the AFA Daniel Rohrer Research Award for article of the year (1998, 2016). His scholarship explores argumentation’s cultural and civic functions and emphasizes difference in the context of social change, focusing particularly on Native American, feminist, and conservative rhetorics.