Celeste Condit

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This page provides information about Celeste Condit's contribution to the conversation of Kenneth Burke and his theory of the Dramatistic Pentad.

Personal Information

Celeste M. Condit, Ph.D. is a professor of speech communication at the University of Georgia.

Post-Burke Response

Being the often patriarchal discipline that it is, Condit explores sex and gender in the realm of Kenneth Burke's Definition of Man in her 1992 essay "Post-Burke: Transcending the Sub-Stance of Dramatism." Condit explains that “in Burke’s writing there is basically one gender—man,” though other genders, not limited to women, are recognized in the present day (350). Condit goes on to recognize that Burke classifies women under “Man” rather than classically popular “not-Man” (351). Language which is built in positive and negatives, as seen in Condit’s example that women primarily exist as “not men”, rather than a positive entity, do not fairly represent the human experience. When Burke defines Man as “symbol-making” and “symbol-misusing,” Condit believes that he is reinforcing the idea that men are active and creative. A “Man’s women,” on the other hand, must be seen, according to Condit’s analysis of Burke, as “symbol-receiving” and “passive.” Therein lays the inherent oppressive force of men against women, Condit explains, because women may only use what men have created. Ultimately, language defined by men will inherently favor men and treat women and other genders as passive, and therefore less significant, beings.

In 1999, Phyllis M. Japp wrote the essay “Can This Marriage Be Saved? Reclaiming Burke for Feminist Scholarship" as a part of the journal Kenneth Burke and the 21st Century to respond to Condit's Post-Burke arguments.

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