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August 1, 2014

Dr. Elvera Berry Receives the 9th Triennial Kenneth Burke Society Award

Elvera Berry received a standing ovation as she accepted the Kenneth Burke Society Distinguished Service Award at the 9th Triennial Conference, held at St. Louis University, July 17-20, 2014. She spoke at the first Burke Conference at Temple University in 1984, one of several conferences attended by Kenneth Burke, and has been an active member since its formation. She continues to serve as secretary for the Society.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes extraordinary service to the society. Comments in the citation award included: “Elvera has worked tirelessly to broaden awareness of Burke’s work in the broader scholarly community. She initiated the Eastern Communication Association’s Kenneth Burke Interest Group; organizes panels and gives papers at regional and national conferences annually on topics ranging from literature and music to religion and civil rights; has prepared dozens of undergraduates to present papers at conferences; and has trained impressive numbers of Burkean scholars who have gone on to earn Masters and PhDs at Maryland, Buffalo, Penn State, Villanova, Duke, Duquesne, among other universities.”

Who was Kenneth Burke?

The Kenneth Burke Society Kenneth Duva Burke (1897-1993)—grandfather of famed Harry Chapin—was a poet, literary and social critic, rhetorical theorist, long-term professor at Bennington College and esteemed visiting professor at Chicago, Harvard, Iowa, Princeton, etc. A contemporary and friend of early 20th century American writers (e.e. cummings. T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Malcolm Cowley, Hart Crane, and the like), Burke was music editor and writer for The Dial literary magazine. Part of the New Criticism movement, Burke was awarded the National Medal for Literature in 1981. He is recognized as one of the few writers, philosophers, and critics whose creative genius spanned the 20th century and whose influence in the study of human beings as language-users is studied across academic disciplines.

What is The Kenneth Burke Society?

“The Kenneth Burke Society, founded in 1984, is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York since 1988. The Society has hundreds of members from a variety of academic disciplines, including English, Speech Communication, Sociology, Economics, Philosophy, Mass Communication, Religion, and Rhetoric. The Society sponsors the KB Journal, a triennial conference, affiliated groups in national and regional organizations,” as well as access to Kenneth Burke holdings at major libraries and internet sources. “The purpose of the Kenneth Burke Society is to promote the study, understanding, dissemination of, research on, critical analysis of, and preservation of the works of and about Kenneth Burke.”


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