Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
Department of Communication
800 Lancaster Ave., Villanova, PA 19085-1699, USA
Bryan Crable (Ph.D., Purdue University, 1998) is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Villanova University, and the Founding Director of Villanova’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society.
From 2004 to 2011, Dr. Crable served as chairperson of the Department of Communication at Villanova, and in 2009 proposed the creation of a new initiative: the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. After officially launching the WFI in October, 2010, Dr. Crable began to expand and extend the reach of the Institute—creating and managing scholarly and student activities that embody the necessary link between communication and the creation of social change/social justice. For example, in October 2011, the WFI sponsored a daylong symposium inspired by the constructionist work of Barnett Pearce, entitled “The Challenge of Communicating Truth.” In addition to his duties for the WFI, at Villanova Dr. Crable teaches courses in rhetorical theory, communication theory, and qualitative research methods; he has taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses focusing upon the symbolic construction of identity, including “Rhetoric, Identity, and Conflict,” “Rhetoric and Everyday Ritual,” and “Communication, Identity, and Madness.”
Dr. Crable is the author of Ralph Ellison and Kenneth Burke: At the Roots of the Racial Divide (University of Virginia Press, 2012) and editor of the forthcoming collection Transcendence by Perspective: Kenneth Burke, Social Conflict, Social Change (Parlor Press). He has twice won the Charles Kneupper Award from the Rhetoric Society of America, and, for his scholarly and professional contributions to the discipline, has been awarded the Kenneth Burke Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, he has published over a dozen essays in leading rhetoric and communication journals, including The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, Argumentation & Advocacy, and Western Journal of Communication.
His research and teaching interests arose during his doctoral interdisciplinary studies in philosophy and communication—where he first began to explore the intersection between symbolicity and individual and social identity. Initially, he worked on an approach to this intersection that combined the influential rhetorical theory of Kenneth Burke with the existential philosophies of Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. However, this approach broadened after his arrival at Villanova, and he began to explore this relationship of individual and community in light of recent developments in feminist and critical race theory, as well as the history of language (the shift from orality to literacy, and shifts in communication technology more generally). His most recent work is focused upon the assumptions and practices typically understood as “eugenics.” Rather than examining the practices themselves, this work is asking a different kind of question: what if we look at eugenics not as a series of arguments under the cloak of science, but as a kind of linguistic practice, a symbolic vocabulary constructing the nonsymbolic dimensions of human existence—a linguistic reflection upon the pre-linguistic and embodied features of human beings? By addressing this question, Dr. Crable hopes to make a contribution to scholarly and popular conversations about human difference, and to our global dialogues about social change and social justice.