Call for Papers/Abstracts – An Interdisciplinary Conference on The thought of Walter J. Ong, S.J.


Father Ong was a student of Marshall McLuhan at Saint Louis University, where the latter taught in the late ’30s until 1944. McLuhan supervised Ong’s MA thesis on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins and pointed him in the direction of Peter Ramus for his doctoral dissertation at Harvard. McLuhan references Ong’s scholarship often in his writing and correspondence. Anyone interested in McLuhan’s work will also be interested in Father Ong’s.

Technology, Rhetoric, and Cultural Change: Walter J. Ong, S. J. in the Age of Google, Facebook, and Twitter

Walter Ong was among the foremost theorists of rhetoric and culture in the 20th century. A student of Marshall McLuhan and Perry Miller, his dissertation on the importance of Peter Ramus, a 16th century logician and developer of a deeply influential pedagogy, brought him an international audience. Over the course of his long career, he published several books and hundreds of essays, most arguing that the technology of human communication is reflected, however indirectly, in human consciousness.

This interdisciplinary conference will celebrate Ong’s legacy and the tradition of Jesuit scholarship. As enthusiasts of new media daily claim its transformative status – the Tunisians Twittered their way to revolution, Coursera will end classroom teaching, etc. – the conference will take us a step closer to understanding their significance and the role of Walter Ong in our understanding of the emerging world they promise.

The conference will take place on the campus of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington on Friday and Saturday, February 7-8, 2014. Papers from any field welcomed. Please send abstracts (only) of approximately 200 words to by September 1st.

Notifications of acceptance will be emailed by October 1st. Please include a contact email address with the abstract. Questions should be addressed to Kathy at the above email address.

John S. Caputo, Professor, Chair, and Walter Ong S.J., Scholar, Gonzaga University,

File:Gonzaga University 360.jpg

Gonzaga University is named after a young 16th century Italian Jesuit, Aloysius Gonzaga, who died in Rome trying to save young people from the plague. He was later named the patron saint of youth.

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