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David Frank has served as a professor at the University of Oregon since 1981 and as the founding dean of the Clark Honors College from 2008-2013. He is also one of fifty Carnegie Council Global Ethics Fellows selected for expertise in international ethics. His research and teaching interests feature what James Crosswhite has recently termed “deep rhetoric,” the study and practice of reason expressed in argumentation seeking justice. Professor Frank’s research agenda incorporates rhetorical theory and history, with a focus on Chaïm Perelman’s new rhetoric project, argumentation and forensics education, the rhetoric of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the rhetoric of Barack Obama. Professor Frank has published six books, 13 book chapters, and 35 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He has presented 50 papers to international and national conferences on rhetoric, communication, and the humanities.
In July 2014, he will deliver one of four keynote addresses scheduled for a conference on rhetoric hosted at the University of Oxford. His paper is on the timelines of deep rhetoric in the twentieth Century. He has been selected as one of four scholars to present research at a “Supersession” hosted by the Rhetoric Society of America in San Antonio, Texas the same month. Forthcoming articles and book chapters include: “The Vickers-Chén Exchange: A Report from the University of Oxford Interactive Seminar on Rhetoric in the 21st Century, July 3-7, 2012” Peking University Journal of the Humanities (2015) (In Chinese), “At the Limits of Trauma: Barack Obama’s Tucson Memorial Speech, 12 January 2011.” Rhetoric and Public Affairs (2014), and “The Jewish Rhetoric of the Twentieth Century: Chaïm Perelman, Double Fidélité, and the Pre-Holocaust Roots of the New Rhetoric Project” in Jewish Rhetorics. Eds Michael Bernard-Donals and Janice Fernheimer (Brandeis University Press, 2014) and an invited chapter in The Making of Barack Obama (Parlor Press, 2015). He is completing a book, in collaboration with Suzanne Clark, on Robert D. Clark, the president of the University of Oregon (1969-1975) and the founder of the Clark Honors College. He is also working on a long-term project, funded by the Korea Research Foundation, on the relationship between Robert T. Oliver and the first president of Korea, Syngman Rhee.
Professor Frank’s Frames of Evil: Holocaust as Horror in American Film, coauthored with Carol Picard (Southern Illinois Press), is “highly recommended” by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, the premier source for reviews of academic books. The book, Choice continues, “Offer(s) careful research, clear description, and valuable historical insights--but avoid(s) jargon and reference to less-familiar films--the authors reveal how the myriad faces of evil come to the screen.” Arthur Neal in his review concludes it is “a compelling and provocative piece of work.” Dominick LaCapra (Cornell University) writes that the book is “theoretically informed and insightful.” Professor Frank’s Shared Land/Conflicting Identity: Trajectories of Israeli and Palestinian Symbol Use, coauthored with Robert Rowland (Michigan State University Press) considers the arguments Palestinians and Israelis use in their civil war. The book received the Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism. This is one of the largest awards established to sustain and advance the study of rhetoric in American higher education and for work of the highest quality in the field of rhetorical criticism. Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries highly recommends the book and states “The authors not only elucidate the symbolic dynamic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also present a clear, nuanced, balanced account of Zionism, the Palestinian intifada, the Oslo Accords, and other attempts at peace, and of leaders such as Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Yassir Arafat, and Haider Abdel Shafi.” Rasha I. Ramzy in her review published in Rhetoric and Public Affairs writes “Rowland and Frank’s analysis is also refreshingly balanced, even objective. They bring a real sobriety and seriousness to the issue by suggesting how symbols simultaneously produce a faithful following but also a blind faithfulness that prevents compromise.”
Dr. Frank has developed a significant body of work on Chaïm Perelman’s new rhetoric project; arguably the most important theory of rhetoric in the twentieth century. Susan Handelman of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University observes “Frank has written several outstanding essays on Perelman’s The New Rhetoric.” One of these essays, “The Jewish Counter model: Talmudic Argumentation, the New Rhetoric Project, and the Classical Tradition of Rhetoric” received the Religious Communication Association’s “Article of the Year” award. This body of research is the result of significant archival research in Israel, Belgium, and the United States. Among Professor Frank’s contributions to the literature on the Palestinian – Israeli civil war is his collaboration with Shaul Cohen, a prominent University of Oregon geographer. Their “Innovative Approaches to Ethno-territorial Conflict,” published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, develops new insights on how the conflict over space in Jerusalem, Hebron, and the Jordan Valley might yield to needs-based bargaining. John Agnew, President of the Association of American Geographers, cited Frank and Cohen’s work as an example of novel thinking in his 2009 presidential address.
Professors Mark McPhail and David Frank wrote the first extended analysis of Barack Obama in 2005 for Rhetoric and Public Affairs. Jack Shafer, senior editor of Slate, highlighted their analysis in a February 14, 2008 feature and Dr. Frank was interviewed by National Public Radio on February 20, 2008 for a segment devoted to political rhetoric. He has subsequently written articles on Obama’s race speech, first inaugural address, and his Tucson Memorial for Rhetoric and Public Affairs.
Professor Frank is the recipient of five teaching awards, including three university wide recognitions and a career achievement award in forensics. He teaches upper-division colloquia in the Clark Honors College and in the Writing, Public Speaking, and Critical Reasoning program, which is located in the Department of English. He has overseen the UO Forensics Program (now directed by Trond Jacobsen) since 1981, which won recent national championships (2001, 2009, and 2011) and international recognition, with a team that reached the semifinal round at the 2006 World Universities Championship in Dublin Ireland. As Dean of the Clark Honors College, he reduced class size from 25 to 19, hired outstanding new faculty members, secured funding necessary for faculty salary increases and the initial renovations of Chapman Hall (the academic home of the College), and collaborated with UO Housing to create the residential home of the college, the Global Scholars Hall. He has also served the university as chair of the personnel committee (the Dean’s Advisory Committee) for the College of Arts and Sciences, the chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee (an elected faculty committee that advises the president and provost), and as chair of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Trademark Licensing and Monitoring committee, among other responsibilities.