Jim Throgmorton, professor emeritus in urban and regional planning, studies the roles of rhetoric and narrative in planning, especially with regard to making cities and regions more sustainable.
Active in the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry since 1986, Throgmorton says this focus on rhetoric and narrative conceives planning as an interactive, communicative activity. His research has been deeply influenced by engagement with a diverse array of people, both inside and outside the academic world, including serving as an elected member of the City Council of Iowa City in the mid-1990s. “POROI’s effort to facilitate interaction between scholars from diverse disciplines has enabled me to meet and work with scholars from departments all across campus and greatly influenced how I think about planning and sustainability,” said Throgmorton.
The semester-long “Toxic Talk” symposium, which he organized for POROI in 2007, exemplified his efforts to enable scholars to engage one another across disciplinary boundaries. Throgmorton also created POROI’s innovative Public Rhetoric Seminar, which has focused on timely topics such as U.S. national security strategies, No Child Left Behind, and housing and human rights in Iowa City. This year, the series featured discussions co-organized by Throgmorton on “media, space, and race” in the Iowa City area.