Wednesday, June 06, 2007

CFP: Rhetoric Society of America, 2008

RSA 2008: Call for Proposals

The Responsibilities of Rhetoric

Seattle, the location of RSA 2008, by virtue of its identity and its imagery compels us to meditate together on the macroforces that are currently shaping our discipline and our democracy.

Seattle means coffee and Boeing and the Port--all of them symbols of the international, globalized market economy and its attendant perils. Seattle means Microsoft and --megacorporations produced by and producing new (and sometimes vexing) communications technologies and practices. Seattle means "metronatural" life: REI (Recreation Equipment Inc.) and bicycles, eco-consciousness and the just-launched Puget Sound Partnership, urban spaces surrounded by Elliott Bay and Mt. Rainier--all of it a reminder of ecological challenges that must be negotiated through rhetoric. And Seattle means multiculturalism: the polyglot citizens who gather at Pike Place Market or Starbucks are African American and native American, Anglo and Asian, Latino and mestizo, native and immigrant.

Let us come together in Seattle, therefore, to consider The Responsibilities of Rhetoric. How can the study and practice of rhetoric contribute to social progress? What does rhetoric offer as means of understanding and coping with globalization, particularly at a time when "global" is associated with "terror" and "exploitation"? What do rhetorical studies have to offer in a presidential election year when political discourses and popular fundamentalisms are polarizing, confrontational, divisive? How do new media affect civic participation and the conduct of argument half a century after The New Rhetoric, The Uses of Argument, and The Rhetoric of Motives? How can rhetorical studies contribute to scientific exchange, technology transfer, and risk management--all in the interest of public and disciplinary good, and particularly on environmental issues? In a nation suspicious of difference, concerned with security, and newly armed with snooping technologies, can rhetorical pedagogies nevertheless protect civil liberties, sustain civic cooperation, and promote understanding and identification? And how can our professional society be sure that our scholarly methodologies and assumptions are themselves highly ethical?

While participants are invited to present their current research on all the topics that fall within the domain of rhetorical studies, the Program Committee will especially appreciate proposals that engage with The Responsibilities of Rhetoric.

Proposals for sessions and individual presentations – due by September 15, 2007 – must be submitted electronically: directions will be posted here shortly. There you will also find information (and regular updates) on housing, registration, special features, and other aspects of RSA 2008.
I should probably try to go--my first RSA presentation was in 1998 and my most recent one was in 2002...

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