Rhetoric Society of America 2008

Rhetoric Society of America

Call for Proposals

13th Biennial Conference
Westin Hotel
Seattle, Washington
May 23-26, 2008

Conference Theme: 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 Amazon.com --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 on www.rhetoricsociety.org shortly. There you will also find information (and regular updates) on housing, registration, special features, and other aspects of RSA 2008.

Plenary Speakers:

Charles Johnson

One of the leading current American artists and public intellectuals, MacArthur Fellow Charles Johnson won the 1990 National Book Award for his novel Middle Passage. His most recent novel, Dreamer, and the title story of his short fiction collection Dr. King's Refrigerator both meditate on the career of Martin Luther King, Jr.

David Zarefsky

Owen L. Coon Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, past president of the National Communication Association and current president of RSA, David Zarefsky is the author of five books and the editor of many more, including President Johnson's War on Poverty and Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate.

Additional Plenary and Featured Speakers:

To Be Announced

For Graduate Students:

RSA is always friendly to graduate students. RSA 2008 will be especially noteworthy for its
• Networking opportunities
• Professionalism seminars
• Opportunities for graduate students to get expert responses to work in progress
• Conference and hotel rates for graduate students
Consult the RSA web site-- www.rhetoricsociety.org--for periodic announcements and updates on these and other features, as details become available.

How to Participate in RSA 2008: Watch for further announcements and news items on listservs and at www.rhetoricsociety.org.

Conference Director:

Jack Selzer
Penn State University

Local Site Coordinators:

Leah Ceccarelli, University of Washington
George Dillon, University of Washington
Jim Jasinski, University of Puget Sound