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RSA Announces American Society for the History of Rhetoric - “Rhetoric in situ.”

Symposium May 26-27, 2016

American Society for the History of Rhetoric
May 26-27, 2016

Call for Papers

The American Society for the History of Rhetoric (ASHR) invites papers to be considered for our 2016 Symposium on “Rhetoric in situ.” The Symposium will be held at the Hilton Downtown, Atlanta, GA, May 26-27, 2016, immediately prior to the Rhetoric Society of America convention. The day-and-a-half gathering will feature three keynote addresses—by Diane Favro (UCLA), Richard Leo Enos (TCU), and Dave Tell (KU)—and four panels of competitively selected papers. The ASHR Symposium has been a site of rich intellectual work animated by a collaborative ethos. AHSR prides itself on creating an environment in which scholars of all ages and all ranks join together for sustained inquiry into a given topic. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a new graduate student, please consider joining us for a stimulating discussion of “Rhetoric in situ.”

To be considered for the Symposium, please submit a one-page, single-spaced abstract to ASHR president, Kathleen Lamp, at All submissions should relate to the Symposium theme (elaborated below), be composed in English, stripped of author identification, and submitted as either a Word Document or a PDF. All submissions must be received by September 30, 2015. Authors will be notified by the end of the year.

There is no cost to attend the Symposium, although all presenters must be members of ASHR. If you are not currently a member, you will be given an opportunity to join if your paper is accepted for the Symposium. For more information on ASHR, membership, and rates see ttp://                                                          

Rhetoric in situ

In situ” is a phrase archaeologists use to describe an artifact found in its original resting place. Artifacts not in situ are generally considered to lack context. While rhetoricians seldom use the phrase, Rhetoric’s critical focus on “situation” and “context,” given fresh inertia by the spatial turn, speaks to its potential usefulness and fruitfulness.

For instance, Patricia Bizzell and Susan Jarratt have argued that one way to enhance our study of rhetoric’s traditions might be to “examine the rhetorical activity of a particular historical period in depth, with traditional, non-traditional, and new texts providing contexts for each other, and all embedded in much ‘thicker’ historical and cultural contextual descriptions than scholarship has provided heretofore” (23). Advocating for a “rhetorical archeology,” Richard Leo Enos has posited that “both our secondary research and the retrieval of new, primary resources is incomplete” and that “[t]o fully appreciate and be sensitive to rhetoric, one must understand context—in this case historical context” (40). With regard to social movement rhetoric, Danielle Endres and Samantha Senda-Cook have proposed “location matters,” since the “rhetorical deployment of place” is a “common tactic.”

The above examples represent concerns about the scope of the rhetorical tradition, methods of rhetorical historiography, the recovery of non-traditional rhetorical artifacts, and ways of addressing rhetorical context, all of which we consider to lie within the expansive bounds of rhetoric in situ.

We invite proposals that address these and related questions from any angle of rhetorically informed scholarship. Papers that address the site of the conference itself are also welcome.

Works Cited

Bizzell, Patricia, and Susan Jarratt. "Rhetorical Traditions, Pluralized Canons, Relevant History, and Other Disputed Terms: A Report from the History of Rhetoric Discussion Groups at the ARS Conference." Rhetoric Society Quarterly 34 3 (2004): 19-25. Print.

Endres, Danielle, and Samantha Senda-Cook. "Location Matters: The Rhetoric of Place in Protest." Quarterly Journal of Speech 97 3 (2011): 257-82. Print.

Enos, Richard Leo. "Rhetorical Archaeology: Established Resources, Methodological Tools, and   Basic Research Methods." The Sage Handbook of Rhetorical Studies. Ed. Lunsford, Andrea.Los Angeles: Sage, 2009. 35-52. Print.

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