We live and work in the context of change. Technologies, climate patterns, educational practices, economic models, cultural values: changes are swiftly moving channels that cut across our everyday lives. We are sometimes told that change is good, positive, and inevitable. Yet, at the same time, change can also mark volatility and loss. Change is a transformational energy.
The 2016 theme “Rhetoric and Change” can be read in two directions. Rhetoric prompts change, but we also bring change to rhetoric. Even our various definitions of rhetoric begin from the shared premise that rhetoric is the study and theory of adaptation, transformation, improvisation, alteration. In essence, rhetoric is the study of change.
Atlanta has been one such place marked by change across its history. The history of civil rights movements in Atlanta reflects the ways that rhetoric and change feed into each other, prompting changes in the ways we speak and in the ways we take action. Atlanta also mirrors a changing techno-landscape that marks many transnational cities across the world. Home to Coca-Cola, CNN, UPS, AT&T Mobility, and the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta is an inevitably point of contact with international flows of discourse, people, and things.
The 2016 conference theme invites inquiries about all kinds of change: evolutions and revolutions, transformations and deformations, progresses and failures. We encourage presenters to consider rhetorics of change and the material effects (or lack thereof) of such rhetorics. As we near the 50th anniversary of the Rhetoric Society of America, we may also consider our own disciplinary (r)evolutions.
Interested parties are invited to submit abstracts for individual papers, and proposals for panels or special format events (roundtables, debates, etc.). In recognition of rhetoric's international reach, we especially encourage proposals from scholars located outside of the United States. Panels representing only one institution are strongly discouraged and a slight preference will be shown for panels representing not only different institutions but also different disciplinary fields (e.g., Composition, English, and Communication). Submissions that take advantage of off-site venues are also encouraged, but note that submitters are responsible for the logistics of arranging these.
Individual paper proposals should be a maximum 350 words. Panel proposals for 3-4 presenters should be a maximum of 1000 words. We also invite “special format proposals,” including roundtables and alternative types of presentations. Special format proposals should be a maximum of 350 words. Individuals may not submit more than two proposals, either individually or as part of a panel.
In order to submit your proposal, please visit the RSA submission site:
Proposals Due July 15, 2015
Download a PDF of the Call for Proposals Here: RSA 2016 Call for Papers