RSA Awards

The Rhetoric Society of America gives a Book Award and a Dissertation Award for the best work in rhetorical study in a given year. Additionally, it recognizes achievement in scholarship and professional service by naming Fellows to the Society and giving the George E. Yoos Award at its biennial meeting. The best article published in RSQ is recognized with the Charles Kneupper Award, which is granted annually by the Editorial Committee of RSQ. All other awards are open for nominations from any member of the Society. The Gerard A. Hauser Award for outstanding student papers presented at the RSA conference is selected by a committee appointed by the conference planner. The Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor is presented at the RSA conference; selection is made by a committee appointed by the Awards Committee chair.

The Book Award and the Dissertation Award are presented annually for work published or defended during the previous year. The Fellows’ Early Career Award also is presented annually.  The 2018 awards will be presented at the RSA Biennial Conference for work published or defended in 2017. The 2018 awards will be presented at the biennial conference for work published or defended in 2017. On the years of the biennial conference we also recognize RSA Fellows, present the George E. Yoos Award, the Gerard A. Hauser Award and the Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor.

Nominations are reviewed by the Awards Committee of the RSA Board, which recommends winners to the Board for final approval.

For the 2018 Awards, submit nominations for the Book Award and Dissertation Award to the Awards Committee Chair:

Vanessa B. Beasley
Vanderbilt University
The Ingram Commons, 230
Appleton Place, PMB 621
Nashville, TN 37203


Click the title of the award below for a description and requirements:

Awards Policies & Procedures

The Board has approved the following policies for awards.

  1. Eligibility for the Book and Dissertation Awards.

    To be considered for the Book and Dissertation Awards, a scholar must be a member of the RSA. The book award subcommittee will consider any book that has a designated author or authors and that meets the eligibility requirements. Generally, edited collections and second editions are not eligible for this award. Translations are eligible.

  2. Guidelines for Assessing Nominated Books

    In reviewing nominees for the Book Award, the Awards Committee considers:

    • Originality
    • Strength and persuasiveness of argument
    • Engaging style or readability
    • Potential to promote rhetoric among scholars from other fields and/or the general public's understanding of rhetoric.

  3. RSA Fellows

    Fellows of the Rhetoric Society of America have produced scholarship in rhetorical studies that is remarkable for its quality and quantity, have participated in the work of the RSA, whether on the Board, on its committees, or in other capacities, and have worked to increase the visibility and influence of rhetorical studies through public lectures, teaching, advocacy, or other activities.

  4. Winners of the George E. Yoos Award, which automatically confers the status of Fellow, meet the criteria for Rhetoric Society Fellows and have made sustained contributions to the RSA which have improved the organization.

  5. Conflict of Interest for Book and Dissertation Awards.

    A member whose book is nominated for the RSA book award may not serve on the book award sub-committee. A member who has worked as a member of the dissertation committee for any nominee for the dissertation award may not sit on the dissertation sub-committee. Members of the Awards Committee who feel that they are unable to be impartial in judging any nominee will recuse themselves from discussion of that nominee.