Rhetorics, Rights, (R)evolutions

The 11th Biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference in October at the University of Dayton will explore the teaching, practice and activism of persuasive speech, as well as written and visual texts, amid the ongoing upheaval of American civic discourses and political debates.

The department of English has issued a call for papers for the national academic conference, Oct. 4-7 on the University campus.

The theme, “Rhetorics, Rights, (R)evolutions,” marks the conference’s 20th year and draws attention to the significance of rhetorical practices at a time when human rights — especially among women and people of color — are threatened on a daily basis.

“It is a great honor and opportunity that UD was selected to host the conference in 2017,” said Elizabeth Ann Mackay, assistant professor of English. “Notably, this will be the first time the conference will take place on a Catholic university campus and, for the English department, it is one of the first national conferences of this scope that UD will host.”

Co-sponsored by the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition, the conference is hosted by the department of English, women’s and gender studies program, College of Arts and Sciences and University Libraries.

The conference planning committee includes Mackay and fellow English department faculty Margaret Strain, Susan Trollinger and Patrick Thomas.

The 400 to 500 attendees are largely scholars from rhetoric and composition programs, but over time the conference has become an interdisciplinary gathering for feminist scholars who work in a wide range of areas and fields of study.

Mackay said this year’s event will examine the broad impact of the Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference over the past 20 years, and how it might shape future directions of scholarship, teaching and activism.

“We invite proposals that engage conference participants in the history and tradition of Feminisms and Rhetorics, as well as its commitments to challenging those histories and traditions and valuing collaborative, multi-vocal, multimodal works,” she said.

As with past conferences, the 2017 meeting will also include both one-on-one mentoring workshops as well as time and space for “Writing Mentors Office Hours” for attendees interested in receiving feedback on a publication project.

New to the conference are “Morning Meeting” sessions, which invite conference participants to engage in activist work that bridges academic work with activism outside of the academy and to engage in mentoring sessions focused on teaching, research and academic activism.

Submissions of individual papers or panel sessions, collaborative or interactive sessions, workshops and maker sessions, roundtables, multimodal and digital presentations, and seminar sessions are encouraged.

Possible topics include:

  • History of women’s rhetoric and/or rhetorical scholarship
  • Evolutions and revolutions in feminist rhetorical scholarship
  • Women’s/human rights’ activism and advocacies
  • Rhetorics of advocacy and activism
  • Human rights rhetorics and rhetoric as a human right
  • Intersections of rhetorical scholarship and rhetorical practices
  • Social justice pedagogies and teaching as advocacy
  • Intersections of academic freedom and social justice/human rights
  • Relations between women’s academic and non-academic rhetorical practices
  • Feminist activism within and outside the academy
  • Methods of historicizing, archiving and “accounting for” women’s social justice rhetorics
  • Critical inquiries of the past, present and future of the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition organization and the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference
  • Evolving categories of “women” as a condition for “rhetorics” and “rights”

There is a 750-word limit for panel, roundtable and seminar session proposals; a 500-word limit for collaborative and interactive session, multimodal presentation, and workshop and maker session proposals; and a 250-word limit for individual proposals.

Submissions will be blind reviewed. Abstracts must not contain any information that will identify presenters or speakers. The presentation style should be indicated at the top of the submission abstract. Upon acceptance, look for additional information about the conference’s edited essay collection.

Submit proposals by Feb. 1 via the conference website at femrhet2017.cwshrc.org.

Notification of acceptance and conference registration begins April 15.

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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