Rhetoricity is a quasi-academic podcast that draws on rhetoric, theory, weird sound effects, and the insights of a lot of other people. It's something that's a little strange and, with luck, a little interesting. The podcast's description will evolve along with it. Most episodes feature interviews with rhetorically oriented rhetoric and writing scholars.

The podcast is a project of Eric Detweiler, an assistant professor in the Department of English at Middle Tennessee State University. If you are interested in more information, you can get in touch by using the contact information included on his website or sending a direct message to @RhetCast on Twitter.

Transcripts are available for some episodes. Use the "Pdf: Transcript" button at the bottom of individual episode posts to access the corresponding transcript. If you would like a transcript of an episode that doesn't appear to have one, feel free to get in touch.

Rhetoricity has received support from a grant from the Humanities Media Project.

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Jun 19, 2019

Edit (08/07/2019): The CFP for the 2020 Sound Studies, Rhetoric, and Writing Conference is now live! Check it out here.


Just in time for the 2019 Computers and Writing Conference, this Rhetoricity episode features . . . an audio recording of Eric Detweiler's 2016 Computers and Writing presentation. A majorly revised reiteration of this presentation came out last year in volume 5 of Textshop Experiments.

In short, this episode/presentation makes the case for embracing weirder conventions in academic podcasting, drawing on the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale as a model. Because the episode is a recording of a presentation, it's more monologic than the interview-centered episodes of this podcast. But it does come with circus music, sound effects, a parodic advertisement, traffic update, and weather report, so give it a listen if you're up for a slightly odd episode.

Finally, this episode is also a chance to announce two other sound-related happenings in rhetoric and writing studies. First, the official launch of the new sonic projects section in enculturation: a journal of rhetoric, writing, and culture. The first two pieces in that section were just published as part of the journal's 28th issue. Second, the Sound Studies, Rhetoric, and Writing Conference in Detroit, Michigan. That conference will happen from October 1-3, 2020, and builds on last year's Symposium on Sound, Rhetoric, and Writing. The CFP should be available in the next week or two, and this blurb will be updated with a link to that CFP once it's ready.

This episode uses the following sound clips:

Jan 28, 2019

This episode features an interview with Dr. Ryan Skinnell, assistant professor at San José State University and editor of the recent collection Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. Trump. That collection is the focal point of the episode.

This interview was recorded at the 2018 Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Because Faking the News is meant to speak to audiences beyond academia, we tried to approach the interview in a way that would be accessible for those who don't have advanced degrees in rhetoric and writing. We discuss what exactly rhetoric and demagoguery are, what sets rhetoric scholars apart from other academic experts, and strategies for maintaining momentum on writing projects. Oh, and pajama pants.

In addition to editing Faking the News, Skinnell is the author of the book Conceding Composition: A Crooked History of Composition's Institutional Fortunes, coeditor of a forthcoming collection called Reinventing (with) Theory in Rhetoric and Writing Studies, and an editor for the website Citizen Critics, which brings rhetoric scholarship to bear on the news of the day for a mainstream audience. He’s also currently researching and writing about rhetoric and guns and fascist rhetoric. And last but not least, he’s editing a forthcoming special issue of the journal Rhetoric Society Quarterly entitled “Rhetoric’s Demagogue | Demagoguery’s Rhetoric.”

This episode features a clip of the song "Grifted" by Literature.

Oct 25, 2018

This episode features Dr. Christine Tulley. Dr. Tulley was the invited speaker at the 2018 Peck Research on Writing Symposium, an annual event hosted by Middle Tennessee State University's Department of English. Each year, the symposium features a rhetoric and writing scholar who gives a keynote talk on their research, then facilitates a workshop based on the classroom applications of that research.

This interview was recorded the day before Dr. Tulley's talk, which focused on the findings of her recent book, How Writing Faculty Write: Strategies for Process, Product, and Productivity. That book features interviews with fifteen prolific and well-established rhetoric and writing scholars, focusing on how they develop ideas, conduct research, draft, revise, and pursue publication.

In addition to writing How Writing Faculty Write, Christine Tulley is the founder and director of the MA in Rhetoric and Writing and Professor of English at the University of Findlay. Her current research focuses on faculty writing within rhetoric and composition, and she partners with Prolifiko, a UK-based research group that studies academic productivity. She has a forthcoming book project entitled "Rhet/Comp Moms: Parenting, Publication, and Professionalism," which we also discuss in the episode.

In addition, we talk about Dr. Tulley’s own writing process, what led her to study how writing faculty write, her writing advice for graduate students and junior faculty, and how learning to play guitar has changed the way she composes. Oh, and Lunchables.

This episode features clips from the following songs:

Oct 2, 2018

This is the final episode in Rhetoricity's "Dissertation Dialogues" series, which features conversations between PhD students at Indiana University and some of their dissertation directors and committee members. This particular episode features Collin Bjork and Dr. John Schilb.

Collin Bjork is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at IU. His dissertation develops a theoretical framework for better understanding how rhetoric functions over time. His article “Integrating Usability Testing and Digital Rhetoric in Online Writing Instruction” just came out in a special issue of Computers and Composition. He has taught courses in sonic rhetoric, visual rhetoric, service-learning writing, online composition, multilingual composition, and cross-cultural composition. Collin has also worked as an online instructional designer and as a program assistant for multilingual composition. As a Fulbright English teaching assistant, he taught at the University of Montenegro in Podgorica.

John Schilb is Culbertson Chair of Writing and Professor of English at IU. While at IU, has also served as editor of the journal College English, director of first-year composition, and director of writing and rhetorical studies. He teaches writing, literature, rhetoric, and film. Before coming to Indiana, he taught at Carthage College, Denison University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and the University of Maryland. From 1984 to 1990, he was vice president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, a Chicago-based consortium of liberal arts colleges. His book Rhetorical Refusals: Defying Audiences’ Expectations won the Modern Language Association’s Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize. He is also author of Between the Lines: Relating Composition Theory and Literary Theory and coeditor of four volumes: Making Literature Matter, Arguing About Literature, Writing Theory and Critical Theory, and Contending with Words: Composition and Rhetoric in a Postmodern Age. In addition, he has published many articles and contributed chapters to several collections. His current book project is a study of nuance as rhetoric. He has a short piece on that topic that just came out in a symposium on virtue ethics in Rhetoric Review.

In this episode, the pair discusses John Schilb’s past and present work between the lines of academic disciplines, his time as the editor of College English, and his current work on nuance as a rhetorical virtue. They also talk about inductive approaches to developing scholarly projects as well as Indiana University’s recently created rhetoric program.

This episode features a clip from the song "Lines" by Glass Boy.

Aug 21, 2018

This is the second episode in a late-summer series: the Dissertation Dialogues. These episodes feature conversations between PhD candidates from Indiana University and some of their dissertation mentors. For more context, check out Vol. 1.

This particular episode features Jennifer Juszkiewicz and Dana Anderson. Jennifer Juszkiewicz is a PhD candidate at IU who studies composition theory and rhetorics of space and place. Her dissertation focuses on simultaneously digital and material locations where writing happens. She'll be defending that dissertation in the coming academic year, during which she'll also be joining the faculty at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, to serve as writing center director and assistant writing program coordinator.

Dana Anderson is an associate professor at IU and also serves as Director of Composition. He received his PhD from Penn State, published his book Identity's Strategy: Rhetorical Selves in Conversion in 2007, and coedited the 2013 collection Burke in the Archives: Using the Past to Transform the Future of Burkean Studies with Jessica Enoch. His coauthored article "Screaming on a Ride to Nowhere: What Roller Coasters Teach Us About Being Human" was recently published in the journal Entertainment Values.

Among other things, Juszkiewicz and Anderson discuss the role of the rhetorical tradition in contemporary rhetoric and writing instruction, strategies for training new writing instructors, and the continuing relevance of Maurice Charland's 1987 article "Constitutive Rhetoric: The Case of the peuple quebecois."

Ryan Juszkiewicz contributed extensive editorial work to this episode. The episode features clips from the following:

Aug 7, 2018

This is the first in a series of special late-summer episodes of Rhetoricity. At the 2017 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute, some graduate students at Indiana University helped coordinate and conduct interviews with scholars who attended that institute. Those students also pitched another idea: a series of conversations between PhD candidates and their dissertation advisors. This episode features the first of those conversations. My hope is that these episodes, which are more akin to dialogues than interviews, will not only give listeners a sense of the interlocutors' research interests, but provide a window into the advisee-advisor relationship. To that end, I encouraged participants to take some time to discuss academic mentorship.

This episode features a conversation between Caddie Alford and Scot Barnett. Scot Barnett is an associate professor in the Department of English at IU. He's the author of the book Rhetorical Realism: Rhetoric, Ethics, and the Ontology of Things and coeditor of the collection Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things. Caddie Alford, who was a PhD candidate at the time this episode was recorded, has since accepted a position as an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the author of "Creating with the 'Universe of the Undiscussed': Hashtags, Doxa, and Choric Invention" and has an article in a forthcoming special issue of Rhetoric Review on the topic of virtue ethics.

In their conversation, Alford and Barnett discuss their interests in rhetoric and embodiment, the ways digital technologies speak to and shift longstanding rhetorical concepts, and how they approach the advisor-advisee relationship.

This episode includes clips from the following:

May 30, 2018

This episode features two interviewees: Dr. Jonathan Alexander and Dr. Jackie Rhodes. Rhodes and Alexander are not only prolific writers and media makers, but prolific collaborators. Together, they’ve edited The Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Rhetoric as well as Sexual Rhetorics: Methods, Publics, Identities. In this episode, we discuss two of their other collaborative projects: On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies and Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Self. Techne won the 2015 Lavender Rhetorics Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship. 

Beyond their co-creations, Jonathan Alexander is the Chancellor’s Professor of English and Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. He’s also the current editor of the journal College Composition and Communication and the author of the critical memoir Creep: A Life, A Theory, An Apology, which is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and being turned into a podcast.

Jackie Rhodes is a professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University and the incoming editor of the journal Rhetoric Society Quarterly. She’s also currently working on a documentary called Once a Fury, which is about a 1970s lesbian separatist group called the Furies.

The following interview was recorded at the 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication in a defunct alcove that was once full of pay phones. In addition to Techne and On Multimodality, Drs. Rhodes and Alexander discuss the creepiness of academic disciplines, why it’s important to understand the history of media forms, and the personal, narrative, and scholarly possibilities of digital publications.

This episode includes clips from Techne and Tony Zhou's "How to Structure a Video Essay" as well as various sound effects from

May 7, 2018

This episode of Rhetoricity is a collaboration with Rhetorics Change/Rhetoric's Change, the digital proceedings collection from the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America conference. You can download a free copy of this open-access collection via Intermezzo or Parlor Press.

In 2014, Verso Books published Radio Benjamin, which contained English translations of radio plays that critical theorist Walter Benjamin helped write and produce in the 1920s and '30s. I was fascinated with these plays as a sort of precursor to the audio projects scholars and theorists are producing today. So at RSA 2016, rather than give a traditional academic presentation, I staged and recorded a live performance of one of the pieces in Radio Benjamin. Titled "Lichtenberg: A Cross-Section," the play is about an eighteenth-century physicist and satirist named Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.

This episode is also included as part of a chapter in Rhetorics Change/Rhetoric's Change, along with an essay in which I discuss Benjamin's radio plays and the possibilities of audio scholarship. The collection also includes a set of soundscapes that I edited, so there's plenty to interest the sonically inclined scholars. So check it out!

This episode contains clips from the following:

All clips are used under the fair use provisions of US copyright law.

Mar 13, 2018

In this episode, which was recorded at the 2017 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute, guest interviewer Jennifer Juszkiewicz speaks with Michigan State University's Bill Hart-Davidson. They discuss the relationship between technical communication and rhetoric, the challenges of revision and the related work of Eli Review, and what the ancient Greek practice of agon has to do with riding a bike. Special thanks to Ryan Juszkiewicz, who manned the audio controls and took the lead on mixing and editing this interview.

Dr. Hart-Davidson is a professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. He studies computational rhetoric, technical communication, and user experience, and was at RSA Summer Institute to help lead a workshop called Computational Rhetoric: Exploring Possibilities, Limits & Applications. Along with many other projects, he coedited the collection Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities and helps run Eli Review. Hart-Davidson’s scholarship has also appeared in journals like Technical Communication, enculturation, the Journal of Writing Research, and Computers and Composition.

Jennifer Juszkiewicz is a PhD candidate in the Composition, Literacy, and Culture program at Indiana University. She specializes in writing program administration and composition studies as well as spatial, computational, and collaborative rhetorics. She’s been published in enculturation and has a forthcoming co-authored chapter in a collection called Rhetorical Machines. Her dissertation is entitled "Writing Spaces of Writing."

This episode includes a clip from "Queen - Bicycle Race 8 bit."

Jan 24, 2018

This episode is the first in a series recorded at the 2017 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute in Bloomington, Indiana. The interviews featured in these episodes were conducted by graduate students who are part of Indiana University's Rhetoric Society of America student chapter. First up is an interview with John Muckelbauer conducted by Caddie Alford.

John Muckelbauer is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, where he has taught for thirteen years. He’s the author of the book The Future of Invention: Rhetoric, Postmodernism, and the Problem of Change. His writing has also appeared in journals like Philosophy & Rhetoric and enculturation, and he contributed a chapter entitled “Implicit Paradigms of Rhetoric: Aristotelian, Cultural, and Heliotropic” to the collection Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things. His current book project engages with style from a Nietzschean angle.

Caddie Alford is a PhD candidate at Indiana University. She is completing her dissertation, which recuperates the concept of doxa for rethinking invention, argumentation, and emergent rhetorics in terms of social media platforms. She has a forthcoming article in an upcoming special issue of Rhetoric Review that is focused on virtue ethics. She has also published on hashtag activism and choric invention in enculturation.

In this interview, they discuss invention, plants, posthumanism, the limits of rhetorical theory, and the possibility of new rhetorical paradigms.

This episode features a clip from the song "Plants" by Borrtex.

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