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Rhetoricity

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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Sep 21, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity, recorded at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication, features an interview with Dr. Justin Hodgson. Hodgson is an assistant professor at Indiana University. He serves as general editor for the Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects and is currently working on a book project entitled New Aesthetics, New Rhetorics. In spring 2015, he and Dr. Scot Barnett organized and hosted the Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium (IDRS).

We begin by talking about what distinguishes (and doesn't distinguish) "digital rhetoric" from the "digital humanities." From there, Dr. Hodgson discusses what he hoped would happen at IDRS, which had yet to take place at the time of this interview.

From there, we turn to digital rhetoric pedagogy. Specifically, Dr. Hodgson discusses Rhetoric, Play, & Games, an undergraduate course he's been teaching for a number of years. In addition to asking students to examine, play, and write about video games, the course functions as a game. We talk about both the possibilities and problems Hodgson sees in current conversations about "gamifying" education.

The episode ends with some follow-up reflections on IDRS that Dr. Hodgson recorded after the symposium wrapped. He and Dr. Barnett are currently putting together a special issue of Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture that will build on the symposium's proceedings.

This episode features clips from Led Zeppelin's "Rock & Roll," Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' "Long Time, Wrong Time," and The Pharaos' "Mission Bucharest." The latter tune is licensed under Creative Commons; all other music and samples used within the provisions of fair use.

Jun 29, 2015

This installment of Rhetoricity zags away from the interview format of the last few episodes. Instead, I'm bringing you a response to a question I've started getting from a handful of rhetoric and composition scholars: what technologies do I use to put this podcast together?

Rather than jumping straight into a pile of microphones, though, I begin with some brief thoughts on the rhetorical decisions that can go into how and why a podcast sounds the way it does.

After running through some very quick notes on the history and politics of podcasting (and why the TV show The Good Wife is so great), I use a handful of audio setups to walk listeners through the pros and cons of these different technologies--from clip-on mics and handheld recorders to slightly (but still grad-student friendly) higher-end equipment. Along the way, I offer cursory nods to fair use, Creative Commons, my editing process, and robot chipmunks.

This episode includes clips from The Good Wife, the film In a World..., and the songs "Rebel Girl" (Bikini Kill), "Freakin' Out" (Death), "Now I'm Here" (Queen), "Daybreak" (Michael Haggins), and "Wipe Out" (The Surfaris), as well as a quote from Judith Butler's Gender Trouble and various clips from the website freesound.org.

Jun 3, 2015

This is the second half of a two-part interview with Victor Vitanza, the Jean-Francois Lyotard Chair at the European Graduate School and a Professor of English and Rhetoric at Clemson University. You can find the first half here. The interview was conducted at the 2014 Rhetoric Society of America conference in San Antonio, Texas, and originally published as part of the Zeugma podcast's 2014 summer interview series.

In this half of the interview, Vitanza discusses the futures of Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory, including upcoming issues on "cat theory," Geoffrey Sirc, and the Italian writer Mario Untersteiner. I also ask him about Clemson's Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design PhD program, and we end with a brief discussion of typos and silence.

Jun 3, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity features an interview with Victor Vitanza, the Jean-Francois Lyotard Chair at the European Graduate School and a Professor of English and Rhetoric at Clemson University. The interview was conducted at the 2014 Rhetoric Society of America conference in San Antonio, Texas, and originally published as part of the Zeugma podcast's 2014 summer interview series.

Dr. Vitanza founded the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design (RCID) program at Clemson, has written such books as Negation, Subjectivity, and the History of Rhetoric and Sexual Violence in Western Thought and Writing, and serves as editor of Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory. He's currently working on a film and companion book entitled The Returns of Philology: This Time, Anachronistics. In this interview, Vitanza discusses Kenneth Burke and Geoffrey Sirc, rhetorics and media old and new, and Immanuel Kant and Internet cats. There's also, I should promise and advise listeners, quite a bit of talk about scatology.

Since this interview is a little longer than other Rhetoricity episodes, I've split it in two. You can find the second half, during which we turn our attention to cats, Sirc, and the RCID program, here.

This episode cites the following sources:

It also includes sound clips from

All other music and sound clips are from GarageBand's loop library and the website freesound.org.

May 20, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity finds me interviewing Collin Brooke. In March 2015, Dr. Brooke was the featured speaker at The University of Texas at Austin's Digital Writing and Research Lab's annual Speaker Series. He was kind enough to sit down for two interviews--one for the lab and one for this podcast. In some ways, this interview builds on the other one; if you're interested in a little more context and conversation, then, you can find that lab interview here.

Brooke is an associate professor of rhetoric and writing at Syracuse University, the Director of Electronic Resources for the Rhetoric Society of America, and author of the book Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media. The talk he gave in Austin was entitled "Entropics of Discourse: Post/Human Rhetorics Amidst the Networks," and a video of it is available via the DWRL's YouTube channel. That talk is part of his current book project on rhetoric and networks, which is tentatively titled Rhetworks. If you're interested in more on networked rhetorics, you can also check out "Bruno Latour's Posthuman Rhetoric of Assent," Brooke's contribution to the recent anthology Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition. He'll also be leading a workshop on rhetoric and networks at the 2015 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin.

In this interview, we talk about the concept of entropy and rhetoric's "master tropes," focusing specifically on the relationship between entropy and irony. We also discuss Rhetsy, a weekly email newsletter of "rhetorical miscellany" that Brooke curates.

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

May 5, 2015

In February, Laurence Rickels stopped by Austin, Texas. Dr. Rickels, who is the Sigmund Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School as well as Professor of Art and Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany, was in town as part of the tour for his latest book: Germany: A Science Fiction. During his visit, he also swung by UT-Austin's Digital Writing and Research Lab and was generous enough to sit down for the following interview.

In his new book, Rickels focuses on psychopathy as, quote, "the undeclared diagnosis implied in flunking the empathy test." He does so via an exploration of Germany's role in Cold War-era science fiction: from the Thomas Pynchon novel Gravity's Rainbow to B movies like 1962's The Day of the Triffids to the science fiction of Philip K. Dick. In addition to Germany, Dr. Rickels has written numerous works tracing connections between psychoanalysis, popular culture, critical theory, science fiction, and mourning. His books include The Case of California, The Vampire Lectures, a three-volume series entitled Nazi Psychoanalysis, and Spectre, in which Rickels turns his attention to Ian Fleming's James Bond. He's also the author of a recent article entitled "The Race to Fill in the Blanks: On (Animal) Testing in Science Fiction," which appeared in the 2014 issue of Philosophy & Rhetoric touched on in this podcast's premiere episode.

In our conversation, I ask Dr. Rickels about his use of the term "psy-fi," the impetus behind his new book, the relationship between his work and that of the late media theorist Friedrich Kittler, as well as the puns and juxtapositions that punctuate his pages.

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Apr 20, 2015

In this episode of Rhetoricity, I interview Dr. Jenny Rice, an associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky. In addition to appearing on this podcast's episode on small talk, Dr. Rice has made extensive contributions to rhetorical studies: she’s the author of the book Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis as well as articles in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Argumentation and Advocacy, College Composition and Communication, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly (RSQ, for short). She’ll also be co-chairing the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Rice about her current book project, which is tentatively titled Awful Archives. In February 2015, she presented part of that project at The University of Texas at Austin's Digital Writing and Research Lab. A video of that presentation, which was entitled "Archival Magnitude: Quantities of Evidence and Insights into Reality," is available here. We also discuss a forum she's organizing for RSQ, an anthology she's co-editing with UT's Casey Boyle, and her approach to social media.

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Apr 9, 2015

This episode features an interview with Dr. Sharon Crowley, an accomplished rhetoric scholar and winner of the Conference on College Composition and Communication's 2015 Exemplar Award. Dr. Crowley is the author of Composition in the University: Historical and Polemical Essays, Toward a Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism, and coauthor of the rhetoric textbook Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students.

In this episode, special guest interviewer Kendall Gerdes talks with Crowley about the recent history of rhetoric as a discipline, her advice for rhetoric graduate students, and what she's been reading lately. They even take a moment to talk about their respective experiences playing the video game Skyrim in connection with Umberto Eco's essay "The Return of the Middle Ages."

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

Mar 25, 2015

Small talk: it's both part of the lifeblood and part of the awkwardness of academic conferences. "Is your hometown treating you well?" "How about this weather?" "When did you get in?" The questions and answers are almost predetermined. Pushing the boundaries of this chatter, one might say, is a rhetorical project, and so this episode features two rhetoric scholars doing just that. Nathaniel Rivers (St. Louis University) and Jenny Rice (University of Kentucky) try out an array of alternate small-talk topoi, from questions about crying to old-timey firefighters to blood.

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Mar 17, 2015

In this episode, I explore the concept from which this podcast derives its title and part of its inspiration: rhetoricity. In keeping with a spirit of weirdness, I pursue this by asking a few rhetoric scholars--Diane Davis, Will Burdette, Steven LeMieux--the following question: what isn't rhetoricity?

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

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