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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. Click "Episode Transcript" link at the end of individual episode descriptions 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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This podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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Now displaying: 2019
Dec 2, 2019

For more information on the Rhetoric Society of America's Andrea A. Lunsford Diversity Fund, which is discussed in the introduction to this episode, click here.

This episode of Rhetoricity features an interview with Andrea Lunsford, interviewed by Ben Harley as part of the Rhetoric Society of America Oral History Initiative. Over the past year and a half, Rhetoricity host and producer Eric Detweiler has been coordinating that initiative. At its 2018 conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) celebrated its 50th anniversary. As a part of that celebration, the organization sponsored the Oral History Initiative, which recorded interviews with 25 of RSA’s long-time members and leaders. In those interviews, they discuss their involvement in key moments in the organization’s history, the broader history of rhetoric as a discipline, and their expectations and hopes for the field’s future.

Since then, Eric has been working with Elizabeth McGhee Williams, a doctoral student at Middle Tennessee State University, to transcribe and create a digital archive of those interviews. The two of them wrote an article about the materials that just came out in Rhetoric Society Quarterly. And the archive of the interviews and transcripts themselves is now available for you to peruse.

To help promote that project, this episode features Lunsford's interview from the RSA Oral History Initiative.

Dr. Lunsford is the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor of English, Emerita, at Stanford University. She was the Director of Stanford’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric from 2000 to 2013 and the founder of Stanford’s Hume Center for Writing and Speaking. Dr. Lunsford also developed undergraduate and graduate writing programs at the University of British Columbia and at The Ohio State University, where she founded The Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing. She’s designed and taught courses in writing history and theory, feminist rhetorics, literacy studies, and women’s writing and is the editor, author, or co-author of 23 books. Those books include Essays on Classical Rhetoric and Modern Discourse; Singular Texts/Plural Authors; Reclaiming Rhetorica; Everything’s an Argument; The Everyday Writer; and Everyone’s an Author. She’s won awards including the Modern Language Association’s Mina Shaughnessy Prize, the Conference on College Composition and Communication award for best article, which she's won twice, and the CCCC Exemplar Award.  A long-time member of the Bread Loaf School of English faculty, she is currently co-editing The Norton Anthology of Rhetoric and Writing and working on a new textbook called Let’s Talk.

Ben Harley, her interviewer, is an assistant professor in the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication Studies at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. His classes provide students with high-impact writing situations that let them compose useful and interesting texts for their own communities, and his research focuses on pedagogy, sound, and the ways that everyday texts impact the public sphere. He’s published work in The Journal of Multimodal RhetoricsPresent Tense, and Hybrid Pedagogy.

The transition music after this episode's introduction is "Creative Writing" by Chad Crouch.

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.

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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.

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