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 3, 2017

This episode of Rhetoricity brings you something a little different. It's not an interview with one person, but a roundtable discussion featuring five members of the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC): Naomi Silver, Jenae Cohn, Brandy Dieterle, Paula Miller, and Adrienne Raw. Dr. Silver is the associate director of the University of Michigan's Sweetland Center for Writing, which supports the DRC. The rest of the roundtable participants were DRC graduate fellows at the time of this conversation.

At the 2016 Computers and Writing Conference in Rochester, New York, where this episode was recorded, the DRC won the Computers and Composition Michelle Kendrick Outstanding Digital Production/Scholarship Award. I sat down to talk with these five members about the work of the collaborative, including the way it's shaped their view of rhetoric and digital rhetoric, as well as what the DRC's approach to cross-institutional collaboration makes possible.

This episode features clips from "Recycle System" by STEREORESONANCE and

May 25, 2017

This episode features an episode with Donnie Johnson Sackey, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Wayne State University.

Dr. Sackey is a senior researcher with Detroit Integrated Vision for Environmental Research through Science and Engagement (D•VERSE), an affiliated researcher in Michigan State University’s Writing, Information, and Digital Experience (WIDE) Research Center, and an executive board member of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. His research centers on environmental public policy deliberation, environmental justice, and environmental cultural history. His work has appeared in the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Computers and Composition, and the collection Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things. Along with Dr. Alex Hidalgo, he co-edited issue 5.2 of Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric and Society, a special issue entitled "Race, Rhetoric, and the State."

In addition, Sackey is currently a co-investigator on a grant funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to perform risk communication work around the lead and legionella contamination crisis in the municipal water system in Flint, Michigan. In the following interview, we talk at length about his work with that grant project and on Present Tense.

This episode includes clips from and references to the following:


May 18, 2017

This episode features an interview with Laurie Gries. Dr. Gries is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she has a joint appointment in the Department of Communication and the Program of Writing and Rhetoric.

Laurie Gries researches visual rhetoric, circulation studies, research methodologies, new materialism, and the digital humanities. She's the author of the book Still Life With Rhetoric: A New Materialist Approach for Visual Rhetorics, which won the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s 2016 Advancement of Knowledge Award and 2016 Research Impact Award. Her work has also appeared in the journals Computers and Composition, Rhetoric Review, and Composition Studies. Most recently, her article “Visualizing Obama Hope” was published in Kairos.
In this interview, Gries discusses the limits and possibilities of new materialism, the importance of method and methodology in rhetorical studies, and her work developing PikTrack, a software that would allow researchers to track online images and create data visualizations of such images’ trajectories. We also talk about monkeys, chimpanzees, and the difficulty of defining the word “rhetoric.”

This episode includes clips from the following:

Mar 14, 2017

This episode features an interview with Diane Davis, who also appeared in Rhetoricity's first episode and directed the dissertation of this podcast's host. (This interview was in fact recorded the same day that dissertation was defended.)

More significantly, Dr. Davis is a professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at The University of Texas at Austin and will serve as chair of that department beginning in fall 2017. She is also the Kenneth Burke Chair and Professor of Rhetoric and Philosophy at The European Graduate School. She's the author of Breaking Up [at] Totality: A Rhetoric of Laughter and Inessential Solidarity: Rhetoric and Foreigner Relations, coauthor of Women's Ways of Making It in Rhetoric and Composition, and editor of The ÜberReader: Selected Works of Avital Ronell as well as Reading Ronell.

Davis's current research focuses on non- and extrahuman rhetorics. Her recent publications in this vein include "Creaturely Rhetorics," "Autozoography: Notes Toward a Rhetoricity of the Living," and "Writing-Being: Another Look at the Symbol-Using Animal." A piece entitled "Afterword: Some Reflections on the Limit" will appear in "A Rhetorical Bestiary," a forthcoming special issue of the journal Rhetoric Society Quarterly.

In this interview, we discuss the genesis, development, and future of Davis's use of the term "rhetoricity"; her recent work on non-/extrahuman rhetorics; and two panels she was a part of at the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

This episode includes clips and selections from the following sources:

Feb 16, 2017

Rhetoricity returns, coming to you from its new home base: Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee! MTSU's Department of English hosts an annual event called the Peck Research on Writing Symposium. In 2016, that symposium featured a presentation by Dr. Derek Mueller, Associate Professor of Written Communication and Director of the First-Year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University. This episode features an interview recorded during his visit.

Mueller's work has appeared in the journals College Composition and Communication, Composition Forum, Kairos, and Present Tense. He has two forthcoming book projects: Cross-Border Networks in Writing Studies and Network Sense: Methods for Visualizing a Discipline. In this interview, Dr. Mueller discusses tracking and studying citation practices in writing pedagogy and writing studies research, the concept of chora, ways of challenging the divide between qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and how visual models can enrich rhetoric, composition, and writing studies. Oh, and Star Wars.

This episode features clips from the following:

Jun 3, 2016

In this episode, Eric tries to discuss the limits of rhetorical mastery as well as a series of rhetorical exercises called the progymnasmata. Then a few unexpected guests show up and things take a posthuman turn.

This episode includes brief clips from the following:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Alien
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
  • Ex Machina
  • Blade Runner
  • Futurama
  • Star Wars: A New Hope
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • and


Apr 6, 2016

This episode of Rhetoricity is a rebroadcast of a 2014 interview with Joyce Locke Carter, associate professor at Texas Tech University and chair of the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Originally, the interview was conducted for and published by the Digital Writing and Research Lab's Zeugma podcast. This week, Dr. Carter will be giving the CCCC chair's address in Houston, Texas. Because she discusses her address and the role of CCCC chairs in this interview, now seemed like a relevant time to circulate it again. Dr. Carter's address is entitled “Making, Disrupting, Innovating,” and will explore strategies for making the case for rhetoric and composition’s value.

In addition to her work with CCCC, Joyce Locke Carter is the author of the book Market Matters: Applied Rhetoric Studies and Free Market Competition. Her current book project is entitled Reading Arguments. It focuses on how sophisticated readers engage with documents that ask them to make a decision. The project deals with a significant gap in rhetoric scholarship about what audiences actually do when they read and respond to purposeful rhetorical acts. Additionally, her work has appeared in Technical Communication Quarterly, Computers and Composition, and Programmatic Perspectives.

A transcript of the Zeugma version of the interview is available here.

Apr 5, 2016

This episode of Rhetoricity features Steph Ceraso. Dr. Ceraso is currently an assistant professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Starting in fall 2016, she’ll be taking a position as Assistant Professor of Digital Writing and Rhetoric in the Department of English at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Ceraso contributed the entry on “Sound” to the Modern Language Association’s “Keywords in Digital Pedagogy” project, and she presented as part of a panel entitled “Writing with Sound” at the 2016 MLA convention. She's written multiple posts for the blog Sounding Out!, contributed a multimodal piece entitled "A Tale of Two Soundscapes: The Story of My Listening Body" to the collection Provoke! Digital Sound Studies, and--along with Jon Stone--co-edited a special issue of the digital journal Harlot focused on sonic rhetorics. Her work has also appeared in the journals College English and Composition Studies. In this interview, we talk at length about her College English essay. It’s called “(Re)Educating the Senses: Multimodal Listening, Bodily Learning, and the Composition of Sonic Experiences,” and in 2014 it won the journal’s annual award for outstanding articles. We also discuss her current book project, which is entitled “Sounding Composition, Composing Sound: Multimodal Pedagogies for Embodied Listening.”

Dr. Ceraso’s research is tied up with pedagogical questions, so we also talk at length about how she approaches and integrates sound into the courses she teaches, as well as accessibility issues she addresses in both her teaching and her scholarship. Specifically, we discuss a soundmapping project, a multisensory dining event, and one student's attempt to translate the game Marco Polo into the classroom.

Mar 3, 2016

This Rhetoricity episode takes a return trip to the 2016 Modern Language Association Convention in Austin, Texas. At the convention, Dr. Byron Hawk presided over a session called "Writing with Sound." In this episode, Dr. Hawk discusses his work at the entangled intersections of sound, composition, writing, and the rhetorical.

Byron Hawk is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of South Carolina. Hawk is the author of A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity, and his work has appeared in Technical Communication Quarterly, Enculturation, Kairos, and PRE/TEXT. His current book project is entitled Resounding the Rhetorical: Composition as a Quasi-Object. That project is the focus of our conversation. Hawk draws the concept of the "quasi-object" from Michel Serres. Two of Serres' essays, "Noise" and "Theory of the Quasi-Object," might make for informative reading before or after listening to this episode. Hawk also discusses the work of Karen Barad and Bruno Latour.

As we discuss his book project and what might happen if we were to approach "composition" as a quasi-object, Hawk riffs on soccer, recording studios, the punk band Refused, and the sound art of Thomas Stanley. Throughout, he remains focused on these questions: How is composition and how are compositions co-produced as quasi-objects? How do rhetorical energies circulate through and as sound, exceeding and generating the power of human production?

This episode features clips from the following songs and sonic performances:

Feb 10, 2016

This episode of Rhetoricity comes to you from the 2016 Modern Language Association Convention in Austin, Texas.

At the convention, I spoke with the University of Southern California's Virginia Kuhn. Dr. Kuhn is an associate professor in the Media Arts + Practice Division of USC's School of Cinematic Arts. In this interview, we discuss three of Dr. Kuhn's recent and ongoing projects: First, the Library Machine, which was until recently known as "LibViz." That project is the third case study in a recent article coauthored by Dr. Kuhn: "Coping with the Big Data Dump: Towards a Framework for Enhanced Information Representation." From there, we turn to the Video Analysis Tableau, an online toolkit that makes a vast archive of digital video accessible and searchable for a wide variety of users and uses. Finally, we discuss Future Texts: Subversive Performance and Feminist Bodies, an 2015 Parlor Press anthology that Dr. Kuhn co-edited.

Along the way, we discuss cinematic conventions, gender, Afrofuturism, YouTube, and how rhetoric and rhetoricians figure in to Dr. Kuhn's various projects.

This episode includes a number of clips and samples from other sources:

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