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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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.

Jan 4, 2018

This episode features an interview with Dr. Steven Alvarez, an assistant professor in the English Department at St. John's University. The interview was recorded at the 2017 Modern Language Association Convention, where Alvarez gave a presentation entitled "Taco Literacies: Translingual Foodways Writing in the Bluegrass." He has also published on the topic in the journal Composition Forum. If you're interested in learning more about his research and teaching on taco literacy, you can check out this website, this Instagram hashtag, and this recent Remezcla article.

In addition to studying the relationships between food and literacy, Dr. Alvarez is the author of Brokering Tareas: Mexican Immigrant Families Translanguaging Homework Literacies, Community Literacies en Confianza: Learning from Bilingual After-School Programs, and The Codex Mojaodicus.

In our conversation, we discuss Alvarez's books, the connections between research on foodways and research on literacy, and the relationship between food and emotion.

This episode features a clip from the song "Street Food" by Satellite 4.

Jul 10, 2017


This is not a typical episode of Rhetoricity. No, this is a call for proposals for the Symposium on Sound, Rhetoric, and Writing.

A written version of this CFP is available below, and it's also available as a Google Doc here. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.

Call for Proposals: Symposium on Sound, Rhetoric, and Writing

***UPDATE (12/11/17): Out of respect for the slew of deadlines that comes with the end of a semester, the organizers have extended the submission deadline for this symposium till January 1, 2018.***

We invite proposals for the first-ever Symposium on Sound, Rhetoric, and Writing, to be held in the cities of Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Sept. 7 & 8, 2018. From Belmont University’s Gallery of Iconic Guitars to historic recording studios like Ocean Way, from Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Popular Music to its Department of Recording Industry, these two cities are home to a wealth of sound culture and music history, making them a fitting place for a gathering of sonically inclined rhetoric and writing scholars.

Over the past decade, sound has become an increasingly popular topic for rhetoric and writing scholars working in both English and communication (see Gunn et al.). Rhetoric and writing scholars have approached sound from a number of angles, often in ways that resonate with interdisciplinary fields like sound studies and disability studies. This work has appeared across print-based and digital journals in the field, frequently gathered in special issues like enculturation’s “Writing/Music/Culture” (1999), Computers & Composition and C&C Online’s “Sound in/as Compositional Space” (2006), Currents in Electronic Literacy’s “Writing With Sound” (2011), and Harlot’s “Sonic Rhetorics” (2013).

This symposium aims to provide a dedicated space for rhetoric and writing scholars to present and discuss scholarship focused on sound. While we invite a wide range of proposals that take up expansive conceptions of “sound,” “rhetoric,” and “writing,” we offer the following as potential starting points:

  • Sounding out the disciplinary relationships between rhetoric, writing, and sound studies
  • Sound and/as accessibility
  • Listening as a rhetorical practice
  • How histories of rhetoric, writing, and composition can speak to current studies of sound
  • Sonic archives and the history of sound
  • Rhetorical aspects of/approaches to sonic environments
  • The possibilities of sound as a scholarly medium/mode
  • The relationship of sound to other media/modes/modalities
  • Interdisciplinary possibilities for rhetorical work on sound
  • Voice as a sonic phenomenon
  • Empirically and/or theoretically informed approaches to integrating sound into rhetoric and/or writing classrooms

We anticipate a relatively small symposium (<100 attendees), and we encourage submissions that will maximize the number of participating voices—roundtables and dialogue-based sessions, for example. While senior scholars are welcome to propose more traditional presentations, we especially encourage them to consider collaborative proposals and presentational formats that also involve junior scholars and/or graduate students. In addition to traditional presentations, we encourage the proposal of experimental, performative work. This work might include (but is not limited to):   

  • Short (5-10 minute) pieces of pre-produced audio scholarship
  • Short films or documentaries that explore some aspect of sonic experience
  • Soundscapes
  • Musical or other creative-critical sonic compositions/performances
  • Sonic games that take advantage of the affordances of locative or related media
  • Gallery-style installations that blur the line between scholarship and sound art

A note on the installation option: depending on the volume of installation submissions we receive, some portion of the symposium will be set aside for participants to tour a gallery of accepted installations with their creators on hand for Q&A.

While collaborative proposals are encouraged, individual proposals are welcome. The deadline for proposals is January 1, 2018. Individual proposals are limited to 500 words. Roundtable or other collaborative proposals are limited to 1,250 words. No more than two proposals per person. Due to the time constraints of a symposium, anyone who has two proposals accepted will be expected to choose only one of them to present at the symposium. Submit proposals by visiting Proposers will be notified of organizers’ decisions by March 1, 2018. Additional questions about the symposium should be sent to eric [dot] detweiler [at] mtsu [dot] edu.


Symposium Organizers:

Steph Ceraso (University of Virginia)

Eric Detweiler (Middle Tennessee State University)

Joel Overall (Belmont University)

Jon Stone (University of Utah)


The audio version of this CFP opens with a clip from "Living Stereo."

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:

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