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."
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.
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?