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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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:

Jan 20, 2016

At the 2015 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, Raka Shome led a three-day workshop entitled "'Subalternity' and 'Transnational Literacy': The Significance of Gayatri Spivak's Scholarship for Rhetoric and Communication Studies." In this episode of Rhetoricity, Dr. Shome explores how the work of Spivak, an influential feminist and postcolonial scholar, might speak to scholarship in the fields of rhetoric and communication.

First, Dr. Shome discusses the two key terms referenced in the workshop's title: "subalternity" and "transnational literacy." She argues that Spivak's work on subalternity takes up matters of voice and power--issues that rhetoric and communication scholars have long been concerned with--in ways that could challenge and enrich those fields' thinking on such matters. She also argues that Spivak's work on transnational literacy could help rhetoric and communication scholars address the geopolitical and globalized contexts and consequences of their work. Along the way, she discusses the limitations and possibilities of traditional identity politics.

Dr. Shome is the author of the book Diana and Beyond: White Femininity, National Identity, and Contemporary Media Culture, and she's served as a guest editor for special issues of the journals Communication Theory and Global Media and Communication. She is currently guest-editing an issue of Cultural Studies, Critical Methodologies with the theme "Gender, Nation, Colonialism: Twenty-First Century Connections." In fall 2015, she served as a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore.

If you're interested in more on the topics discussed in both this episode and Dr. Shome's workshop, check out the 2010 anthology Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea and Spivak's 2013 collection An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization.

All episodes of Rhetoricity are available via iTunes and Stitcher.

Transition Music: "Silence" - Telephantom

Nov 10, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity features not one but two interviewees: Drs. Annette Vee and Jim Brown, who together led a workshop called "Rhetoric's Algorithms" at the 2015 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. They're also co-editing a forthcoming issue of the journal Computational Culture that will focus on rhetoric and computation.

Annette Vee is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in such journals as Computers and Composition, Enculturation, and Computational Culture. She's also the author of the book Coding Literacy: How Computer Programming is Changing the Terms of Writing, which is forthcoming from MIT Press.

Jim Brown is an assistant professor and director of the Digital Studies Center at Rutgers University-Camden. He's been published in the journals Philosophy and Rhetoric, College Composition and Communication, and Pedagogy. His book Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software, was recently published by the University of Michigan Press.

In this interview, I ask Brown and Vee about the subject of their RSA workshop: What exactly do they mean by "algorithms"? What do algorithms have to offer rhetoric and vice versa? They respond by discussing Ada Lovelace, 1970s cyberthrillers, and the French writing collective Oulipo. Before wrapping up, I also ask them to perform some experimental rhetorical algorithms.

This episode includes music generated using Musicalgorithms, a resource created by researchers at Eastern Washington University.

All Rhetoricity episodes are also available via iTunes and Stitcher.

Oct 27, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity features an interview with Casey Boyle, an assistant professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Boyle’s work has appeared in such anthologies as Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities and Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition. He serves as assistant editor for Enculturation: A Journal of Writing, Rhetoric, and Culture and has forthcoming articles in both College English and Technical Communication Quarterly. At UT-Austin, Dr. Boyle teaches courses on writing with sound, digital rhetoric, and network theory. He is currently co-editing an anthology entitled Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things with Scot Barnett and working on a monograph entitled Rhetoric as a Posthuman Practice.

The starting point for this episode's conversation is "The Rhetorical Question Concerning Glitch," an article of Dr. Boyle's that appeared in the March 2015 issue of Computers and Composition. We beginning be discussing points of overlap between "glitch art" and rhetoric. From there, Dr. Boyle discusses how his work with glitch troubles the boundaries between "theory" and "practice" as well as so-called "creative" and "critical" rhetorical work. We wrap up by talking about another of his current projects: a series of interviews with humanities scholars about their failed projects.

This episode contains some glitched audio files, so there are a few moments of sudden volume change--not enough to damage listening ears, but enough that it seems worth a warning.

Specifically, this episode includes gliched clips from the following:

  • "The Tourist" - Radiohead
  • "The Tourist" - Sarah Jarosz
  • "The Tourist" - Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble
  • "It just works. Seamlessly." (YouTube video uploaded by all about Steve
  • "Search and Destroy" - Peaches
  • "Search and Destroy" - Iggy and the Stooges
  • Brazil (film)
  • Spartacus (film)
  • "Crystal Blue Persuasion" - Tommy James and the Shondells
  • "The Internet" (episode of the TV series Computer Chronicle)
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