ASHR’s Most Recent Symposium

“Rhetoric in Situ”
May 26–27, 2016
2016 ASHR program
Symposium schedule


Featured Presentations

Diane Favro (Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA)
“Reading Augustan Rome: Materiality as Rhetoric”

Richard Leo Enos (English, TCU)
“The Archaeology of Ancient Rhetoric: The Six Most Astounding Discoveries in the Last 100 Years!”

Dave Tell (Communication Studies, KU)
“Whose Emmett Till: Reflections on Geography, Race, and Memory”


The American Society for the History of Rhetoric’s symposium, the organization’s main biennial event, was held at the Hilton Downtown, Atlanta, GA, May 26–27, 2016, immediately prior to the Rhetoric Society of America convention.

Organized by Kathleen Lamp at Arizona State University (, the day-and-a-half gathering featured three keynote addresses—by Diane Favro (UCLA), Richard Leo Enos (TCU), and Dave Tell (KU)—and four panels of competitively selected papers.

The ASHR Symposium has been a site of rich intellectual work animated by a collaborative ethos. AHSR prides itself on creating an environment in which scholars of all ages and all ranks join together for sustained inquiry into a given topic.

As always, there was no cost to attend the symposium. However, all presenters were asked to join ASHR.

The Conference Theme

In situ” is a phrase archaeologists use to describe an artifact found in its original resting place. Artifacts not in situ are generally considered to lack context. While rhetoricians seldom use the phrase, Rhetoric’s critical focus on “situation” and “context,” given fresh inertia by the spatial turn, speaks to its potential usefulness and fruitfulness.

For instance, Patricia Bizzell and Susan Jarratt have argued that one way to enhance our study of rhetoric’s traditions might be to “examine the rhetorical activity of a particular historical period in depth, with traditional, non-traditional, and new texts providing contexts for each other, and all embedded in much ‘thicker’ historical and cultural contextual descriptions than scholarship has provided heretofore” (23). Advocating for a “rhetorical archeology,” Richard Leo Enos has posited that “both our secondary research and the retrieval of new, primary resources is incomplete” and that “[t]o fully appreciate and be sensitive to rhetoric, one must understand context—in this case historical context” (40). With regard to social movement rhetoric, Danielle Endres and Samantha Senda-Cook have proposed “location matters,” since the “rhetorical deployment of place” is a “common tactic.”

The above examples represent concerns about the scope of the rhetorical tradition, methods of rhetorical historiography, the recovery of non-traditional rhetorical artifacts, and ways of addressing rhetorical context, all of which we consider to lie within the expansive bounds of rhetoric in situ.