2022 ASHR Symposium: Rhetoric in Motu

We are pleased to announce the program for the 2022 Rhetoric in Motu Symposium, which will be held prior to the Rhetoric Society of America convention in Baltimore, MD, USA from May 25-27, 2022. Please see below for additional details.

A copy of the official Rhetoric in Motu program is available here.

Please note that the room for panel sessions on Wednesday, May 25 has been changed. We will no longer be meeting in the Raven room but, instead, in Essex A-B-C

Wednesday, May 25

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm — Panel #1: Monuments, Memorials, Memory

Active Chairs: Jennie Keohane, University of Baltimore, and Natalie Bennie, Penn State University

Louise Zamparutti, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, “Monument in Motu”

Junyi Lv, University of Southern California, “Memories in Motu: Oil Museums in Rhetorical Spheres”

Dylan Rollo, Northwestern University, “Material Rhetoric Unmoored”

Geoff Clegg, Midwestern State University, “Whatever Became of Cheikh Anta Diop’s Dream?: African Rhetorical History after Black Athena”

3:45 pm – 5:00 pm — Panel #2: Movements/Moving to Action/Love for Others

Active Chair: Jordan Loveridge, Mount St. Mary’s University

Curry Kennedy, Virginia Military Institute, “‘No Stronger Motive’: Love and Rhetoric in Augustine’s De catechizandus rudibus”

Meg Itoh, University of Maryland, “Slithering Toward Social Change: Mobility, Power, and Transnational Rhetorics of Resistance”

Elizabeth Ellis Miller, Mississippi State University, “Civil Rights Rhetoric’s Movements: Recovering the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom”

Isaac Richards, Brigham Young University, “The American Religion and the Rhetoric of Theophany”

5:30 pm — Keynote #1: Dr. Karrieann Soto Vega, University of Kentucky

“Reverberations of Defiance: Activating Memory in Anticolonial Activism”

On November 19, 2019, a group of women calling themselves Las Lolitas gathered in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, to celebrate the centennial of Lolita Lebrón. She was a controversial activist for Puerto Rican independence, most renowned for an armed assault on the United States House of Representatives in 1954. The celebration illuminates how Las Lolitas activate a rhetorical history of defiance against imperialism for the kairotic present, reverberating a disruption of the colonial continuum.

This presentation explores the utility of reverberation as an affective framework that highlights geographic and temporal movement. It does so by revisiting the concept of afterlives of anticolonial dissent, an analytical approach to studying performances of public memory critical of United States colonial and imperial structures. Drawing from digital studies and sonic rhetoric, I explain how reverberation is applicable in contexts of colonial entanglement between seemingly disparate subjectivities (in occupation, age, race, sexuality, among others). Studying the group’s artistic performances, I emphasize how their public memory efforts allow for Lebrón’s rhetorics of defiance to reverberate—as needed—still today.

Thursday, May 26

9:00 am – 10:15 am — Panel #3: Theory, Teaching, Practice

Active Chair: Michele Kennerly, Penn State University

Atilla Hallsby, University of Minnesota, “Rethinking Rhetoric: Toward a Secret Historiography of Rhetoric”

Carolyn Commer, Virginia Tech University, “Moving Moments: On Using the Octalogs to Teach Rhetoric’s Histories”

Kaitlyn Patia, Whitman College, “Turn On, Tune In, Burnout: Theorizing Energy, Rhetoric, and Resistance”

Kendall Gerdes, University of Utah, “Moving Force: Rhetoric and Violence in the Time of Solon”

10:45 am – 12:00 pm — Panel #4: Global Mobility

Active Chair: Allison Prasch, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Walter Lucken IV, Wayne State University, “Lampedusa: Toward an Oceanic History of Rhetoric”

Nabila Hijazi, Loyola University Maryland, “Syrian Refugee Women Thriving While Being Mobile”

Josie Portz, University of Arizona, “Phantom Mobility: Coercion, Conversion, and Letter Writing in Colonial Sri Lanka”

12:00 pm – 1:25 pm — Presenters to have lunch with active chairs; food provided by ASHR

1:30 pm — Keynote #2: Dr. Rudo Mudiwa, University of California, Irvine

“Invention: The Master Term for Overthrowing the Master”

Building on global histories of rhetoric and empire, this presentation discusses how “non-Western” conceptions of rhetoric transpire within the semi-colonial context of Iran’s encounter with “the West.” To do this, I consider the social thinker, historian, and lDrawing from three scenes in Zimbabwe’s post-independence history—eruptions of sound, song, and movement in public space—this talk explores decolonization as a mode of choric invention. I connect three different scenes—a celebration on independence day in 1980, the teargassing of fans waiting to see a Bob Marley performance in Harare, and a protest of the announcement of a new fiscal policy in 2016, to theorize the embodied, collective, and fleeting nature of this mode of invention. I argue that through these moments of shared rhythm, black citizens in post-independence African state enact emancipatory politics that challenge the parochial nationalism that is imposed by ZANU-PF, the party that has governed the country for 40 years. To capture this mode of invention that sustains freedom dreams, I draw from literature, contemporary music, and ethnographic accounts, demonstrating the dynamic and improvisational nature of inventing anew amidst incredible constraints.

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm — Panel #5: Mobility, Gender, Sexuality

Active Chair: Amber Kelsie, Wake Forest University

Marissa Croft, Northwestern University, “Movement and the Dress Reform Movement: Uncovering the Mobility Rhetorics of the Rainy-Day Dress”

Tim Etzkom, Indiana University, “Cooking Up Americanness: Rhetoric, Cookbooks, and American Identity in Motion”

Tyler J Martinez, “An Embodied Queer Rhetoric of Motion”

Friday, May 27

9:00 am – 10:15 am — Panel #6: Movement/Activism/Current Events

Active Chair: Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis

Eric Detweiler, Middle Tennessee State University, “When Feelings Move, Whose Feelings Matter?”

Jose Manuel Cortez, University of Oregon, “Undocumenting Rhetoric”

River Cook, Wake Forest University, “Anarchic Communication and Modern Conspiracy Theories: Using QAnon to Interrogate Argumentation on Social Media”

Ben Wetherbee, The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, “Showing as Troping as Moving amid COVID-19: An Epideictic Turn”

10:45 am — Keynote #3: Maryam Ahmadi, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Semi-Colonial Rhetoric: Persian Balaghat at the Limits of the ‘Non-West'”

Building on global histories of rhetoric and empire, this presentation discusses how “non-Western” conceptions of rhetoric transpire within the semi-colonial context of Iran’s encounter with “the West.” To do this, I consider the social thinker, historian, and linguist Ahmad Kasravi’s (1890–1946) writings on language and “Europism” (Orupayigari), examining how Kasravi’s critique of the Persian rhetorical tradition (balaghat) takes shape alongside his critique of imperialism. Drawing from Persianate studies, and through analyzing the vital role the notion of speech plays in Kasravi’s critical project, I show how alternate modalities and con/figurations of balaghat emerge vis-à-vis the semi-colonial b/ordering of the body politic to both resist and reproduce empire. Conversant with Iran’s “Arab-,” “European-,” and “Indian-Other,” and hailed from the edges, neither inside nor outside, of the colonial encounter, these modalities constitute what I call “semi-colonial rhetoric,” or balaghat at the limits of the “non-West.”

A PDF of the Symposium program is also available.