Announcing the 2022 ASHR Symposium!

Rhetoric in Motu

Baltimore, Maryland | May 25-27, 2022
Immediately prior to the 2022 Rhetoric Society of America Convention

Many definitions of rhetoric center around the ability to move, inspire, motivate, or energize. From the ability to call masses to action, to the catalyzing of social movements that interrogate and redefine the status quo, rhetoric is about mobility, motion, movement, potentiality, and energy.

Rhetoric in motu, a counterpart to our past symposium theme of rhetoric in situ, is the theme of the 2022 American Society for the History of Rhetoric (ASHR) Symposium, the first after a global pandemic that had forced many to stop and stay mostly in one place, location, nation, while challenging notions of presence and movement through technological and digital innovations. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified and made visible inequalities, differences as systemic, historic, stubborn in their stasis, yet moving many to new or renewed action. Rhetoric in motu is about mobility, motion, movement, energy, corporeality, connecting back to the 2020 symposium theme of excess, superfluidity, infinity, extravagance, and immoderation.

We are excited to announce three keynote speakers who will address the theme of the 2022 ASHR Symposium, rhetoric in motuMaryam Ahmadi, Dr. Rudo Mudiwa, and Dr. Karrieann Soto Vega.

For more information on the 2022 ASHR Symposium, including the full CFP, click here.

ASHR Interview: Dissertation Award Winner Dr. Rudo Mudiwa

In this interview, I speak to Dr. Rudo Mudiwa, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Comparative Literature at Princeton University, and winner of last year’s ASHR Dissertation Award for her project, “The Prostitute as Citizen: Mobile Women, Urban Space, and the Threat of Disorder in Zimbabwe.” Dr. Mudiwa earned her Ph.D. in Communication and Culture, with a minor in African Studies, from Indiana University, Bloomington.

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ASHR Interview: Student Paper Award Winner Marissa Croft on the Rhetoric of Fashion

For this latest ASHR interview, I spoke with Marissa Croft, a PhD Candidate at Northwestern University, and winner of ASHR’s 2019 Student Paper Award. Croft’s paper, “An Object Worthy of the Attention of a Sensible Republican”: Establishing the Characteristics of a Revolutionary Republican Political Style through the Costume Reform Project of the Société Populaire et Républicaine des Arts (1793-1795),” examined the rhetorical implications of dress and costume in French revolutionary discourse.

Jordan Loveridge: Can you tell me about how you became interested in the history of rhetoric? What initially drew you to the field, and how would you describe your main research areas?

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ASHR Condemns Anti-Black Violence and Makes a Commitment

As the (U.S.) American Society for the History of Rhetoric, we have let “the history of rhetoric” guide our programmatic priorities since our foundation in 1977. The truth is, though, that such an emphasis is incomplete and even harmful when it ignores the American context in which we rhetoricians are educated, evaluated, and employed.

We unequivocally denounce the state-sponsored and state-excused murders of Black people in the United States, with Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and David McAtee as recent victims among a tragically untold number in our country’s centuries-long and present-day history of anti-Black oppression. We affirm that, beyond individual racist actions, the systems that order American life are themselves racist and rooted in white supremacy. Such systems, which we condemn, exist not only within the academy writ large but also within the field of rhetorical studies broadly and the history of rhetoric more specifically.

What sort of work, from which scholars, about which topics gets rewarded in the U.S. American academy? Who faces serious consequences for their work? Who does not enter or remain in academe because of its hostility to them and/or what they teach and study? Honestly asking those questions reveals that whiteness and White scholars are often promoted, rewarded, and advanced, while Black scholars, Black scholarship, Black rhetors, and Black rhetoricians are often marginalized, ignored, neglected, and tokenized.

ASHR commits to centering and supporting scholars and scholarship that draw upon the history of rhetoric to call out anti-Black systems and structures (including within the study of the history of rhetoric itself) and trace their historical-rhetorical development and deployment, to enrich understanding of Black rhetorical traditions, or to otherwise bring Black perspectives to the field. In doing so, we follow the lead of scholars and scholarly groups who have been doing and promoting such work for decades, and at no little personal and professional risk.

In making this public statement, we make ourselves accountable to everyone reading it. Please hold us accountable.

The ASHR Steering Committee