CFP: American Society for the History of Rhetoric (ASHR) Symposium

in/and the History of Rhetoric

May 21-22, 2020 ~ Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
(immediately prior to the 2020 Rhetoric Society of America convention)

Rhetoric’s strain of restraint and regulation is well known, identified and sustained by concepts like reason, order, fittingness, and civility. Less celebrated is the strain characterized by excess, surplus, riotousness, redundancy, superfluidity, hyperbolicity, emotionality, generosity, infinity, overabundance, extravagance, decadence, exaggeration, abandon, or immoderation.

For its 2020 symposium—which will take place on May 21-22, the day and morning before the Rhetoric Society of America convention begins in Portland, Oregon (U.S.A.)—the American Society for the History of Rhetoric invites proposals for papers that use the history of rhetoric (including its 20thcentury history) to generate conversation about excess or that use excess to generate conversation about the history of rhetoric.

Here are some potential lines of inquiry:

  • What terms for or moments of excess within the history of rhetoric await further development? 
  • Pedagogically or methodologically, how does one account for and do justice to the vastness of the history of rhetoric?
  • When and for whom can excess be a mode of liberation?
  • Who and what are allowed to be excessive, who and what are not, and who decides?
  • What political modes have arisen from a spirit of excess (e.g., caricature; crowd power), and how do they work rhetorically?
  • What aesthetic modes have arisen from a spirit of excess (e.g., Baroque; Dada; camp), and how do they work rhetorically?
  • What kinds of media forms and cultural practices have developed due to excess-panic? What cases are made for their necessity? Who makes them?
  • What’s the relationship between excess and waste? Can we conceive of excess without waste?

Proposals should be:

  • in .doc, .docx, or .pdf, single-spaced, 1-page in length, in English (though translated engagements with other languages are encouraged), with author name/s removed;
  • submitted to incoming ASHR President Michele Kennerly at by no later than September 15, 2019.

There is no cost to attend the Symposium, but all presenters must be members of ASHR (joining can happen after acceptance). For more information on ASHR and becoming a member, visit