Rhetoric in Society #7, September 2019, Ghent University

Rhetoric in Society #7, September 2019, Ghent University

7th Rhetoric in Society Conference, 11-13 September 2019, Ghent University, Belgium: “Rhetoric as equipment for living”

Organized by the Rhetoric Society of Europe in collaboration with the Department of Educational Studies at Ghent University

We are very happy to announce that proposals are now invited for panels, papers, roundtables and other forms of presentation to be delivered at Rhetoric in Society 7, which is the biannual conference organized by the Rhetoric Society of Europe. The conference will take place from September 11th to 13th 2019 at the Department of Educational Studies of Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium. As you might know, the conference was initially planned to take place at the University of Pavia but due to unforeseen circumstances we re-located the conference to Ghent. We hope that you will join us in what promises to be a stimulating and engaging conference.

We welcome proposals for:

  • Papers or panels which speak directly to the conference theme (explained below);
  • Papers or panels which address general issues related to the theory, analysis & practice of rhetoric in society;
  • Other kinds of presentation such as roundtables or debates.

Rhetoric as equipment for living

As a rhetorician and literary critic interested in how we use symbols, Kenneth Burke fameously described the human being as the symbol-making, symbol-using and symbol-misusing animal. He argued that our interpretations, perceptions, judgements and attitudes are all influenced and ‘deflected’ by the symbols that we make, use and misuse, and that we are at the same time used by these symbols. This implies that we can approach the world either symbol-wise or symbol-foolish.

This conference aims to explore how rhetorical concepts, theories and methods from a broad range of rhetorical traditions can be used as tools – equipment – to make students, teachers, scholars, activists and citizens symbol-wise: to understand the way linguistic, cultural, narrative, affective… symbols work, and to develop critical engagement with, as well as on behalf of, those symbols. At the same time the conference aims to critically unpack what it implies to become symbol-wise within different institutional contexts. It furthermore wants to explore if and how rhetoric can still be relevant in an increasingly media-saturated knowledge society that is continuously in transition and that is becoming ever more complex and paradoxical by political, economic and cultural differences on a global scale.

We welcome proposals for papers and panels that broadly and non-exhaustively explore the theme of Rhetoric as Equipment for Living in relation to topics such as education, politics, citizenship, art, literature, literacy, technology, games and (new) media; from the perspective of rhetorical domains such as argumentation, deliberation, persuasive communication, public speaking, composition and new rhetoric; and embedded in disciplines such as pedagogy, social work, psychology, cultural studies, heritage studies, media studies and management.

General papers

We also invite proposals for papers and panels more generally concerned with the theory, practice or analysis of rhetoric. This may include, for example, historical scholarship, theoretical analysis and contemporary cultural or political critique; work grounded in political theory, philosophy, languages and linguistics, argumentation, literary studies, communication studies, composition, media studies, psychology, sociology, history, cultural studies and more. Papers might be comparative, national or international in focus, concerned with particular orators, ideologies or movements; they might draw on queer theory, critical race theory, de-colonialism and focus on spoken, written or audio-visual communication.

Alternative presentations

We welcome proposals for forms of presentation other than panels and papers. This might include: roundtables addressing key rhetorical themes, works or phenomena; debates between contending positions; other, novel and effective ways of communicating research findings, claims and arguments.

How to submit a proposal

Please submit your paper proposals by 22/02/2019 to RIS7@UGent.be

We will inform you about our decision by 22/03/2019

Individual Paper Proposals

All individual paper proposals must be written in English and submitted to the Committee with the following information:

  • Title
  • Author name
  • Email address
  • Affiliation
  • Abstract (300 words maximum)

Session Proposals

Session Organizers should submit session proposals written in English to the Committee with the following information:

  • Session title
  • Session abstract of 300 words maximum
  • The list of the chosen participants including chair, presenters and discussants (if applicable), their email addresses, and the names of the institutions that they are associated with
  • The related paper abstracts (300 words maximum/ paper)