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RSA - Graduate Student Annual Webinar - Saturday, April 11

All members of RSA are invited to join us this Saturday, April 11 from 5:15pm-6:15pm EDT for the Annual RSA Webinar, hosted by the RSA graduate student chapter at Indiana University. This year, the RSA webinar will provide interactive access to Dr. Collin G. Brooke's keynote address to the Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium, titled "Cognition in the Wild(fire): Digital Rhetorics & Peak Virality." An abstract of Dr. Brooke's keynote address can be found below.

RSA members wishing to attend the webinar can access the livestream by clicking here. Attendees are also invited to participate via Twitter in a Q&A following Dr. Brooke's keynote, using the hashtag #IDRS15.

What: 2015 RSA Webinar, featuring Dr. Collin G. Brooke's keynote address, "Cognition in the Wild(fire): Digital Rhetorics & Peak Virality"

Where: Indiana University, Student Building, Collaborative Studio, Room 15

When: Saturday, April 11, 5:15pm - 6:15 pm

How: Access the livestream at and interact via Twitter using hashtag #IDRS15

Dr. Collin G. Brooke, "Cognition in the Wild(fire): Digital Rhetorics & Peak Virality"


Not so long ago, the printed page, the formal speech, and the published book served as the sites where rhetoricians performed their analyses. These genres were largely (although not entirely) static, and much of the rhetorical theory designed to interrogate them presumed this stasis. As rhetoric has turned to the digital, however, we have developed a better sense of circulation and rhetorical velocity, an understanding of how our ideas move, often unevenly, through time and space. Nowhere is this more evident than in the figure of the virus; an entire industry has emerged around the idea of making things “go viral.”

One of the challenges facing digital rhetorics over the next decade is to interrogate the idea of virality, its affordances and limits as a model of rhetorical effects and effectiveness. Going viral is not simply a case of the rhetorics that we know moving faster and further than they did before our digital infrastructure. Likening the spread of ideas to a virus makes specific assumptions about the effect (and persistence) of the ideas that circulate in this fashion, and those assumptions may not always match up with reality or our intentions and goals for changing it.

My presentation will suggest that, in addition to thinking about the changes in velocity that come with digital rhetoric, we need to attend to entropy as well. Unlike an infectious disease or a zombie bite, the effects of viral rhetorics are not always lasting. I suggest that the wildfire might offer us another conceptual metaphor for understanding the spread of ideas in the digital realm.

We look forward to your participation in the RSA 2015 Webinar.

Katherine Lind and Sarah Frank
RSA Board of Directors Graduate Representatives

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