18th Biennial Conference of the
Rhetoric Society of America
May 31 - June 3, 2018
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of the Conference Program:
William Keith; Roxanne Mountford; Christa Olson; Kirt H. Wilson
For over two millennia in the Western rhetorical tradition, the canon of invention has been the source of rhetorical expression, theory, and instruction. For Cicero, inventio begins in a specific, localized moment, a context that invites a rhetorical response. It then proceeds as disputants consider and debate all of the possible sides of an argument. Today, as rhetorical studies reaches beyond the premises of Western humanism, invention is multi-layered and protean. It resists easy resolution, but continues to reflect the complex tensions of its local moment. In this spirit, we will gather in Minneapolis, Minnesota for our 18th Biennial Conference and to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Rhetoric Society of America.
The theme of the conference, “Re-Inventing Rhetoric: Celebrating the Past, Building the Future,” calls us to a dialogue of three parts. First, the conference theme invites us to discuss our past and our future as a society. What can we learn from our first fifty years, and what must we become to meet the challenges that appear on the horizon? Second, the conference theme encourages us to rethink the canon of invention. How is invention related to reinvention, the hermeneutic act of interpreting what it is to imagine what has never been? Third, the conference theme calls us to address the demands of the current moment. What are our responsibilities as rhetoric scholars and human beings given the pressing needs of the present?
As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, it is fitting that RSA returns to Minneapolis, the site of its inception in 1968. Minneapolis provides many opportunities to enjoy music, theatre, art, shopping, and food. But more than that, Minneapolis and its sister city, Saint Paul, represent well the tensions inherent in invention; they exist, geographically and historically, in dialogue. Furthermore, they are sites where many of our contemporary debates have long histories: immigration, political realignment, gender autonomy, native rights, education, culture’s social value, LGBTQA politics, urban/rural divides, racial conflict, and economic justice have inspired discussion and activism in the Twin Cities. These and many more are rich topics to explore at the 2018 RSA Conference.
See you Minneapolis, the Co-Chairs.
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