Rhetoric Reading Group! (Rescheduled)


The next Rhetoric Reading Group meeting will take place Thursday, March 10, 3:00-5:00 p.m.!

We will be reading Jenny Rice’s Distant Publics (2012). (You can download .pdfs of the book from the WSU library!)

The meeting will take place in the 10th floor lounge of 5057 Woodward (the English Department).

A flier for the meeting can be found below:

Rice RRG Flyer


Summer of Arendt

This summer, the Rhetoric Reading Group will be reading/discussing Hannah Arendt. We meet the last Thursday of each month. Details below:

5/29 (3:00 pm): First half of The Human Condition


We’ll be discussing chapters 1 (“The Human Condition”) through 3 (“Labor”)

Location: Motor City Brewing Works (2nd & Canfield)

6/26 (3:00 pm): Second half of The Human Condition

Chapters 4  (“Work”) through 6 (“The Vita Activa and the Modern Age”)

Location: Seva Detroit

7/31: TBD

Fall Rhetoric Reading Group (3/25)

The next Rhetoric Reading Group meeting will take place October 25 at 3pm @ Motor City Brewing Works (2nd & Canfield). Jeff Pruchnic will join us to discuss selections from his book Rhetoric and Ethics in the Cybernetic Age: The Transhuman Condition:


  • Introduction (pp. 1-19)
  • Chapter 2 – “The Age of the World Program: The Convergence of Technics and Media” (60-100)
  • Chapter 4 – “Any Number Can Play: Burroughs, Deleuze, and the Limits of Control” (120-143)

For access contact Derek Risse


May Rhetoric Reading Group


For the Rhetoric Reading Group meeting in May we’ll be reading four shorter texts on race and teaching. These texts are:

  • Introduction and Section 1 (“Silence”) from David E. Kirkland’s A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Young Black Men  (2013) – pp. 1 – 37 Note: We’ve had some difficulty getting this text in a timely fashion so we are substituting the chapter from Kirkland’s A Search Past Silence with a previous shorter article that covers some of the same ground – “Books Like Clothes: Engaging Young Black Men With Reading”
  • Chapter 1 from Jennifer Trainor’s Rethinking Racism: Emotion, Persuasion, and Literacy Education in an All-White High School (2008)
  • Short selection from Beverly J. Moss’ A Community Text Arises (2003) – pp. 152 – 161
  • Short selections from Teresa Brennan’s Transmission of Affect (2004) – pp. 118-121 and 134-135

All texts (and text selections) have been distributed as PDFs via email at this point. If you missed these, please contact Derek Risse.

Place: 9th Floor Conference Room (9304)

Time/Date: 1-3pm, May 3rd (right before Ruth Ray’s party)

March Rhetoric Reading Group

Gwen Gorzelsky (Director of Composition) has graciously agreed to facilitate at the next RRG meeting scheduled for  March 8. The three shorter texts that she selected nicely parallel current conversations in the department around transfer, genre, and metacognition, particularly as these topics intersect with rhetorical theory. We are really excited that Gwen is participating and hope to see many of you there. As always, print-outs of these materials will be left in the ninth floor mail room for copying purposes. Details below:

Nowacek, Rebecca s. “Transfer as Recontextualization.” Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act. Studies in Writing and Rhetoric Ser. Carbondale: SIUP, 2011. 10-34. (will be made available in PDF form)

Reiff, Mary Jo and Anis Bawarshi. “Tracing Discursive Resources: How Students Use Prior Genre Knowledge to Negotiate New Writing Contexts in First-Year Composition.” Written Communication. 2011 (28.3): 312-337.

Negretti, Raffaella. “Metacognition in Student Academic Writing: A Longitudinal Study of Metacognitive Awareness and Its Relation to Task Perceptions, Self-Regulation, and Evaluation of Performance.” Written Communication. 2012 (29.2): 142-179.

Date: Friday, 3/8/2012

Time: 3:00 – 5ish

Location: Motor City Brewing Works (2nd & Canfield)

Richard Marback’s Talk: “Appeals to uBuntu and the Ambition for Justice”

Last year Richard Marback received a substantial grant from the Humanities Center for his work on South Africa. At the end of this month, the HC is sponsoring a talk at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center. Professor Marback will discuss his research and there will be an opportunity for Q & A shortly following. Generally speaking, RM’s work explores intersections between rhetorical theory, human rights, African philosophy, philosophy of mind, and neuroscience. The talk is scheduled for Thursday, January 31, from 4:15 – 5:00 PM. Description from the HC flier:

The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa critics have increasingly decried the work of the commission as having purchased neoliberal economic reform with the perpetuation of apartheid-era disenfranchisement. For these critics, the TRC’s language of forgiveness and reconciliation evaded issues of redistribution and restitution that remain unaddressed and continue to both  cripple South Africa’s poor and challenge the country’s government. The extent to which the TRC’s language of reconciliation is falling out of use in civic discourse can be measured by tracking the word ubuntu, a word which signifies the idea that a person becomes a person through interactions with others. While a case can be made for seeing the shift in appeals to ubuntu as reflecting the co-opting of human emotion for economic and political gain, I believe such a case misses what it is appeals to ubuntu reveal about the larger issue of how best to orchestrate in civic discourses the often competing appeals for reconciliation, redistribution, and restitution. I argue the trajectory of   appeals to ubuntu in South Africa does more than affirm the intractable difficulty inherent in competing appeals for reconciliation, redistribution, and restitution. Appeals to ubuntu point the way toward a reformulation of civic appeals so those appeals may productively coordinate ambitions for reconciliation, redistribution, and restitution.
My approach to the argument is to work from two extremes toward a middle. At the one extreme of collective narrative I follow how appeals to ubuntu appeal to an individual sense of what it is to be human. At the other extreme of individual sense of self I follow how  appeals to ubuntu cultivate the individual’s sense of a collective humanity.   Neither extreme stands alone, both collective narrative and individual sense of self intertwine with each other. My conclusion is that it is in comprehending and exploiting the intertwining middle of collective narrative and sense of self that appeals to ubuntu can be made most productive. To arrive at this conclusion I read the record of appeals to ubuntu in terms of recent research in rhetorical theory, human rights, African philosophy, philosophy of mind, and neuroscience.