Rhetoric and Reality Workshop



9:00am to 5:00pm

Wednesday, March, 15th, 2017


Jackie Rhodes, Elizabeth Brewer, Jody Shipka, Jason Markins, Melanie Yergeau, Tamera Marko, Ryan Catalini, and Mario Ernesto Osorio from MobilityMovilidad.org


2017 will mark the 30th anniversary of Berlin’s Rhetoric and Reality (R/R)—a book that has become a primary text in our graduate classrooms and our scholarship. At the time of its publication, Berlin’s text drew together two exigencies of our field: a need for a disciplinary history of our field; the need for a scholarly series devoted to our field. We want to use the example of Berlin’s text to pose the following questions: What are the exigent arguments, the issues that need to be discussed, within our field?  How can new forms of scholarly argument (digital, print, object-based) best engage these discussions? Rhetoric and Realities is a full-day workshop designed to create a space for participants to discuss the issues/concerns that need to be addressed into our scholarly publications as well as provide them with the opportunity to learn about as well as to experiment with building alternative forms of scholarly production.


Opening Remarks
Steve Parks, Editor of SWR, will provide a workshop overview, using the instance of Berlin’s text to talk about the need to continually pose the relationship between emergent disciplinary insights and innovative publishing platforms.

Exploring the Potentials of Alternative Scholarship
Panel I: Altering Disciplinary Scholarship Through Digital Platforms
Jackie Rhodes, Elizabeth Brewer and Melanie Yergeau
This panel will discuss the use of technology to alter the terminology and ethics of scholarly production. Using her recent co-authored publication, Techne, Rhodes will discuss her efforts to push the boundaries of scholarship rhizomatically to queer the field’s sense of archive, theory, memoir, and writing itself. This will be followed by a presentation by Brewer and Yergeau who will discuss their book project Cripping the Computer, specifically, their belief that rhetoricians must consider the ethics of design—from process to product, from author to audience, from curricular design to larger professional spaces with the goal of modeling ways of radically rethinking our composing, our teaching, and our profession.


Panel II:  Altering Public Scholarship Through Print, Digital, and Material Platforms

Interview with Tamera Marko, Ryan Catalini, and Mario Ernesto Osorio of MobilityMovilidad.org
Proyecto Carrito is a collective of university students, faculty and maintenance workers at Emerson College in Boston who write about our identities as writers in the context of U.S. immigration policy and dreams for a more inclusive 21st-century education. This panel will explore how publishing the collective’s writing in fresh and unexpected genres and digital forms disrupts worker invisibility syndrome among audiences. These genres include publishing narratives on a (cara)van and documentaries sharing immigrant janitor perspectives, (doing so in street clothes, not their janitor uniform), and recording audio quotes in Spanish for live radio shows. We also write and act out utopic scripts of how we envision everyday life on campus could be if the climate were truly inclusive.


Breakout Session: The Technicalities of Altering Practices

11:45 – 12:15
During this period, participants will be able to choose to sit with one of the plenary panel speakers to discuss specific capabilities of the platforms being discussed.

A Crowd Sourced History of SWR

12:15 – 12:30
Brett Keegan will discuss a new platform that allows the field to write a disciplinary and public history through engaging with the SWR book series.

Lunch Break
12:45 -1:30

Making, Breaking, Transforming: Exploring the Potential of Object-based Arguments
This hands-on, interactive workshop, facilitated by Jody Shipka and Jason Markins, invites participants to consider the impact of doing something beyond, or in addition to, “thinking with (or writing about) objects”—or, as is often the case, when objects are even considered and given their due, writing about objects.  Instead, participants will be exploring more fully what it might mean (and, indeed, how it feels) to actually compose with objects.* Participants in the workshop will be composing multimodal texts while working with (and against) the affordances of a wide variety of material objects. By inviting participants to compose complex 3D object-based texts, the workshop challenges a tendency in the field to conflate multimodality with digital media or visual-verbal 2D object-texts.

Together, we will discuss how the different scholarly approaches featured throughout the day (print, digital, object-based) might intersect, support, and/or transform the field’s ability to tackle the exigent arguments and pressing concerns. Put otherwise, we explore the questions: What are the Rhetorics and Realities that need to be produced as we look to the future?

*NOTE: The afternoon workshop requires participants do some preparatory work in advance of the workshop.  Firstly, you must bring to the workshop at least five physical objects—things you might imagine using to create an object-based, multimodal composition. These objects might range from found objects to yard sale or thrift store finds to everyday ephemera found around the house, workplace or campus. Importantly, given the de- and re-compositional nature of the workshop (i.e., you will be trading objects with others and perhaps even modifying or breaking these objects), please DO NOT choose objects that you would not be willing to exchange with others or see modified or destroyed as part of the workshop’s activities.  Once you’ve selected your objects, the second thing you’ll need to do is to spend time thinking about the rhetorical and material dimensions of the objects you’ve selected. Consider, for instance, how these objects function and what and how they mean individually.   Consider, as well, how the materials might be juxtaposed, combined and/or modified to do certain kinds of rhetorical work—for instance, to tell a story, to move someone to action, to make an argument, to warn, to amuse, etc.  In addition to considering the objects’ potentials for meaning, use and/or modification, consider as well the affective dimensions of the objects you have selected.  Does the object convey or otherwise suggest a kind of sadness—is it playful, frightening, boring, provocative, etc.?  Please take time to write up (or jot down, list, audio or videotape, etc.) your thoughts about and impressions of your objects.

For PDF version: Rhetoric and Realities Workshop