Rhetoric/Violence

Workshop Leaders:

Nathan Stormer, University of Maine
Davi Thornton, Southwestern University

Rhetoric has been in the orbit of violence since it was first discussed, whether violence was understood as an analogous force or a predecessor to rhetoric. Despite an ancient and persistent connection, the relationship remains murky. Given the current climate of violence, many are called again to confront this relationship, as a recent upsurge in scholarship and conferences on the theme attest. With an eye on the long history of thought about rhetoric and violence and immediate provocations that have captured the attention of rhetoric scholars, participants will engage in a variety of conversations about the violence/rhetoric relationship. The goal is to gain a firmer sense of the conventional boundaries for understanding rhetoric’s relation to violence and to enable participants to move beyond those boundaries with greater confidence.

The workshop will 1) introduce participants to touchstone texts for conceptualizing the ethical, political, and ontological intersections of rhetoric and violence; 2) have participants collaboratively produce a map of topoi on violence/rhetoric evident in theory and criticism of rhetoric based on selected, representative fragments; 3) workshop research or pedagogical proposals, grouped by interest. A selected bibliography will also be shared and participants will be called to add to it throughout the workshop in order to build a resource base to aid in future work.

Direct questions to Davi Thornton, thorntod@southwestern.edu.