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Call for Papers - Rhetoric and Humanism

CSSR - June 1 - 3, 2013; University of Victoria, Victoria B.C

Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric/ Société Canadienne pour l’Étude de la Rhétorique
University of Victoria, Victoria B.C.
at Congress 2013:

*Voir infra la version française*

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The Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric (CSSR) invites members to submit proposals for papers to be presented at its annual conference, to be held in conjunction with the Canadian Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities’ Congress 2012 at University of Victoria, Victoria B.C. June 1st, June 2st, and June 3rd.

Special Session: “Rhetoric and Humanism”
Chair: Judith Rice Henderson, University of Saskatchewan

“Humanism” has taken on multiple meanings during the past five centuries, but it referred initially to the studia humanitatis, the study of classical languages and literature, history, and moral philosophy that became central to Renaissance education in 15th-century Italy and was further developed in Northern and Central Europe from the turn of the 16th century under the leadership of Desiderius Erasmus and other humanists. Rhetoric, gradually gaining ground in its contest with scholastic logic, eventually permeated all disciplines of schools and universities, even the Queen of the Arts, Theology. The rules of rhetoric taught in ancient Greece and Rome were adapted as much to critical reading and imitation of classical authors as they were to writing and speaking in the hierarchical states of Renaissance Europe, where for the most part democracy was feared, monarchs were considered viceroys of God, and the tyrant demanding flattery was a far more common experience than the Ciceronian ideal of the orator as statesman. Some have seen the “humanities” as a pale, state-supported instrument to indoctrinate the future servants of those in power. Other scholars would argue that this hostile environment encouraged scepticism and produced an exceptionally rich legacy of rhetorical pedagogy, critical thinking, and debate that can still be traced in the humanities today.

Proposals are invited on rhetoric’s many applications to humanism and/or the humanities from  their origins in the ancient world to the present global village, from past failings and glories to potential  contributions of the humanist rhetorician to the demise or survival of humanity.

Judith Rice Henderson, a specialist in Renaissance humanism and the history of rhetoric, will open this special session with an introduction to rhetoric in the influential, multi-faceted, controversial, and often satirical work of Erasmus of Rotterdam.

General Sessions

Papers concerning more general aspects of rhetoric are also welcome:
• rhetorical theory
• rhetorical criticism
• history of rhetoric
• rhetoric in popular culture
• media communication
• discourse analysis
• rhetoric of political and social discourse • pedagogy of communication • rhetoric and the media • sociolinguistics and semiotics • professional and technical communication.

Proposal Deadline: 8 Feb 2013

How to submit a proposal:

Proposals (200-350 words) may be submitted in English or French. Proposals should include the title of the paper and indicate clearly the central importance of rhetoric to the inquiry. Work from various disciplines and from across all historical periods is welcome.

Presentations are expected to be twenty minutes. Proposal that are accepted will be printed in the conference program. In order to present a paper, scholars must be members of the CSSR and annual membership dues must be paid before the presentation of the paper. Note: CSSR annual membership fees are not included in Congress registration fees. Proposals that are accepted will be printed in the conference program. Proposals should be e-mailed to Jeanie Wills at (see contact information below).

Graduate Student Submissions

In an effort to mentor graduate students and guide them through the scholarly conference experience, we ask that graduate students meet two additional requirements to be eligible to present at the annual conference:

• Clearly mark on your proposal that you are currently a graduate student (this designation will make you eligible for a reduced membership fee for the Society, with valid student ID);

• Be prepared to submit a draft of your paper one month prior to the conference. This submission deadline will encourage you to plan ahead for the conference and will allow members of the CSSR executive to offer you feedback or advice for your conference presentation (if necessary).

We recognize that some graduate students will require less guidance than others, but we wish to extend a helping hand to all. Graduate students who fail to meet these requirements will be ineligible to present at the annual conference. In addition, please note that there will be a prize for the best graduate student paper and presentation.


Jeanie Wills, PhD
President of the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric (CSSR) Graham Centre for the Study of Communication College of Engineering University of Saskatchewan
57 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK
S7N 5A9

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