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Emerging Genres

Carolyn R. Miller and Victoria Gallagher

Emerging Genres 

Carolyn R. Miller, North Carolina State University
Victoria Gallagher, North Carolina State University 

How do we develop shared recognitions and identifications in a changing world?  This question lies at the heart of rhetorical theory and practice, and the concept of genre provides a productive way of addressing it.  As ways of acting together, genres constrain and enable, constitute and regulate; indeed, genres link together in systems and ecologies that constitute our social identities, institutions, and cultures. While genre has been an active area in rhetorical studies in the past 30 years (with studies of oratorical genres such as presidential inaugurals and apologias, as well as of professional and workplace genres such as scientific research articles, employee performance appraisals, and corporate annual reports), it is also a concept that cuts across disciplines and media: it has been discovered or rediscovered by literary and film studies, television and media studies, information science, anthropology, linguistics, and visual studies. Moreover, the new digital media have created a plethora of new opportunities for symbolic action and thus the potential for many new genres. Thus, we might ask: How do new genres emerge? How do they balance stability with change? How are new genres related to old ones? What are the potentialities and limitations of genre as a concept for understanding material rhetorical practices? Can the same theories that were developed for oral and print genres help us interpret visual and digital genres? This workshop will explore these questions using several cases and examples as well as inviting development of theoretical and critical approaches to new media and practices.

Questions? Contact Carolyn R. Miller, crmiller@ncsu.edu

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