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History Matters: Materials and Methods for Scholarship in the History of Rhetoric

Leaders: Debra Hawhee, University of Illinois; Richard Graff, University of Minnesota

  History Matters: Materials and Methods for Scholarship
 in the History of Rhetoric

Debra Hawhee (University of Illinois)
Richard Graff (University of Minnesota)

Participants in this workshop will consider the methods-longstanding and emergent-for doing historical work in the context of rhetoric. Our approach will be two-fold: first, we will read and discuss a small selection of recent scholarship in the history of rhetoric and articles on historiography. Some of these readings engage historiography vis-à-vis the rhetorical "tradition," and others challenge or extend existing conceptions of what rhetoric is and does. Second, in advance of the workshop, participants will contribute brief statements about their own research projects or plans.  These statements will be circulated to all participants in advance and will form the basis for a discussion about hands-on history. Central questions for this workshop, then, include:

  • What historiographic approaches are the most rhetoric friendly?
  • What are the "available means" of doing historical work in a given time period, and what is their relation to the kind of history that can or does get written?
  • How do history and theory inform each other in rhetorical studies? More specifically, how do new perspectives on materiality, performance, and the vernacular alter historiographic approaches, and how do new histories speak back to rhetorical theory?
  • How does recent historical work in rhetorical studies make itself matter? What are the ways of demonstrating the relevance of a work of historical scholarship and/or of commanding the attention of scholars in different disciplines?

The scope of the workshop is quite broad; workshop leaders invite applications from scholars-including graduate students-working in or on any period, tradition, figure, or concept in the history of rhetoric.

For inquiries, contact Debra Hawhee:

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