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Performance and the Rhetorical Tradition

Leaders: Jenn Fishman, University of Tennessee-Knoxville; Jeremy Wear, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

  Performance and the Rhetorical Tradition

Jenn Fishman (University of Tennessee-Knoxville)
Jeremy Wear (University of Tennessee-Knoxville)

Performance is everywhere within the rhetorical tradition, and everyone in rhetorical studies works on performance to some degree, whether his or her focus is traditions of oratory and other forms of oral communication, theories of linguistic performativity and language-based agency, pedagogy and the history of rhetorical education, assessment of individuals', groups', or machines' performance capacity/capability, identity-building rituals and everyday practices, etc.

Despite the length and scope of this list, we have relatively few resources for the study of rhetorical performance. We have no discipline-specific guide to past and present concepts of performance; we have no map of developments in rhetorical performance over time, place, and technology; and we have no clearinghouse for ideas and materials currently in use. This workshop is for graduate students and faculty who are interested in collaboratively addressing and correcting this lack.

Designed as a series of structured conversations, this workshop will begin with a survey of performance in the rhetorical tradition, working from an initial bibliography of published works. Early on, workshop leaders Jenn Fishman and Jeremy Wear will also present an overview of Performance Studies concepts and terms in order to provide a common ground and vocabulary for the group. Subsequent sessions will focus on specific areas of rhetorical performance identified by workshop participants. The final session will be devoted to identifying concrete ways to cultivate additional scholarship and interest (e.g., conference sessions, special interest groups, publications).

In applying to this workshop, please indicate clearly your theoretical, historical, and/or critical interest in rhetoric and performance. This information will be crucial to workshop planning.

Six weeks prior to the workshop, all participants will be asked to contribute a short (10- to 20-item) bibliography of works in their area of interest. One month before we meet, participants will receive guidelines for leading discussion on those materials, and they will also receive several short readings relevant to our opening discussions.

For inquiries, please contact Jenn Fishman:

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