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RSA 2012 Conference - Special Session Submission SAMPLE

Special format proposals are meant to encourage panels that are unusual in format, especially those that invite the active participation of both presenters and audiences. Consider such formats as debates; a series of short position papers designed to generate discussion; roundtables; screenings of rhetorical performances followed by discussion; workshops; or other special formats. Special format proposals should be no more than 350 words in length and plan for a 75-minute time slot. Proposals should explain the role of the presenter(s), the role of the participants, and the goals and aims of the proceedings. Sample:

Forum:  “The Analysis of Political Advertising” 

Rhetoricians in their research and in their classrooms continue to search for appropriate methodologies for rhetorical analysis of all kinds of discourse.  Especially since the “linguistic turn,” our field, among others, has acknowledged that every perspective has its bias – that a way of seeing is a way of not seeing (as Kenneth Burke put it).  How then do rhetoricians conduct responsible rhetorical analyses, particularly when the objects of analysis are politically partisan?  Particularly in an election year, rhetoricians can expect to be challenged about ways of gaining authoritative and non-partisan perspectives on partisan political ads.  This special event, then, is designed to highlight the possibilities and limitations of various methods of analysis: through practical application and discussion of various methods in relation to a specific political advertisement, participants will gain new approaches to the rhetorical analysis of political discourses that will have implications for scholarship and teaching. 

The conversation envisioned for this session will be instigated by a common experience:  at the start of the event, participants will watch a recent one-or-two-minute political ad that has been in circulation during this election season.  The specific ad will be chosen early in 2008, during the primary season.  Then, seven presenters will offer brief (three- to five-minute) analyses of the ad from the differing analytical frames and perspectives: feminism (speaker 1), Marxism (2), cultural studies (3), Aristotelianism (4), Burkean “conversation analysis” (5), visual analysis (6), and reader response (7).  Following these presentations, the floor will open for discussion:  participants can comment on the limitations and advantages of each method of analysis in the given case, always with reference to the ad that everyone has just watched together, and they might offer and evaluate alternative methods for analysis.  

By the end of the session, participants will have gained a greater appreciation for the utility of particular analytic methods and a renewed ability to employ them.  The forcefulness of the presentations and the interest value of the ad itself together should generate spirited discussion.  

The leader will provide a laptop and will need only a projector.

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