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2011 Election ... Nominees for Board of Directors

RSA Nominees for Board of Directors 

Here are brief statements prepared by each of the candidates for the RSA Board of Directors in the 2011 election.  The polls close at midnight Eastern time on Saturday, October 15, 2011. 

Contest #1 

Don Bialostosky, University of Pittsburgh 

I remember back in the early 1980s asking Michael Halloran, “Where can you meet other rhetoricians?” and being delighted to learn about RSA.  I joined immediately and have been a member since the days of mimeographed RSQ.  Its meetings have been the closest to an intellectual and professional home of all my professional organizations, and it’s the only one I haven’t yet had occasion to serve.  I would welcome the chance to do so. My intellectual and professional engagements with rhetoric began in the Ideas and Methods major at the University of Chicago and grew through study of rhetorical criticism as a graduate student of Wayne Booth’s.  I initiated a Colloquium in Rhetorical Theory earlier in my career at the University of Toledo and was a member of the rhetoric faculty in English at Penn State, where I also served as chair of the department.  I’m now chair of English at the University of Pittsburgh where I’m part of the Composition: Literacy, Pedagogy, Rhetoric group.  I’ve published rhetorically inflected books on Wordsworth and articles on Bakhtin and rhetoric, and I co-edited a collection Rhetorical Traditions and British Romantic Writing.  

David Kaufer, Carnegie Mellon University

As a professor of rhetoric, at CMU I teach courses in narrative and argument, rhetorical analysis, rhetorical theory, and argumentation.  I was Department Head of English from 1994-2009. My books (all published by Erlbaum/Routledge) include Communication at a Distance: The Influence of Print on Socio-Cultural Organization and Change (with Kathleen Carley), Rhetoric and the Arts of Design (with Brian Butler), Designing Interactive Worlds with Words (with Brian Butler), and Power of Words: Unveiling the Speaker and Writers’ Hidden Craft (with Suguru Ishizaki, Brian Butler, and Jeff Collins).  I have a book forthcoming on the depiction of Arab women in Arab news (with Amal Al-Malki, Suguru Ishizaki, and Kira Dreher) to be published in 2012 by Bloomsbury-Academic (London). I served as a local host of the RSA conference in 1998 and co-planner of the 2009 RSA Summer Institute. My PhD was in Communication at Wisconsin, and I believe RSA has and should be a welcome gathering place for scholars in English and Communication, as well as other disciplines. I am interested in seeing rhetoric and rhetoricians thrive both in and outside the academy; and interested in seeing rhetoric studied in non-western contexts as well as in developing regions. 

Contest #2 

Michelle Ballif, University of Georgia

 I read one of my first conference papers at the fourth RSA conference—an event I helped to plan and host; I also co-edited its proceedings. I have been impressed with the ways in which RSA’s many endeavors, including its conference, journal, institute, as well as its scholarships and student memberships, successfully bridge disciplinary boundaries, embracing and supporting rhetorical scholarship across the disciplines.  My scholarship both benefits from this bridging and aims to further it. Particularly, I am interested in the historiography of our collective fields, and how our past might help us to write the future of rhetorical studies. I have been teaching and publishing in rhetorical studies for two decades, and my essays have appeared in journals such as Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, and JAC.  Additionally, I am the author of Seduction, Sophistry, and the Woman with the Rhetorical Figure; co-author of Women’s Ways of Making it in Rhetoric and Composition; editor of Theorizing Future Histories of Rhetoric (forthcoming); and co-editor of Classical Rhetorics and Rhetoricians and Twentieth-Century Rhetorics and Rhetoricians.  I would welcome the opportunity to serve on the Board, working with dedication to help our organization realize its future—and rhetoric’s future. 

Lawrence Green, University of Southern California 

I teach rhetoric and literature at USC, where currently I am Director of Undergraduate Studies.  For many years I directed the USC graduate program in Rhetoric-Literature-Linguistics, and taught graduate seminars in rhetoric for the teacher’s institute at Cal--Irvine.  My books include John Rainolds’ Oxford Lectures on Aristotle’s “Rhetoric” (1986), the Renaissance Rhetoric Short Title Catalogue (2006, with James Murphy), and Aristotle’s “Rhetoric” in the Renaissance (forthcoming).  I have published many articles on the history and theory of rhetoric, received research support from the ACLS and NEH, and lectured frequently in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.  I have served as vice-president and president of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (2001-2005), and organized several international conferences on rhetoric.  An active member of RSA for many years, I developed RSA seminars on special topics in rhetoric—Agricola and De Inventione Dialectica in 2004; Aphthonius and Progymnasmata in 2006; loci communes in 2008; classical epideixis for 2012—and conducted a workshop in Renaissance rhetoric for the RSA Summer Institute.  If elected, I’ll foster more interaction among scholars of rhetoric from America and abroad and introduce younger scholars to the wealth of research opportunities in the history of rhetoric. 

Contest #3 

Charles E. Morris III, Boston College 

I am an Associate Professor teaching rhetorical criticism, social protest, and public memory in Communication and American Studies at BC. I consider myself an always-aspiring archival queer, a scholar-activist who performs inventive and disruptive, constitutive and critical accumulations and exhibitions and preservations of diverse GLBT pasts and their presence. My work includes the edited volumes Queering Public Address (2007) and Remembering the AIDS Quilt (2011), multiple editions of the co-edited anthology Readings on the Rhetoric of Social Protest, guest-edited special issues of Rhetoric & Public Affairs and Southern Communication Journal, and essays that have appeared in QJS, CC/CS, WJC, WSIC, and elsewhere. My devotion to intra- and interdisciplinary collaboration and coalition has been buoyed and deepened by RSA’s vision and enactments, including my privilege of twice co-leading a seminar and workshop at the RSA Summer Institute. My commitment to RSA concerns intersectional disciplinary queerness beyond tokenism, i.e., ongoing work against homophobia and transphobia in the field, and making GLBTQ lives and perspectives indigenous to rhetorical studies, which will enhance the careers of all young scholars in the emergent and future generations, and in turn contribute meaningfully to queer world making.   

Kirt H. Wilson, Penn State University 

I’m honored to be nominated to run for a position on the RSA Board. RSA has reached an exciting point in its evolution.  Managing growth well and with intention will be a challenge in the coming years, and I would like to work with others as we meet that challenge.  Currently, I am an Associate Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State.  I am also a graduate program director, which is one reason why I would like to see RSA play an enhanced role in the professionalization of graduate students. I spent fourteen years at the University of Minnesota where I authored Reconstruction’s Desegregation Debate: The Politics of Equality and the Rhetoric of Place and co-edited, with Andrea Lunsford and Rosa Eberly, the Sage Handbook of Rhetorical Studies.  I am currently co-editing Making the Case: Advocacy and Judgment in Public Argument to be published by Michigan State University Press. In 2006 I gave a keynote address at the RSA Conference in Memphis; this past summer, I helped lead an RSA Summer Institute Seminar titled “Rhetoric’s Critical Genealogies.” These were two of the best experiences of my academic life, and I would like to help provide similar opportunities for others. 

Contest #4 

Erik Doxtader, University of South Carolina 

A Professor of Rhetoric at the University of South Carolina (USA) and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (South Africa), I have published numerous books on the discourses of transitional justice, South African reconciliation, and human rights. My work has received support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Mellon Foundation, and the South African National Research Foundation. I stand for election to the Board after many years of RSA membership, in the wake of a variety of service – including the book award committee and a summer institute workshop – and with an interest to pursue three open questions. As the flagship organization for the study of rhetoric in the United States and in light of its success in gathering the different “sides” of the discipline, how can RSA enhance graduate student education and promote groundbreaking debate between senior scholars? In the name of securing external funding and increasing its readership, how can the field better advocate for its mission and work? Beyond once off “collaboration” – at conferences or in print – what is the Society willing to give in order to foster reciprocal ties with other national and international communities of scholarship? 

Lisa Villadsen, University of Copenhagen 

I’m Associate Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. I teach Introduction to Rhetoric, Rhetorical Criticism, and various graduate courses. My research interests are in issues of rhetorical agency and rhetorical citizenship. In 2007-2009 I led a researchers’ network on rhetorical citizenship. Since 2005 I have served as an editor of the Scandinavian rhetoric journal Rhetorica Scandinavica, first as Danish national editor and as of January 2011 as its editor-in-chief. I have co-edited a Danish textbook on rhetoric and Rhetorical Citizenship and Public Deliberation (forthcoming). Since January 2011 I have served on RSA’s International Task Force, a group charged with working on new ways to enhance the connection among rhetoric scholars and societies in various national locations and to help facilitate the growing transnational network of rhetorical studies.  As a Scandinavian-based rhetorician with an American graduate education under my belt, my primary goal as a board member would be to work to strengthen the contact between North American and European rhetoric communities, in person as well as in print. I believe that RSA’s several initiatives for young scholars such as the Summer Institute are central in this effort, but also special pre-conference seminars and workshops are needed.

Student Contest #1 

Kendall Gerdes, University of Texas, Austin 

I attended my first RSA conference as a lucky undergraduate who happened to be spending the summer in Seattle in 2008—I had moved there only a week before. I joined RSA, and each day, I took the bus downtown and attended panels, every single session: start to finish! For the relationships RSA has fostered and their many gifts, I owe RSA a tremendous debt of gratitude—a debt I hope to begin to honor with my service as an RSA Board member. I'm in my third year of graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where I am a member of the RSA Student Chapter. I'd like RSA to cultivate collaboration between student chapters, creating and sharing opportunities for professional development as well as support for one another's teaching and research. (My own work is unfolding from the intersections of rhetoric, performativity, and queer theory.)  I also have years of experience as an activist/organizer in the queer community, designing, budgeting, and implementing interventions from teach-ins to proposals for structural changes at our university. I'll bring this executive experience to bear as an RSA Board member, soliciting and responding to voices from all parts of the RSA community.

Tyrell Stewart, University of Illinois—Chicago 

I bring strength, enjoyment, intelligence, and many more positive attributes to any group or project that I belong to because I am excited to work, and I will bring this excitement to the RSA. In the past I have served as president of the Black Student Union and as a member of campus committees including the University of Washington Diversity Task Force and the New Student Orientation Committee. In addition, I have volunteered with student organizations, mentored students, participated in and helped organize conferences, and received several awards for my campus service and scholarship.  I am an energetic and easygoing person with a strong ability to create working relationships with a wide spectrum of people--traits that will be helpful in growing the RSA’s student chapters. I am currently pursuing my PhD in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, attending on a Lincoln Fellowship; am an active member of the UIC RSA student chapter; and would like to help the RSA spread to other campuses. I am ready to help the RSA grow, work with others who share the same goals, and offer up the unique ideas, perspectives, and insights that will help the organization to innovate.

Student Contest #2 

Jennifer Keohane, University of Wisconsin, Madison 

I’m currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  At the UW-Madison, I’ve been involved in rehabilitating the RSA Student Chapter.  I recently helped to plan a successful student-organized rhetoric symposium promoting interdisciplinary scholarship across the English and Communication departments, sponsored by our student chapter.  This event promoted much-needed professional links and fellowship between the two departments, as do our chapter socials and colloquia.  I was also a member of a task force seeking to improve RSA’s electronic presence.  This particular experience familiarized me with the needs of RSA’s graduate students and faculty members as we negotiated how to best serve our diverse membership through RSA’s website and electronic resources.  My experience in the student chapter and on the task force has given me the enthusiasm and motivation to serve our membership.  I’ve enjoyed my time as an RSA member immensely, and I especially value the sense of community that this organization provides.  I hope to build on the momentum created by the previous student board members by offering events at the Biennial Conference to provide opportunities for professional development, particularly for graduate students. 

William Saas, Penn State University 

I am currently a Ph. D. candidate in the department of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State University. Throughout my graduate career I have advocated for graduate student interests in various leadership positions on three different executive boards. Previous elected service positions include a term as secretary of the Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies division of NCA, and chairperson of the activities committee of the Graduate and Professional Student Association at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I now serve as a second-term secretary for the Arnold Ebbitt Interdisciplinary Rhetoricians (AEIR) student group at Penn State.  Last fall, AEIR became an official RSA student chapter; in winter, we received funding from RSA for our interdisciplinary Camp Rhetoric event. This past year’s Camp Rhetoric invited graduate students from neighboring universities to participate in student-centered research panels and professionalization discussion groups. This mini-conference was unique in that its content was, from planning to execution, managed by and tailored to the needs of its 40-plus student participants. As a student member of the RSA board I would foster development of student chapters at more institutions toward growing current and future collaborative, student-centered events like those of Camp Rhetoric and the Midwest Winter Workshop.

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