Levinas and Rhetoric (Journal Issue; May 1 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Shelley DeBlasis/JAC: A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture, and Politics

Levinas and Rhetoric
Special issue of JAC
Michael Bernard-Donals, guest editor

Emmanuel Levinas's work has gained widespread attention in the years since his death in 1995, though it has been taken up only recently by theorists of rhetoric. This is, in many ways, surprising, since the indissoluble link of language and ethics in his work – not to mention his focus on how individuals are defined through utterance – would seem to be fertile ground for those working in the field. Of course, there are facets of Levinas's work that complicate matters: it is rooted in a Jewish, rather than a Greco-Roman, tradition; it is hostile to systems of any kind, rhetoric included; and it is wedded to theology perhaps more than it is to philosophy, among other issues. Suffice it to say, then, that while Levinas's work has been and will continue to be taken up by rhetoricians, it is fraught terrain.

This special issue of JAC will include essays that take up the complicated relationship between the work of Emmanuel Levinas and rhetoric, the rhetorical tradition, and writing. Essays are invited on any facet of Levinas's work and its relation to rhetoric, cultural studies, and writing studies. Essay topics might include: the relation of language, ethics, politics; the connection between rhetoric and Judaism ; the relation between Levinas's work and that of other rhetorical theorists; Levinas's notions of trauma, suffering and/or otherness as foundational for rhetoric and writing; the performative dimension of Levinas's idea of utterance; other topics welcome.

Deadline for completed papers is 1 May 2009; papers should be between 6000 and 8000 words in length. Questions and completed tss. (as attachments) should be sent to Professor Michael Bernard-Donals (mfbernarddon@wisc.edu). Tss. can also be sent by mail to Professor Bernard-Donals at the Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Helen C. White Hall, 600 North Park Street, Madison WI 53706.