Rhetoric and the Public University

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Robert Azzarello / Southern University at New Orleans
contact email: 

South Atlantic Modern Language Association

November 13-15, 2020

Jacksonville, Florida


“Rhetoric and the Public University”


This panel welcomes any and all papers related to the general topic of rhetoric and the public university. Some guiding questions include, but are not limited, to the following:


  • What is the relationship between rhetoric and the public university? What should that relationship be or become?


  • How does the American public university deploy rhetoric to defend its existence? To legitimate its policies and procedures? To rationalize its special or not so special role in the society? To attract and retain students, faculty, and staff? To gain state and federal funding? To guard against governmental austerity and interference? To explain its part in American democracy? To justify its distinction from its private counterparts?


  • How have outside supporters of public universities defended their support? 


  • How have outside critics framed their criticisms?


  • How have university insiders—i.e., academics working in rhetoric and composition, pedagogy, critical university studies, and identity-based fields such as African American Studies, Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies, etc.—entered into these debates?


  • How have newer issues such as student debt, academic labor, corporatism, neoliberalism, globalism, risk, and pandemic affected the rhetoric of the public university?


Please send an abstract of 200-300 words in length along with a short bio and A/V requests to Robert Azzarello at razzarello@suno.edu by June 15, 2020.