CFP: Returning to and Updating Burke

deadline for submissions: 
December 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Daniel Adleman and Chris Vanderwees

In the mid-twentieth century, Kenneth Burke's massive body of work on the "new rhetoric" was widely considered to be a watershed for the rhetorical tradition and its interlocutors. Routing classical and new rhetorical concepts through contemporary understandings of the unconscious, ideology, media, discourse, literature, politics, ecology, and economics, Burke rendered "mere rhetoric" relevant to the concerns of modernity.  In 2020, his trailblazing approaches to terms such as identification, orientation, attitude, hierarchyinterpretation, occupation, action, trope, etc. have never been more applicable to the socio-symbolic milieu. And yet, almost a century after his "Counter-Statement," the Burkean well has still barely been tapped; and even scholarly deployments of the term "rhetoric" often betoken obliviousness to the far-reaching import of his innovations to the discipline.  Chris Vanderwees and Daniel Adleman are putting together a collection of essays on the topic of re-evaluating Kenneth Burke's relevance to the contemporary moment. We have yet to decide whether this collection will be a special issue of a journal or a special anthology. With a view to bringing the relevance of Burke's work into relief in a scholarly but undogmatic fashion, we are currently soliciting essay proposals on new rhetorical understandings of topics such as the following:  

  • Rhetoric of science and technology
  • Rhetoric of health and medicine 
  • Rhetorical vectors of the Covid-19 crisis
  • Digital rhetoric
  • Rhetoric of online marketing and advertising
  • Rhetoric, political economy, and financial crises
  • New-rhetorical genre studies
  • Environmental rhetoric
  • New rhetorical approaches to literature and cinema
  • Burkean poetics
  • New rhetorical approaches to emerging digital discourse and genres.
  • Rhetoric and psychoanalysis
  • Rhetoric of race, gender, and class
  • Rhetoricity, rhetoricality, and symbolic environments
  • Rhetoric's historical and ongoing relationship with philosophy and critical theory
  • Pathos, affect, and the circulation of feeling
  • Rhetoric and the concept of modernity
  • Symbolic action and performativity
  • Metaphor, metonymy, allegory, and/or irony
  • New rhetorical understandings of audience
  • Symbolic action and performativity
  • New frontiers of rhetorical thought

  Please send a 300-word proposal and 100-word bio to and by December 15, 2020.