Literature, Rhetoric, and Values (3-5 June 2011; proposals due 6 Sept. 2010)

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Deaprtment of English Language and Literature, University of Waterloo
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CFP: Literature, Rhetoric, and Values
Proposals due by Monday 6 September 2010
Conference 3-5 June 2011

Plenary: Barry Brummett (U of Texas at Austin) and Christopher Hitchens (The New School)

Keynote Speakers: Carolyn R. Miller (North Carolina State) and James Phelan (Ohio State)

Literature (n.): literary work or production; the realm of letters.
Rhetoric (n.): the study and practice of using symbols to persuade or influence.
Value (n.): the quality of a thing considered in respect of its power and validity for a specified purpose or effect.

This three-day conference will investigate the intersections of literature and rhetoric with values.

"Value" is never singular. Whether used to refer to a quality or a conviction, the term situates its referent in relation to a spectrum of other qualities and convictions called by the same name. Values emerge in dialogue with and in contrast to each other. Their holders articulate them in relation to a range of other beliefs encountered and imagined. To declare a value is to invite argument and to incite discussion. How do literature and rhetoric express values, and to what end(s)? How do they give values a form?

"Literature, Rhetoric, and Values" will feature a plenary discussion between Sapp Professor of Communication (U of Texas at Austin) Dr. Barry Brummett (_The Rhetoric of Popular Culture_, _Techniques of Close Reading_, _Uncovering Hidden Rhetorics_) and public intellectual Christopher Hitchens (teacher at The New School; regular contributor to _Atlantic Monthly_, _Vanity Fair_; author of _God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything_ and _Unacknowledged Legislation: Writers in the Public Sphere_), as well as keynote addresses by Carolyn R. Miller, SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication, North Carolina State University (and editor of _Rhetoric Society Quarterly_), and James Phelan, Humanities Distinguished Professor, Ohio State University (_Narrative as Rhetoric_, _Experiencing Fiction_).

The conference aims to foster productive interdisciplinary exchanges on the nexus of values with literature and rhetoric, broadly conceived. Conference organizers will accept 300-word proposals on topics that include, but need not be limited to, the following:

* literature, rhetoric, disinterestedness
* anatomies of value: embodiment in literature and rhetoric
* literature, rhetoric, and "the good life"
* literature, rhetoric, and "the digital life"
* poetic justice: literature, rhetoric, and law
* popular literature, popular rhetoric, popular values?
* "global" literature and "globalized" values

Send proposals for panels or individual papers by 6 September 2010 to the "Literature, Rhetoric, and Values" Conference Committee at the Department of English Language and Literature, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1, or email them to

All papers (other than keynote addresses) will be given in 1-1.5 hour sessions, but in order to maximize discussion, our moderators will rigidly enforce a 15-minute speaking limit per presenter.