From the category archives:


CFP: Multimodal Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on September 20, 2015

The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, 2016 inaugural issue
full name / name of organization:
The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics
contact email:
[email protected]
The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics invites scholarly essays for our inaugural issue. Proposed articles can focus on the multisensory aspects of rhetoric and persuasion within:

- Art and visual culture
- Digital media
- Material culture
- Video and tabletop games
- Music and film
- Performance studies
- Multimodal composition practices
- Multimodal pedagogies within classroom spaces
- Crafts, hacks, and DIY endeavors

In addition, we are interested in essays which theorize the epistemic relationship(s) between rhetoric and sensory perception/experience.

The journal welcomes both traditional written essays and multimedia submissions, including hyperlinked webtexts, videos, podcasts, and narrated slideshows. Essays should be received by November 1, 2015 in order to be considered for inclusion in the inaugural issue.


Suggested length: 3,500-5,000 words (longer pieces considered on a case-by-case basis)

Preferred editorial style: MLA

Number of copies required: 1 (by email)

Number of peer readers prior to publication: 2-3 (double-blind process)

Special submission requirements: Email your essay or files to [email protected] as an attachment (traditional essays should be in Microsoft Word format). Articles should be free of identifying information, in order to facilitate anonymous review. In the body of your email, please list your name, institutional affiliation, and a brief (no more than 100-word) abstract of the project’s focus and primary claims. JOMR does not accept simultaneous submissions.

Unsure about whether your project fits? Our editorial team is happy to answer preliminary queries at [email protected] Questions about potential book reviews can be routed to [email protected]

For more information about the journal, visit


Rhetoric of Pronouns

by Dr Davis on September 10, 2015

Fascinating article “Rhetorical Pronouns and Namings” from WritingRhetorics says (among many other fascinating things):

Pronouns are keys to ethos (more on ethos in my appeals lesson). Anytime an author uses a first person pronoun (I, we, etc.) they draw attention to their position and persona. Using “I,” a person claims an individual stance, while “we” groups together others. This inclusive gesture can form community, as in the common example “We the people.” It can also make dissenters resistant, as when women and people of color have suggested that “we the people” has historically applied only to white men. Consider common responses such as “What we?” or “Who do you mean we?” These replies suggest that the speaker has overstepped their bounds in describing the views of others.

Removing “I” can hide responsibility, as in “the test kicked my ass,” which removes agency from the student who performed poorly to blame the test.

Getting to chose which pronouns to use is itself a powerful position. Diann Baecker analyzes the pronouns used in university syllabi, for example. She finds that “you” is the most prominent, but she also suggests instructors tend to mask power by using “we.” She cites research by Mühlhäusler and Harré that states, “We spreads the responsibility . . . We is a rhetorical device that allows the speaker(s) to distance themselves from whatever is being said, thus making it appear more palatable because it appears to come from the group as a whole rather than a particular individual” (Baecker 59).

Very worthwhile, and thoughtful, read.

Also, though not something I am doing right now, Teaching Titles looks good. Maybe for grad students writing conference papers.


Videogame Narrative

by Dr Davis on August 29, 2015

Looks relevant:
Narrative in Videogames by Patrick Holleman on The Game Design Forum

Designing Game Narrative from HitBox Team: good graphics too
“In games, you can discover further depth from doing the scene. With interactivity, you now get to experience the story firsthand.”
“Narrative isn’t automatically a crucial component in games, as it often is in film or literature. Interactivity is the defining feature of games – and indeed, games that excel in their gameplay are most often great games.”

The difference between (video)games and narrative, which is an introduction to ludology

Games and Narrative: international research group on interactive and computer game narrative

Plot is Overrated: Game narrative is all about your characters

Narrative in Video Games Are video games an effective storytelling medium?

Narrative in Games, good introduction

NCTE on Videogames in the Classroom and Narrative

Using User Research to Improve Game Narrative
“gamers struggle to remember even their favorite game narratives (in contrast to other media), only remembering big moments or characters in isolation”

Narrative and Ludic Nexus in Computer Games, scholarly paper

Theorising Video Game Narrative, a master’s thesis

A Model of Videogame Narrative Architectures

Less useful to what I am looking for, but interesting:
Narrative, Games, and Theory on Game Studies

Narrative and Videogame Design, English course syllabus



by Dr Davis on August 28, 2015

Undergrad syllabus on Classical Rhetoric and Modern Political Discourse from MIT Open Courseware

undergraduate course in Rhetoric of Science from MIT Open Courseware

A Geographical History of Online Rhetoric and Composition Journals, from Kairos

Comp-Rhet resources on the Web from UMass

Semiotics for Beginners by Daniel Chandler

The rhetorical forest at BYU

Digital Rhetoric Collaborative blog


CFP: Digital Games and Environmental Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on August 21, 2015

Ecoplay: Digital Games and Environmental Rhetoric
full name / name of organization:
TRACE Journal / Department of English / University of Florida
contact email:
[email protected]
The University of Florida’s TRACE journal publishes online peer-reviewed collections in ecology, posthumanism, and media studies. Providing an interdisciplinary forum for scholars, we focus on the ethical and material impact of technology. TRACE Innovation Initiative’s second call for papers, “Ecoplay: Digital Games and Environmental Rhetoric,” focuses on digital games and asks how play contributes to ecological thought.

Building on M. Jimmie Killingsworth and Jacqueline S. Palmer’s Ecospeak: Rhetoric and Environmental Politics in America as well as Sidney I. Dobrin and Sean Morey’s Ecosee: Image, Rhetoric, Nature, this issue proposes “Ecoplay” as a rhetorical framework for investigating the intersection of gameplay and ecocriticism. Both Ecospeak and Ecosee explore how rhetorical forms encourage support and sympathy for environmental movements. Specifically, Ecospeak identifies rhetorical patterns in writing about environmental politics and argues that discourse is a fundamental part of the environmental problem. Meanwhile, Ecosee claims that image-based media plays a powerful role in shaping arguments about ecology, environment, and nature. Examining play as a catalyst for environmental discourse, Ecoplay critically considers existing and potential rhetorics of digital ecologies and evaluates how games make arguments about nature.

Games often perpetuate problematic ideologies about human-nature-technology relationships by offering a platform for environmental consumption, resource management, colonization, cultivation, etc. At the same time, game designers and players can challenge entrenched ecological narratives or promote conservation efforts through digital worlds. TRACE’s “Ecoplay” issue seeks a comprehensive way of engaging the interplay between multiple forms of ecological rhetoric in digital games and ‘plays’ with how the multi-modality of games enables rhetorical forms to interact. Thus, contributions to this issue of TRACE should explore how digital games configure our understandings of ecologies and ecological issues through their design, play, and materiality.

Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, any of the following as they relate to digital games:

-Ethics and rhetorics of play, interface, or design
?-Representations of nature, ecology, or environment
?-Wildlife or resource management
?-Ecological conservation or preservation
?-“Green” games
?-E-waste and pollution
?-Built environments, construction, and destruction
?-Agriculture, gardening, and urbanization
-?Media ecologies

Completed articles will be peer-reviewed and should be between 3000-6000 words in length. Multimedia submissions are accepted and encouraged. If you are interested in contributing to the TRACE Innovation Initiative’s second issue, please send a 500 word abstract to [email protected] by Oct. 1, 2015.

From UPenn


The more often you tell me, the less I believe

by Dr Davis on August 20, 2015

Okay, I don’t think this should be applied to “I love you,” but other than that, yeah, I am starting to be a believer.

The more you tell me that “everything is awesome” and “we will have some storms,” the more I am sure the boat is leaking and a hurricane is coming.

Just saying.

Rhetoric of everyday.


CFP: Sharing the Planet Journal

by Dr Davis on July 31, 2015

Sharing the Planet (journal submissions)
full name / name of organization:
contact email:
[email protected]
We invite contributions for a special issue of Caliban, “Planète en partage/ Sharing the Planet” to appear in June 2016. We encourage prospective contributors to submit papers by December 15, 2015. Papers should comprise not more than 30000 characters (MLA presentation). They should be sent to Aurélie Guillain ([email protected]), Wendy Harding ([email protected]) and (Françoise Besson ([email protected]). Papers must sent to the three editors.

Call For Papers: Sharing the Planet

“Sharing” comes from the Old English sceran meaning to cut or split something into parts. So sharing the planet means first of all dividing it, tracing borders and boundaries with the intention of taking possession of it to convert it into private or public property thanks to a form of birthright that gives humans precedence over other species. Can we get beyond this premise so as to imagine and put into practice another form of sharing? The Cartesian view of man as “master and possessor” of nature has been analyzed as an example of the dualistic naturalism that divides subject from object, human from non-human, and mental from material domains and that characterizes a specifically Western ontology (Descola). But if we replace the vision of man as nature’s master and possessor by that of “master and protector,” do we still manage to escape that vision of the world in which the non-human is reified and considered as property to share?

What might it mean in theory and practice to treat non-humans (animals, vegetals, places) not as objects to share but as beings with whom to share? We can find numerous works of fiction that show how naturalistic and animistic visions coexist and come into conflict within a single text, just as they can coexist within one individual’s experience (as Descola himself suggests). Fiction or memoirs seem like privileged sites not only to observe situations of companionship, symbiosis, or parasitism (whether or not mutualistic) between humans and non-human species, but also to initiate, beyond the pathetic fallacy, thought experiments that imagine what it might mean, including in terms of politics, to “think like a mountain” and thus to share the planet with that mountain, to take up Aldo Leopold’s phrase and initiative.

The issue of sharing also raises the question of what it is that should be shared by all members of a community. Thus, at the end of the nineteenth century a division was made between ordinary places and sanctuaries, as we see, for example, in the history of the National Parks, especially in the U.S.A. Certain places and certain natural resources are then treated as common or public property and are spared the systematic exploitation of nature. But is this a way to guarantee environmental justice? Or is it, on the contrary, a way to create environmental hotspots or wilderness temples, the better to forget about environmental problems elsewhere (Cronon), notably in the places occupied by the economically dispossessed?

In the English-speaking world writers relay these questions and debates, but it is important to notice that most of the time within their writings certainscarcely modified natural sites are envisioned as sanctuaries and continue to play a central role and to be associated with an emotional or sacramental experience that the writing itself transforms and circulates as an intangible form of property.

Finally, the appropriation of land by colonizers or by the political forces that follow and organize that appropriation puts into play a concept of sharing that is both unequal and “leonine” in its principle. Moreover, the spoliation of native lands by multinational companies reveals not only an unequal power dynamic, but also a conception of resource allotment in which the land is res nullius, not common property but something that belongs to no one and is therefore available for an economic system geared to productivity. Literature can play a crucial role in the representation and critical understanding of this kind of sharing, notably in the case of protest writings like those of biologist and veterinarian, Wangari Maathai, Nobel Prize winner in 2009, who relates Jean Giono’s widely diffused Provençal tale, The Man Who Planted Trees, to the African context.

Note: Seems like this would be a good place for a paper on the rhetoric of space.


Definition of Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on July 13, 2015

I’m always interested in definitions of what rhetoric is, particularly simpler ones which can be understood by non-academics. I have used a selection of rhetoric definitions to introduce rhetoric in my section of the graduate class on history of rhetoric (which I won’t be teaching this next year) as a way to make the students aware of what rhetoric is and to create some of the dissonance that Dr. Janice Lauer believes is significantly responsible for creating learning.

–I find that very ironic considering that I was very uncomfortable with the “throw the baby in the ocean” aspect of my PhD program, but it is a way to start them thinking.

ancient woman with bookKendall R. Phillips, in his introduction to the edited collection Framing Public Memory, wrote that rhetoric is “an art interested in the ways symbols are employed to induce cooperation, achieve understanding, contest understanding, and offer dissent” (2).

While “interested in” seems vague to me, the other aspects of the definition–symbols, cooperation, understanding, and dissent–are particularly noteworthy.


PCA Harry Potter Learning Communities

by Dr Davis on April 13, 2015

Kate Fulton and Alicia Skipper
San Juan College
Harry Potter Learning Community

Love and Tokuno provide a set of categories:
Common cohort of students taking class
Interdisciplinary teams of faculty teaching courses around a common theme
Students forming study groups and socializing together

Students were interested in HP. Will be teaching 4th time this fall.

13/16 said theme was what drew them to the course.

Lack of understanding about learning community
Unfamiliarity of theme
Expectations of easier courses because of theme

Ways to overcome challenges
Embracing the theme

First step: The Letter
Young witches and wizards get an invitation from the owls
Significant—formal invitation
Lets them get a wand
Helps them become full members
We send a letter in same format, same font.
Received letter with HP postage.
They were psyched.

HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The Psychology of Harry Potter
Exploring Psychology
Laura King

Include information that you should watch the HP movies…
Movie marathon with their family so will be refreshed/familiar.

Policies Connected to Theme
In red have the related points…
Leave early, you’ll be hunted like a horcrux.
Plagiarism, not even Hermione, should be doing your work for you.
Group work “even a suspected Deatheater, is unacceptable… We don’t take that even from Slytherin.”

Creating a Community: Sorting into Houses
Sorted on first day with Myers-Briggs type assessment, link personality theory with their sorting
House points by knowledge and discussion “5 points for Ravenclaw”
Students really hold each other accountable.
Peer review by houses sometimes doesn’t work.
Really want to win the house cup. Who knew that Chocolate Frogs was so motivating?
One student created a poster so could visually move up and down… So she could see visually who was in the lead.
Competed up until the last day of class.

Common assignments
Good aspect of a learning community

Easy- sleep and dreams play an important part of the HP series. You have been reviewing consciousness and dream theory. Take concepts and analyze one dream from HP using two different dream theories.

Reading response…
Discuss chapter in psychology, read related essay in Psych of HP.
Explain to HP and to their own lives.

Theme helps them understand…
They get it, when HP.

Multigenre research project:
Collection of documents in different genres that relate to a concept.
Write a research paper, annotated bibliography, and 3 creative pieces. Bind those together. They present to class last day.
Have to show they understand English concepts and psych concepts.
Letter to the reader to introduce the concept.
Last reflection…

Because they get to do creative stuff, they get really excited about it. Publishing it and presenting it to the class.

One student created a contract on wand use and bystander effect. Also made wands for every student. She said they had to read the contract before they could get a wand.

Project keeps students involved.

Benefits for psychology
Every concept covered in Intro to Psych can be related to HP and the lives of the students
Personality theory
Psychological disorders
Social psychology

Split on Harry and PTSD
Ron has arachnophobia
Dobbie has anxiety

Benefits for English
Minimizes fear factor
Provides clear connections
Makes research more meaningful (doesn’t just only relate to English, also psych)
Holds student interest

Instructor Benefits
Classroom support
Immediate feedback on teaching and lessons
Makes class more fun

Students don’t want to leave.
In fall we’re doing Intro Psych/freshman comp
Advanced psych/advanced comp
“Now I just have to find a way to do the rest of my degree this way.”


Next Grad Class Idea

by Dr Davis on March 26, 2015

Tom Scheinfeldt ?@foundhistory Mar 18
Next year I’m teaching a class called “Trending.” Each week we’ll pick apart what’s current on social media from a historical point of view.

Trending… from a rhetorical viewpoint. Wouldn’t that be fascinating?