Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium

Call for Papers

Note: We are no longer accepting submissions for this year’s IRDS

Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium (IRDS)
Call for Papers

Despite Lev Manovich’s proclamation that the digital/new media world sounds rhetoric’s death knell, rhetoric has never been more alive. The proliferation of screen-media and the saturation of everyday life with layers upon layers of digital media have led to dramatic shifts in our styles of communication, our relationship to digital media, and our sense of what it means to be human. In short, digital technologies have expanded the scope of rhetoric by introducing new possibilities for rhetors and new expectations for forms of mediated discourse. Given our increasingly ubiquitous experience of mediated artifacts and the meaning-making practices they facilitate, the question of rhetoric’s relationship to digital media has never been more pressing. And yet, while the term “digital rhetoric” has been in circulation from some time, it is not always clear what digital rhetoric means or what it stands to offer in terms of practice, pedagogy, or criticism. What exactly is rhetorical about digital rhetoric, we might ask, and what distinguishes digital rhetoric from other approaches to media, technology, and communication?

In the wake of these transformations in digital media, what is needed is something more tangible, something that will help us articulate the many perspectives on digital rhetoric, how digital rhetoric is distinguished from, yet connected to digital humanities, and how emerging perspectives and definitions of digital rhetoric are reflected in the current state of rhetorical theory.

We have already seen the beginnings of this accounting in a variety of works ranging from rhetoric and composition to literature and media studies: N. Katherine Hayles and Kathleen Welch’s pioneering research in the areas of electronic literature and electronic rhetoric; the work of Anne Wysocki, Stuart Selber, and Cynthia Selfe in new media and computer literacies; the works of Gregory Ulmer on electracy and conductive reasoning; Ian Bogost’s work on procedural (and gaming) rhetoric and object-oriented ontology; Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin’s work on remediation, immediacy, and hypermediacy; and the works of Richard Lanham, Jim Zappen, Laura Gurak, Barbara Warnick, Carolyn Miller, and Elizabeth Losh on digital rhetoric, to name just a few. In addition, rhetorical theorists have also begun to explore computational rhetorics, sound and remix culture, functional and new aesthetics, ethics of digital practices, and the like.

The inaugural Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium aims to extend these conceptual beginnings and touchstones in order to (1) articulate key principles, practices, and perspectives on digital rhetoric, (2) explores digital rhetoric's connections to (and departures from) digital humanities, and (3) showcase how emerging perspectives and definitions of digital rhetoric are reflected in current debates in the field.

We invite proposals on the symposium theme, “Digital Rhetoric: Perspectives and Definitions.” The theme is intended to foster conversations around what constitutes digital rhetoric in order to explore the myriad perspectives at work in, and coming to bear on, digital rhetoric. This event will be comprised of two keynote speakers, seventeen invited presentations (listed below), and 7 speakers selected from submissions to this CFP.

Focal areas might include:

  • Definitions of digital rhetoric
  • Digital rhetoric and the history of rhetoric
  • Key perspectives on digital rhetoric
  • Digital rhetoric practices, protocols, pedagogies, or performance
  • Digital rhetorics and digital aesthetics
  • Digital and rhetorical methodologies
  • Digital rhetoric and new materialities
  • Digital rhetoric and being digitally-abled
  • Digital rhetoric episteme, doxa, and ontological conditions

Select conference papers will have the option to be published as part of a special issue of Enculturation.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Elizabeth Losh, University of California, San Diego (Opening Keynote)
  • Collin Brooke, Syracuse University (Closing Keynote)
  • Annette Vee, University of Pittsburgh
  • Thomas Rickert, Purdue University
  • Kathleen Blake Yancey, Florida State University
  • Byron Hawk, University of South Carolina
  • Casey Boyle, University of Texas at Austin
  • James Brown Jr., Rutgers University, Camden
  • Anne Wysocki, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Sarah Arroyo, California State University, Long Beach
  • Jody Shipka, University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Laura Gurak, University of Minnesota
  • Doug Eyman, George Mason University
  • Jeff Rice, University of Kentucky
  • David Rieder, North Carolina State University
  • Nathaniel Rivers, St. Louis University
  • William Hart-Davidson, Michigan State University

Presentation Guidelines

Presentations of papers or of performative works should be no longer than 20 minutes in duration. (Note: Drafts of accepted proposals will be due two weeks prior to conference event.)

Submission Guidelines

Interested presenters should submit abstracts, no longer than 400 words (excluding title and work cited), to Conference Co-Chair Justin Hodgson at Body of email should include: name, email, and submission title. Submission proposals should be in a word document (.doc or .docx), should include a title, and should be devoid of any identifying information.

Inquiries about IDRS or the CFP may be directed to either Co-Chair: Justin Hodgson ( or Scot Barnett (

Submission Deadline

December 15, 2014
(Send proposals via email to
Notification of Acceptance: January 1, 2014