Thursday, April 23, 2015

Call for contributions: "Rhetorical Animals: Boundaries of the Human in the Study of Persuasion"

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Rhetorical Animals: Boundaries of the Human in the Study of Persuasion

Alex C. Parrish (James Madison University)
Kristian Bjørkdahl (Rokkan Centre for Social Studies)

In recent years, humanists and social scientists have shown increasing interest in human-animal relations – to the point where many now speak of an ‘animal turn’ in the humanities and social sciences. Across history, psychology, anthropology, literature, sociology, philosophy, and law, an interdisciplinary field of human-animal studies has been forming. Certain common themes run through this diverse field, not least the reproduction of human-animal difference, and the conditions and the implications thereof.

Despite the long history of language use as a marker of such difference, the academic quest to investigate the boundary between human and nonhuman has, somewhat surprisingly, not taken root within rhetorical studies – at least not until now. For this edited volume, we therefore call for chapters that investigate the place of nonhuman animals in the purview of rhetorical theory; what it would mean to communicate beyond the human community; how rhetoric reveals our ‘brute roots.’ In other words, this book invites contributions which enlighten us about likely or possible implications of the animal turn within rhetorical studies. Would such a turn imply, for instance, that rhetoric needs a nonanthropocentric reconfiguration? The question, perhaps, is this: What difference would it make to the discipline if we assumed that nonhuman forms of communication were as interesting as human ones?

For this volume, we invite contributions from a variety of academic perspectives that help elucidate how rhetoric can benefit from and contribute to human-animal studies. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted, with a brief biography, to Alex Parrish at and to Kristian Bjørkdahl at The closing date for submissions is 10 June 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by 20 June 2015. Full chapters are due 20 January 2016.

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