The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


CFP: Relevant Rhetoric: A New Journal of Rhetorical Studies.

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 5, 2010 - 2:22pm

The Communication & Rhetorical Studies Department at Idaho State
University has started a new online peer reviewed journal entitled _Relevant
Rhetoric: A New Journal of Rhetorical Studies._ The first issue of the
journal is completed and available online:

The journal seeks to bring rhetorical scholarship to a larger audience than
traditional academic journals. The writing and formatting conventions of
this journal are modified. Articles focus on the author's findings,
conclusions, and interpretations (context of discovery) rather than previous
literature and research methods (context of justification).

Readers of _Relevant Rhetoric_ will find a friendly layout, which includes
photographs to enhance the text, links to websites, and tables that are
understandable at-a-glance. In addition, the new journal minimizes technical
jargon and decreases emphasis on literature reviews and method.

The new journal focuses on the broadest range of rhetorical texts and
artifacts produced by modern culture. These texts include but are not
limited to political rhetoric—both historical and contemporary—the rhetoric
of religion, popular culture rhetoric, including music, television, movies,
and digital media, the rhetoric of the news, persuasive appeals in
advertising and public relations campaigns, organizational rhetoric, and
visual rhetoric.

The journal is seeking submissions for its next issue. Please contact the
journal's editor, Nancy J. Legge, for more information: or

Submitted by cbd on April 8, 2010 - 10:53am.

I agree with Josh that quality issues are a big problem, in more ways than one. At least on the English studies side, there are journals with more than one outdated web site, some superseded by others with different addresses, some just left to rot. I can think of one journal, very well respected, whose website has clearly been hacked. And even some of the better online journals offer no metadata, no abstracts, no format but PDFs, etc. (All that before we even consider the publication of weak scholarship, or the terrible "companion" sites which shadow print journals.)

That's not to say this is because of laziness or incompetence. I spend a lot of time thinking about the presentation of Composition Forum, and the site still needs more attention. Good code, in all senses of the word, is very labor-intensive, and right now T&P systems recognize some of that work, but not as much as they should.

As Jim writes, it's very disappointing that CCC and NCTE have clung stubbornly to a print-centric model. I'd like to see that change. I want journals to adopt standards which address some of these serious problems. Ideally, this work would be supported by professional organizations via collaborative software development and licensing, training, adoption, etc.

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 6, 2010 - 5:36pm.

I know that I would get no credit whatsoever in our annual merit raise race if I were to publish in something like this. What's our collective sense of where peer-reviewed online journals are going these days, in terms of institutional legitimacy generally? Two things: 1) I notice a significant number of brutally marginalized right-wingers on the editorial board (why not start a right-oriented online rhetorical journal?) and 2) It might be nice for them to acknowledge Irv Rein's "The Relevant Rhetoric" as a source for the title--the most innovative public speaking book published in the latter half of the 20th century?

Submitted by slewfoot on April 6, 2010 - 5:50pm.

Reference to a Cracker song, of course.

Recall the ACJ---and it's rapid descent into irrelevance and abject incompetence. My terrible, very bad, no good, experience publishing with these people has left a bad taste in my mouth, still . . . .

Online journals are only as good as their editors' willingness to keep up to/with code. There are very few who are willing. I work with a strong online journal (+Liminalities+), but in general my opinion of them is low and I would discourage folks in rhetoric from submitting to them because there is no established system of reward or recognition. I suspect in these dire economic times, that system paradoxically will only continue to devalue the worth of online scholarship. I'm not saying I agree with this, I'm just saying it's not valued.

Another element that one has to fight against: those who celebrate technology. I've noticed this especially with folks who get excited about webstuff and games and compute-stuff in comp rhetoric (to bite the hand that feeds), but there is often an uncritical tendency to celebrate the "look what we can do!" at the expense of intellectual rigor. (I expect Jim Brown will now swoop in to get me.) Online journals seem to obtain more among the "up with tech" crowd than others, and those others, I stress again, are in university administration.

Now, if there was a case to be made for (yet) another online rhetoric journal that we truly need---with Irv's approval---it would be titled RUDY'S RED WAGON. Now THAT I could get behind.

Submitted by Jim Brown on April 8, 2010 - 6:22am.

1) I think Josh is right to be concerned about online journals keeping up "with/to" code. Online Journals are cobbled together with funding and support from all over, and when any of that funding falls through the website goes into disrepair. As Managing Editor of Enculturation (a journal that is currently making a push to stabilize), I have tried to make sure that the journal presents itself as more permanent.

2) I think if there's a "future" for online journals, it's with the print journals of the present (particularly those who are the flagships) going online. Recently, CCC had a big mess on their hands with too many manuscripts and not enough space. They were still only accepting 5% of submissions, but they ran out of space. They started something called "Extended CCC's"--basically, a number of essays were published partially in print and partially online. But why wouldn't a journal like CCC which has obvious value and credibility just go online and stop forcing themselves to live and die by "page count"? The value of CCC does not lie in its status as a print journal. The value is in the editorial board and the reputation. None of that should change just because it's "online." Yes, there is a general skepticism about online publication, but a journal like CCC could easily combat such skepticism by leading the way. If the flagship journal of a discipline goes online, others can follow.

3) Yes, there are certainly some tech celebrators out there, but I haven't seen any more or less of that online than in print. However, most of this tech-celebration doesn't fly anymore. I see less and less of it.

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 6, 2010 - 8:30pm.

I have three thoughts:

1. There may be a constituency to serve. This CFP uses language that seems to me to echo the Boyer model for scholarship, popular among the 85% of institutions of higher ed with teaching loads of 3/3 or higher (based on Jasper Neel's old count in ADE Bulletin). Some of those institutions might reward or even require publication, and faculty in those institutions may benefit from these venues. Someone with 7-10 classes a year who wants to publish may not have the time, frankly, to shepherd something through QJS or CCC and may benefit from a venue that is peer reviewed but aimed at their kind of work.

2. Part of the resistance to these venues in Communication, I think, may stem from a historical discomfort with the non-NCA journal. NCA rhetoric was born with a journal open to their work (QJS). English rhetoric needed non-NCTE journals (JAC, RhetRev, Pre/Text, RSQ, Composition Studies, Composition Forum, Written Communication) to legitimate the work of the field. Kairos is older than many of my students and continues that trend. A field which is (slightly) more resistant to the indy journal generally (NCA Rhetoric) would carry with it a resistance to the indy online journal.

3. That said, I agree -- buyer (submitter) beware. Know what the reward structure is in your home institution. Watch out for the technophiles (although there is something to be said for the medium shaping knowledge-making, though it is rarely enacted in its fullest possibility).

But: one of the three most-read things I've ever written was written for Harlot (based on feedback from readers via email), one of the recent online popularizer journals (and a good one). There is an argument to be made, after tenure, for writing for the venues where one will be read, even if it won't get you a raise at the end of the year. Sometimes, you write to build new knowledge and get a raise. Sometimes, you write to reach an audience. If those things are not achievable in the same piece, you build the Rosewater Chronicles or you send a piece to Relevant Rhetoric, perhaps?

Submitted by Kate on April 7, 2010 - 1:28pm.

Some anecdotal optimism:
Two of the scholars who have published in Harlot (of which I'm an editor) have successfully received tenure "credit" for those pieces. The key for gate-keepers, of course, is the blind peer review -- but I like to think this is indicative of a wider turn towards validation of various types of scholarship of engagement. As more academics play with new directions, academia should adapt accordingly, but not, perhaps, if we wait to push until after reaching the relative safety of tenure. (Of course, this is what I must keep telling myself...)

From another angle, traditional academic publishing models need to be overhauled anyway, and the move into the digital realm offers/demands an opportunity for thoughtful revision. Digital journals won't develop in quality or credibility unless we get in there and do the work.

So I'm excited about Relevant Rhetoric, which looks like another productive experiment in revising assumptions about what academics can or should be doing, and with whom.

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 8, 2010 - 3:14am.

One way to think through (implicit in the language of the Relevant Rhetoric cfp; and btw, everyone see what happened to the cfps) the purpose of the online journals is to ask whether the print journals are poised to accept the Boyer Model for research.

But, it seems to me, many universities don't get the Boyer model, either. At at least one committee meeting at a university I've taught at, the Boyer model was conflated with "not really peer reviewed" and "just online."

For Blogora readers unfamiliar with the Boyer Model, an excerpt from below


Boyer (1997) proposed an expanded definition of “scholarship” within the professorate based on four functions that underlie the Profile of a Quality Faculty Member (1.2.4): discovery, integration, application, and teaching. He argues that, within this framework, all forms of scholarship should be recognized and rewarded, and that this will lead to more personalized and flexible criteria for gaining tenure. He feels that, too often faculty members wrestle with conflicting obligations that leave little time to focus on their teaching role. Boyer proposes using “creativity contracts” that emphasize quality teaching and individualized professional development. He recommends that this model be based upon the life patterns of individuals and their passions.

The first element of Boyer’s model, discovery, is the one most closely aligned with traditional research. Discovery contributes not only to the stock of human knowledge but also to the intellectual climate of a college or university. He stresses that new research contributions are critical to the vitality of the academic environment, and that his model does not diminish the value of discovery scholarship.

The second element, integration, focuses on making connections across disciplines. One interprets one’s own research so that it is useful beyond one’s own disciplinary boundaries and can be integrated into a larger body of knowledge. He stresses that the rapid pace of societal change within a global economy have elevated the importance of this form of scholarship.

The third element, application, focuses on using research findings and innovations to remedy societal problems. Included in this category are service activities that are specifically tied to one’s field of knowledge and professional activities. Beneficiaries of these activities include commercial entities, non-profit organizations, and professional associations.

Finally, Boyer considers teaching as a central element of scholarship. Too often teaching is viewed as a routine function and is often not the focus of professional development. Many professors state that they are primarily interested in teaching, but they feel that their institutions do not value or reward excellence in teaching (Borra, 2001). The academic community continues to emphasize and assign high value to faculty members’ involvement in activities other than teaching (Royeen)

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 8, 2010 - 3:25am.

...also, what about these other venues? Anyone reading who wants to throw in?

Technostyle (now CJ Studies in Discourse and Writing)?
Composition Forum?
Present Tense?

Submitted by Present Tense on April 13, 2010 - 10:31am.

The editors of Present Tense believe that one might productively map the Boyer model onto the goals of our journal. Still, our reasons for envisioning PT as we have are more 'locally-based' than an overarching scheme for tenure procedures. Three local dynamics in our respective careers have been instrumental for the journal's formation:

1) The editors of PT heard an excellent public lecture in the fall of 2008 calling for more politically relevant scholarship. After the lecture, our general editor was chatting with two well-respected figures in Rhet/Comp who both agreed that writing timely pieces was risky because the backlog at major journals might render once-timely scholarship impertinent.

2) All of our editors have heard 'gem' conference presentations at CCCC, RSA, C&W, etc. that never made it into the flagship publications of those organizations. Career priorities of scholars at every kind of institution might not allow the expansion of a conference presentation into an article for RSQ. However, scholars might be able to revise a timely presentation and submit it to a receptive forum, if one existed.

3) Some of our colleagues are starting to do scholarly work with documentary filmmaking and multimedia (we are thinking of scholarship beyond 'gee whiz,' technophilic production). Where can these folks publish? The range is limited. We believe that an increase in available forums for multimedia will help refine this new brand of scholarship and make it recognizable to the humanities and the academe, generally.

Of course, Present Tense is in the process of crafting its first issue, so any answer we provide to the 'self-visioning' question is subject to change as we shape our ethos, content, and practices along with our submitters, reviewers, and advisory board. As we grow, we welcome conversation and camaraderie with our peer journals and seasoned scholars of rhetorical publication.

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 13, 2010 - 8:11pm.

...for the online journal is to be indexed in the MLA Bibliography. I hope that Harlot and Present Tense attain that status quickly (perhaps Harlot is already in process).

It is the independent spirit that gave us the most exciting journals in the field -- I have the early photocopied issues of RSQ to prove it. This is exciting! And the clear sense of mission is exciting, as well.

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 16, 2010 - 2:34pm.

I am as excited about this as I can imagine!



Harlot's first special issue, "Rhetoric at Work," is live and ready for viewing! This
collection offers fresh insights into our everyday experiences by examining the curious
and powerful ways persuasion operates within the workplace. This issue includes a
sculptor gently refusing to explain what her art "means;" a chaplain shaping her
spiritual identity and/as professional development; two professors not-so-gently poking
fun at J.CREW's catalog of gender norms; a doctor shedding light on the high stakes of
rhetoric within (not just about) health care; and, finally, a police officer explaining
what's really going on when you get pulled over. Hope you enjoy! Please join the

Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion

Issue 4: Rhetoric at Work
Bits and Pieces: A Sculptor's Reflection on Meaning - Christina West
Women/Men Bills How Genders Work: Producing the J.CREW Catalog - Paul Muhlhauser, Kelly
The Misplaced Rhetoric of Medicine - John A. Vaughn, M.D.
I'm Not Really a Chaplain; I Just Play One to Pay The Bills - Jodi Kushins
Understanding the Other Side: An Officer's Roadside Confessions - Warren Williams

Submitted by Timothy Trier on April 11, 2010 - 6:35pm.

In response to the question, "Does Harlot follow the Boyer model in its self-envisioning?"

Kate and I (both members of Harlot's editorial board) recently had the opportunity to reflect on the project's aspirations and approach(es) while writing a piece for an upcoming collection.

In it we note how Boyer first used "scholarship of application" to refer to the community-oriented research he was advocating. Detecting the implications of a one-way dissemination of academic wisdom, however, he soon rephrased such work as “scholarship of engagement.” We read this shift as a move away from an "expert" model and towards one of collaboration and reciprocity, as well as a reminder to keep a critical eye on our language choices and the perspectives and dispositions they inscribe. Indeed, a big part of founding Harlot was crafting the language that best represented our vision. In doing so, we created a model for Harlot. And therein lies the answer to the post's driving question...

Although we may align in many ways with the Boyer model, and draw insight and inspiration from particular aspects of it, it can't really be said that we're following it, nor can we locate our project within the 4 categories he outlines. Actually, we're not really even following a Harlot model. Rather, the goal is to be _constantly creating_ one.

Just to be clear, this isn't a swipe at Boyer's model, or any critique of its validity or usefulness. And it's not a simple case of the anxiety of influence, either. Instead, it's to point out that any "scholarship of engagement" is always shifting and drawing from a multiplicity of models. It may sound a bit cheesy, but for us Harlot represents an attitude more than anything else. A harlot of the arts, like the trickster, “is many things, and is no thing as well. Ambivalent, androgynous, anti-definitional, the trickster is slippery and constantly mutable” (Malea Powell). We are the Boyer model at times; we are close to the Boyer model at other times; we are unlike it entirely in many instances.

In the article we conclude that the point isn't to come up with the "right model" but rather to embrace the diversity of approaches available... and one of the avenues worthy of exploration is, undeniably, the option of digital publication.

Thanks to syntaxfactory for posing this question about Harlot and other journals in Rhet/Comp/Comm.

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 12, 2010 - 6:50am.

I'm very grateful to Tim and Kate for answering these questions!

I hope that other online journal editors might bring their voices to the exchange. The number of online journals continues to grow, and I'd like to hear more about their vision!

Submitted by syntaxfactory on April 6, 2010 - 8:37pm.

Welcome to Relevant Rhetoric

A peer-reviewed online journal dedicated to revealing the relevance and significance of rhetoric in our lives.

Current Issue
Volume 1, Issue 1
Spring 2010
Kevin A. Stein, “Jewish Antapologia in Response to Mel Gibson’s Multiple Attempts at Absolution.”
—Many people find racist or discriminatory statements or acts to be more offensive than acts that do not denigrate the character of others, even when those behaviors may be illegal. Is it possible that hateful utterances are so reprehensible that any strategies utilized to counteract their effects are rendered meaningless? This essay discusses Mel Gibson’s attempts to explain or account for his racist comments directed at police officers in Malibu, California. It also examines the Jewish community’s response to Gibson’s comments.
Adria Y. Goldman and Jim A. Kuypers, “Contrasts in News Coverage: A Qualitative Framing Analysis of ‘A’ List Bloggers and Newspaper Articles Reporting on the Jena 6.”
—We compare news coverage of the Jena 6 found in “A” list blogs to traditional print news articles. We found that the print articles shared four themes and framed those themes in a similar fashion. Similar themes were found among blog entries, although the framing of those themes broke down along political lines. However, all blogs framed the media’s role in the Jena 6 as negative.
Nancy J. Legge, “The Paradox of Commitment: Jakob Dylan’s Philosophy in ‘Will It Grow.’”
—A rhetorical analysis of the ideas and arguments in Jakob Dylan’s song, “Will It Grow.” In a fractured narrative about farming, Dylan addresses philosophical issues about the nature of commitment and the role of fate vs. free will. The engaged audience supplies warrants about perseverance and resolve, thereby providing ways to manage the paradoxes. Watch live performances of the song on youtube: Nissan Sets and at the Austin City Limits Festival.
William L. Benoit and Jeffrey Delbert, “‘Get A Mac’: Mac vs. PC TV Spots.”
—This paper examines the texts of 47 ads advocating Mac computers over PCs: “Get a Mac.” We identified three themes addressing the computers and their operating systems and two focusing on the brands’ personified traits. We evaluate this campaign as effectively conceived and executed. Evidence suggests that it may have contributed to an increase in sales of Mac computers. Watch the Mac ads at
Bruce Loebs, “Hitler’s Rhetorical Theory.”
—In 1939 Hitler claimed, “I am conscious that I have no equal in the art of swaying the masses.” By examining historical texts, including Hitler’s own writings, this paper articulates numerous components of Hitler’s rhetorical theory. One central element was his belief in the power of the spoken word. This was the starting point for Hitler’s belief that rhetoric would play an indispensable role in his quest for power.\

Editorial Board/Staff
Nancy J. Legge
Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies
Mail Stop 8115
Idaho State University
Pocatello, ID 83209 or
Associate Editor
Bruce Loebs
Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies
Mail Stop 8115
Idaho State University
Pocatello, ID 83209
Business Manager
James DiSanza
Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies
Mail Stop 8115
Idaho State University
Pocatello, ID 83209 or
H. Allen, Design
Graduate Student, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Idaho State University
Allie D. Smith, Design
Undergraduate, Department of Mass Communication
Idaho State University
Editorial Board Members
Ralph Berenger, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (Middle East mass media, international political rhetoric)
Joe Blaney, Illinois State University (credibility and image restoration rhetoric, crisis rhetoric)
Dennis Cali, Mount St. Mary’s College (rhetoric of religion)
Stephen D. Cooper, Marshall University (computer mediated communication, news media, media criticism, the blogosphere)
Robert Denton, Virginia Tech University (political communication, rhetoric of the presidency)
James DiSanza, Idaho State University (organizational crisis rhetoric, corporate rhetoric)
Jason A. Edwards, Bridgewater State College (presidential communication, American foreign policy discourse, rhetoric and public address)
Sandra French, Radford University (organizational rhetoric, social movements, public address)
John Gribas, Idaho State University (religious communication, metaphor)
Michael T. Ingram, Whitworth College (argumentation and rhetoric, rhetoric of religion)
Andrew King, Louisiana State University (political rhetoric, rhetorical ethics, medieval and renaissance rhetorical theory, Kenneth Burke)
Jim A. Kuypers, Virginia Tech (rhetoric and public address, political communication)
Kevin A. Stein, Southern Utah University (political rhetoric, kategoria [attack], apologia [defense], and antapologia [response to apologia], acclaiming and disclaiming discourse)
Richard Vatz, Towson University (political rhetoric, rhetoric of the news, media criticism, psychiatric rhetoric)

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