President’s Message, 2017-2019

CSSR President’s message

by Dr. Tania S. Smith, President 2015-2019

We at CSSR (also known as RhetCanada) are an international, bilingual scholarly society based in Canada, dedicated to the study of rhetoric–its theory, practice, criticism, history, and pedagogy.

We adhere to a broad understanding of rhetoric as the art and study of acts of communication: their forms, strategies, ethics, and effects on various audiences.

We study rhetoric in all genres of writing, speech, performance, physical artifacts, and media, and in all cultures, languages, and eras.

We welcome scholars who engage in rhetorical studies within a wide range of disciplines such as communication, literature, the fine arts, history, political science, philosophy, writing studies, as well as the sciences and professions.

We believe the study, teaching, and practice of rhetoric should aim to enrich human understanding and inquiry, culture, mutual respect, and social cooperation. …

Message de la Présidente de la SCÉR

par Dr. Tania S. Smith, Présidente 2015-2019

La SCÉR (également connue sous le nom « RhetCanada ») est une société savante internationale, bilingue (anglais / français), établie au Canada, et dédiée à l’étude de la rhétorique – sa théorie, sa pratique, sa critique, son histoire et sa pédagogie.

Nous adhérons à une définition large de la rhétorique entendue comme art et comme étude des actes de la communication: leurs formes, leurs stratégies, leur dimension éthique et leurs effets auprès d’une grande variété d’auditoires.

Nous étudions la rhétorique dans tous les genres d’écriture, de discours, de performances, sur tous les supports et dans les médias, dans toutes les cultures, toutes les langues, et à toutes les époques.

Nous accueillons des chercheurs qui se consacrent aux études rhétoriques depuis un très large spectre de disciplines comme la communication, la littérature, les beaux-arts, l’histoire, la science politique, la philosophie, la rédactologie, dans les sciencesautant que dans les professions.

Nous croyons que l’étude, l’enseignement et la pratique de la rhétorique peuvent aider à enrichir notre compréhension de l’être humain, ainsi que l’enquête menée sur le fait culturel, le respect mutuel et l’entente sociale. …

Continue reading President’s Message, 2017-2019

In memory of Michael Purves-Smith

Dear CSSR / RhetCanada members and associates, it is with sadness that I share news that one of our long-term and most cherished members, Michael Purves-Smith, passed away this week.

[Photo uploaded to the obituary website by the family] 

See his online obituary at

Michael and his wife Shannon Purves-Smith have contributed to the society for decades both separately and in partnership, playing many roles in the executive and committees and faithfully attending yearly CSSR conferences.

Michael’s gentlemanly kindness, organizational wisdom and deep intellect will be missed. He has left a strong legacy on our scholarly organization, and more importantly, he will be kindly remembered and respected in the hearts and minds of those who have worked together with him on committees, heard his presentations, shared meals or adventures with him, or discussed ideas with him. Michael has also left behind his writings for us to enjoy and ponder. He was not only a strong rhetorician and rhetorical critic, but he also used his eloquence as an active participant in Canadian and global society and culture, doing his best to leave an ethical, creative, and powerful impact on his audiences.

We thank you, Michael, for a life lived so well.

Dear Shannon, we send out our thoughts to you at this time and sincerely wish you and your family and friends comfort in your time of mourning.

Tania S. Smith
Current President, CSSR

RhetCanada/CSSR Proposal Deadline: January 13, 2018

The January 13 proposal deadline for RhetCanada’s annual conference is fast approaching. The conference will take place May 27-29, 2018 at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, which will be held at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The conference theme is “That’s not rhetoric!” “Yes, it is.” The topic invites participants to discuss and debate the borders of our definitions of rhetoric and what they mean to the way we see the world and speak, write, and act within it.

For more information, see the full Call for Proposals.

Funding is available to assist current and recent graduate students with travel expenses. See the Congress 2018 Student Funding page.

Please send proposals to Dr. Tania S. Smith, RhetCanada / CSSR President, Department of Communication, Media and Film, University of Calgary:

Rhetoric Positions at University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo English is hiring for a number of faculty positions:


  • Assistant or associate professorial positions: January 15, 2018
  • Lecturer postions: March 16, 2018

See the uWaterloo English website for more information about the department. Further enquiries may be directed to the chair, Professor Kate Lawson, at or at 519-888-4567, ext. 33965.

CFP: Res Rhetorica

Res Rhetorica is a peer-reviewed open access quarterly academic journal (ISSN 2392-3113). Its scope includes both theories of rhetoric and practices of persuasive communication. It is issuing the following CFP:

Rhetoric of Social Movements

The rhetoric of social movements is the theme for a special issue of Res Rhetorica planned for 2018.

A democratic public sphere is an arena where various social movements voice their claims; these include prominent environmentalist, feminist, LGBT, anti/alter-globalist, or nationalist movements, or local, identity-related, ethnic and political movements.

Social activism includes organizing protests, demonstrations, performances of civil disobedience or debates – all of which can be analyzed from a rhetorical perspective. Each social movement makes claims, presents them to the auditorium, argues for them, defends them against criticism. It actively campaigns to achieve in-group solidarity, to promote its ideas, and to convince the public to support its claims. It also strives to be identified and recognized in the public spheres and to position itself against antagonists.

Is the rhetoric of social movements related to their aims? Is it determined by the social context? How have digital media influenced the rhetoric of the social movements? Are there any global, universal patterns of social engagement and protest? How are appeals to emotions or authority used in social campaigning?

We invite submissions discussing, among other aspects:

  • The features of rhetorics of protesting
  • The new media and the new rhetoric of social campaigning
  • Using public space as rhetorical action
  • Varieties of persuasive repertoires
  • Media reactions to social activism
  • Contention and claim-making in public debates
  • Types of arguments in social activism
  • The role of visual rhetoric in social movements
  • The history of protest rhetoric and civil movements
  • The correlation between social causes and persuasive means
  • Cross-cultural comparisons of protest rhetorics

Issue Editor

Agnieszka Kampka (


Submission deadline: 31 January 2018

How to submit

To see the author guidelines and submit the paper, prospective authors should register on
The Issue Editors welcome proposals (250 words) for the articles related to the theme of the issue to be sent to the Editors’ emails by the date specified in the Call for Papers.
We also invite year-round submissions unrelated to the themes of the consecutive issues to be published in the “Varia” section.
The papers are reviewed and have its own DOI.

Polish Rhetoric Society

Res Rhetorica is affiliated with the Polish Rhetoric Society. The Society, established in the year 2000, aims at promoting the awareness of rhetoric and perfecting the art of effective communication in practice by identifying links between rhetoric and other disciplines, disseminating research in the field of rhetoric, exchanging experience with researchers from other countries, and popularizing rhetorical skills. Feel welcome to join us and become a member of the Polish Rhetoric Society. For more information go to:

CFP: CSSR/SCÉR 2018 Annual Conference/Colloque Annuel

RhetCanada (Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric / CSSR) invites scholars and students of rhetoric to submit proposals for presentations at its annual conference.

Location: Canadian Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities’ Congress 2018, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Dates: May 27 – 29, 2018

Special Sessions theme: “That’s not rhetoric!” “Yes, it is.”

Proposals Due: January 13, 2018

The exchange that comprises our 2018 special sessions topic invites participants to discuss and debate the borders of our definitions of rhetoric and what they mean to the way we see the world and speak, write, and act within it.

What are the implications of considering rhetoric as queen of the liberal arts and as mere or empty rhetoric? Is rhetoric’s true home in public discourse, and is it broadly inclusive of genres and media, such as conversation, architecture, graffiti, blogs, and games? Does rhetoric still exist and potentially wield power where it is not named? What do we gain and lose when seeing the world from a “rhetorical” perspective?

Proposals for conference papers are not limited to the topic of the special session theme. The society welcomes papers on all aspects of rhetoric, in English or French. We foster dialogue among scholars from diverse disciplines and professions who are interested in rhetoric. We welcome not only mainstream rhetorical scholarship, but also “rhetoric in/and” a wide variety of domains or disciplines and through interdisciplinary frameworks.

See the full Call for Proposals and instructions.

Funding is available to assist current and recent graduate students with travel expenses. See the Congress 2018 Student Funding page.

Proposal submission:  By January 13, 2018 send your proposal to Dr. Tania S. Smith, RhetCanada / CSSR President, Department of Communication, Media and Film, University of Calgary:


RhétCanada (Société Canadienne pour l’Étude de la Rhétorique /) invite ses membres à soumettre des propositions de communication pour son Colloque annuel.

Lieu: le Congrès 2018 de la Fédération Canadienne des Sciences Humaines, Université de Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Dates: les 27 – 29 mai, 2018

Session thématique: “Ce n’est pas de la rhétorique. Mais si!”

Date limite de soumission des propositions: 13 janvier 2018

Notre session thématique de 2018 invite les participants à discuter et à débattre des limites de nos définitions de la rhétorique et de ce qu’elles signifient pour la manière dont vous voyons le monde, dont nous parlons, écrivons et agissons au sein de celui-ci.

Quelles sont les implications de considérer la rhétorique comme la reine des humanités, de parler de pure rhétorique ou de rhétorique vide ? Le lieu propre de la rhétorique est-il le discours public, est-elle plus largement incluse dans les genres d’expression et les médias, comme la simple conversation, les tweets, l’architecture et les graffiti ? La rhétorique existe-t-elle toujours et exerce-t-elle potentiellement son pouvoir là où elle n’est pas nommée ? Que gagnons et perdons-nous en voyant le monde à travers une perspective « rhétorique » ?

Les propositions de communication ne sont pas limitées au seul sujet de la session thématique. Les propositions relatives à tous les aspects de la rhétorique sont bienvenues, en français ou en anglais. Nous favorisons le dialogue entre les chercheurs qui, venus de disciplines et de contextes professionnels variés, s’intéressent à la rhétorique (au sens le plus large). Notre but n’est pas seulement d’accueillir le courant dominant de la recherche en rhétorique, mais bien d’encourager l’exploration de la « rhétorique dans et à travers » une grande variété de domaines ou de disciplines, et suivant des méthodes et des cadres interdisciplinaires extrêmement divers.

Voir le CFP complet.

Un fonds est également disponible pour aider les actuels ou récents étudiants de cycles supérieurs (Master et plus) pour leurs frais de déplacement. Voir le lien suivant  Congress 2018 Student Funding page.

Les propositions de communication doivent être adressées d’ici le 13 janvier 2018 à Dr. Tania S. Smith, Présidente de la SCÉR, Department of Communication, Media and Film, Université de Calgary, AB, Canada :