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

CSSR 2017 AGM summary & minutes

At our conference at the Congress in Toronto, Ontario, at Ryerson University May 30 – June 1, 2017, we had 42 registered delegates as well as several guests, and we had the opportunity to hear 27 well-researched presentations in plenary format.

Minutes of our AGM are available here, and below are the highlights.

The executive team passed a revised constitution this year, making executive roles more flexible, allowing members to be nominated for positions that suit their skills for 2 year terms.

During elections based on the revised constitution, I was voted in as President for a second term of two years. David Beard will serve as VP although he expressed he has no interest in succeeding to the President role in future. John Moffatt will serve as Secretary-Treasurer, although he has expressed that he prefers mainly the Treasurer role by itself.  Pierre Zoberman will still provide advice to the Executive as past-president. Now that Past President and Editor roles are separate, we have elected a new journal editor, Tracy Whalen, who has previously served as this society’s journal editor. We also have a new Webmaster (Bruce Dadey), and this is now an elected 2 year position on the executive. M. Shivaun Corry, who has been helping with CSSR’s Facebook presence, has volunteered to be a “Social Media Coordinator” within our team of website & social media assistants.

We are putting together a working group on membership development to assist in retaining and recruiting members and promoting our conference and journal. We still have one position vacant on the Advisory committee, as Whalen should be replaced since she is now editor. We will call for nominations and hold an online vote.

As part of our constitutional revisions, we approved an official “alias” name for our organization, RhetCanada / RhétCanada. I will explain in a separate news post so that it gets emphasized.

At the end of the conference, we held a vote for the special theme of the 2018 conference. The winning theme is “That’s not rhetoric!” “Yes, it is.”


Call for CSSR 2017 Nominations

Dear CSSR/SCER members, we need to elect people to fill the following roles on the Executive and Committees at the 2017 AGM. If you would like to nominate someone, or nominate yourself, please contact the president Tania Smith at before May 25.  Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the AGM.

Executive committee

We will need to prepare a full slate of nominees in case proposed 2017 Constitutional Revisions are accepted at the AGM.  If none of the revisions are accepted, we will require a new secretary-treasurer and member-at-large.

Persons currently serving in the Executive may seek re-election to their current role or may seek to be elected to a different role.

See position qualifications in the proposed 2017 constitution revisions at

  • President:  Tania Smith (2015-2017)
    • Nominees welcome 
  • Vice-President:  John Moffatt (2015-2017)
    • Nominees welcome 
  • Secretary-Treasurer:  David Beard (2015-2017)
    • Nominees welcome 
  • Past President & Rhetor journal editor: Pierre Zoberman (2015-2017)
    • Past President 2017-2019 will be Tania Smith, whether or not she serves in another role as well.
  • Member-at-Large:  Benoit Sans (2016-2017)
    • Nominees welcome 

Additional Executive roles

If the revised constitution is accepted, the Editor role will be separated from the Past President role, and the Editor and Webmaster will be on the Executive committee.

  • Rhetor Journal Editor
    • Nominees welcome  
  • Webmaster: Tania Smith (2012 to present)
    • Nominees welcome 

Advisory committee

This committee reviews conference presentation proposals for the upcoming year’s conference.

  • Bruce Dadey (2015-2017)
    • Nominees welcome 
  • Jonathan Powers (2015-2017)
    • Nominees welcome 
  • Tracy Whalen (2016-2018)
  • Tess Laidlaw (2016-2018)
  • Julie Dainville  (student) (2016-2018)

Editorial committee

  • Pierre Zoberman (Editor/directeur, 2015-2017)
    • to be Replaced by newly elected Editor
  • Jeanie Wills (2013-15 past editor, member to 2017)
    • to be Replaced by Pierre Zoberman, past editor 2015-2017
  • Alice den Otter (2016-2020)
  • Randy Harris (2014-2018)
  • Victor Ferry (2014-2018)
  • Loic Nicolas (2014-2018)
  • Patricia Ofili (student in 2016) (2016-2020)
  • Kyle Gerber (student in 2016) (2016-2020)

Nominees welcome.  It would be wise to add 1-2 people in 2017 so that terms are staggered. We need Francophones.

Student prize committee

TOR: “At least one member must be currently on the Executive Committee and/or Editorial Board. At least one member should be a francophone. All members hold a Ph.D. and are not currently studying for a graduate degree.”

  • J. Moffatt,
  • D. Beard,
  • Shannon Purves-Smith
  • Nominees welcome

Webmaster Assistant & Social Media Assistants

  • Ryan McGuckin (Google+ 2015 to present),
  • Bruce Dadey (2016 to present)
  • Brandon Katzir (Twitter, 2015 to present)
  • M. Shivaun Corry (Facebook 2017 to present)
  • Nominees welcome

As I do each year, I will check to see if these can continue to serve.

Reminder: 2017 Constitutional Revisions for Review

We have created two Google Forms (online surveys) that present the revisions and their rationales and gather feedback in advance of the 2017 AGM at our conference. There will be limited time for discussion during the AGM.

We welcome responses from all who consider themselves affiliated with CSSR.

Please try to respond on these forms before May 25, since we may need some time to compile and review the responses prior to the AGM.

For more information, see the original post April 16 at

2017 Writing and Rhetoric position at U of Toronto

There is a 2-year contract position available in the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Innis College, University of Toronto.

The position will begin July 1, 2017 or shortly thereafter, and end June 30, 2019. 

The deadline for applications is May 25, 2017.

Sharon English, who is currently the director of the program, will answer any questions applicants might have.