IRW 2016 in Uppsala

2018 WORKSHOP is coming up

About IRW

The International Rhetoric Workshop (IRW) is an international workshop for emerging scholars and PhD students in rhetoric. The workshop offers a space for young scholars in the global rhetoric community to engage each other’s work and to connect with internationally renowned scholars. Held over the course of three days, IRW consists of: workshop sessions in which participants review and discuss drafts of ongoing research with faculty; an opening keynote address on each day from internationally renowned scholars; and faculty discussion panels engaging with topics relevant to the theme and to workshop participants’ research.

Click here for info on the upcoming workshop, which will be hosted in Ghent, Belgium July 4th-6th, 2018.

2016 Workshop

The previous workshop was hosted at beautiful Uppsala University between the 17th and the 19th of August 2016. The theme, “Crossing Traditions: Reimagining the Political,” pursues questions of how various traditions of rhetorical theory meet and merge within global rhetorical practices, and how these crossings can change and develop the concept of the political. IRW is designed as an inclusive workshop and the organizers strive to make it possible for young scholars with limited resources to meet others from around the globe and discuss research.

IRW 2016 (1)


Dilip Gaonkar

United States

Debra Hawhee

United States

Participating Faculty

Robeson Taj Frazier

United States

Jiyeon Kang

South Korea/United States

Alan Finlayson

United Kingdom


Day 1: 17 August 

09.00-09.40 Breakfast

09.40-10.00 Welcome

10.15-12.00 Keynote Lecture: Debra Hawhee, “Deliberative Imagination and Democratic Life”

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.15-15.00 Paper Workshop Sessions

15.00-15.30 Coffee Break

15.30-17.00 Panel Sessions 1 & 2

  • Panel 1: “Globalizing Rhetoric: Practices, Theories, and Challenges”
    • Robeson Taj Frazier, María Alejandra Vitale, Dilip Gaonkar
  • Panel 2: “National, Parliamentary, and Presidential Rhetoric in a Global Context”
    • Kari Palonen, Alan Finlayson, Jairos Kangira

18.00 Dinner with all participants


Day 2: 18 August

09.30-10.15 Breakfast

10.15-12.00 Keynote Lecture: Kari Palonen, “The Rhetoric of Dissensus: On the singularity of parliamentary politics”

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.15-15.00 Paper Workshop Sessions

15.00-15.30 Coffee Break

15.30-17.00 Panel Sessions 3 & 4

  • Panel 3: “Classical Rhetoric and the Political Present”
    • Debra Hawhee, Mats Rosengren
  • Panel 4: “Mediating Publics: Protest and Propaganda”
    • Anne Ulrich, Jiyeon Kang

18.00 Dinner with faculty


Day 3: 19 August

09.30-10.15 Breakfast

10.15-12.00 Keynote Lecture: Dilip Gaonkar, “Re-Membering Rhetoric and its Global Futures”

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.15-14.00 Workshop Closure Session

14.15-15.00 Closing Remarks

From the Founders

“You know how it goes: the previous presenter runs late and you have to run through your paper, and then at the Q&A you get two questions and one was not even related to your talk. It seems like a lot of effort to go to a conference for that kind of feedback.”

Frida, sometime in November 2014

That statement was the beginning of IRW. We were discussing the general state of rhetoric in academia and how hard it is to meet and actually engage with scholars from around the world.  Then Frida voiced her concern that, even if you do go to international events, it often does not quite deliver–and usually the best development for your research happens over dinner or at the bar. So, even though we are big fans of conference food and drink, we decided to develop an event where the key features are engaged dialogue and the development of research. This means no more sprint readings of papers, no more wasted Q&A, and a lot more time for discussion with others who share similar scholarly interests.

As we worked to establish the IRW over the past year, we’ve had our sights set on offering a different kind of conference: a workshop where young scholars (PhDs and recently dissertated) get the chance to have their work closely read by 4-5 other young scholars and one established faculty member with similar interests. This comes with the extra bonus of getting the opportunity to read other young scholar’s work, participate in panel discussions and development sessions, and hearing some amazing lectures by distinguished keynotes.

One additional, central feature of IRW is that it offers an international meeting place with rotating host universities. If the study of rhetoric is to continue to extend its global reach, an international network of graduate students and emerging scholars should be a central site for this work. The IRW thus provides an opportunity to connect scholars worldwide to pursue how this globalization–along with the globalization of many other commercial, cultural, and political practices–might transform the study of rhetoric.

IRW has already received significant international interest. Besides invited faculty from eight different countries, the workshop has applicants from China, USA, Brazil, Germany, Iran, UK, Argentina, Ghana, the Netherlands, Israel, Denmark, Croatia, Namibia and Qatar, to mention a few. We are thrilled to see this development and hope that more scholars will join us as IRW gathers momentum.

With the promise of a different type of conference, in which each scholar’s work becomes part of the general conversation,


Frida, Erik, Rob and Dave


Founders of IRW

Erik Bengtson, Uppsala University 
Frida Buhre, Uppsala University 
David Miguel Molina, Northwestern University
Robert TopinkaUniversity of East Anglia


The International Rhetoric Workshop has received the endorsement of: 



The 2016 workshop is made possible through the generous support of: