Keynotes and Faculty


Lisa Storm Villadsen (Denmark)

Lisa Storm Villadsen is Associate Professor of Rhetoric at Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen where she has served as Head of the Section of Rhetoric and Ph.D. Coordinator since 2012. In 2013-2016 she held the full-time position of Head of Studies at the same department. She wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the rhetoric of seduction at the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, USA.

As a scholar, Villadsen identifies as a rhetorical critic. Her main research interests concern rhetoric’s role in contemporary public life. Villadsen is especially interested in how rhetoric reflects the norms undergirding messages and discussions in the public realm, primarily in a political context.

Her work is therefore mainly in the areas of rhetorical citizenship, public debate, and dissent. Together with Christian Kock she developed the term rhetorical citizenship as a theoretical and critical framework and edited the books Rhetorical Citizenship and Public Deliberation (2012) and Contemporary Rhetorical Citizenship (2015). Villadsen has also done extensive work on official apologies and has a particular interest in issues of rhetorical agency and affect.

From 2011-2014 she was the editor in chief of Rhetorica Scandinavica, the journal of Scandinavian research in rhetoric. She is currently on the editorial board of the Quarterly Journal of Speech. She served on the Board of Directors of RSA, the Rhetoric Society of American 2012-2016. During that time, she was on the RSA International Task Force. She has also worked with the board of RSE, the Rhetoric Society of Europe.

Lisa Villadsen will give the keynote speech Rhetorical Citizenship and Public Moral Argument: Too Quaint an Idea for Neoliberal Times?


Raka Shome (Singapore/United States)

Raka Shome is a Visiting Senior Fellow at National University of Singapore.  Prior to this she was a faculty member at London School of Economics, Arizona State University and University of Washington.

She writes on postcolonial cultures, transnational feminism, and media/communication cultures.  Her research interests are in Asian Modernities, Transnational relations of India, Racism and Media in a global context, Transnational Media Cultures and Gender, and the Transnational politics of knowledge production as a communication issue. Shome has published numerous articles and book chapters in leading journals and anthologies in the field of Media and Communication Studies.

She is the author of Diana and Beyond: White Femininity, National Identity, and Contemporary Media Culture  (University of Illinois Press, 2014) – a book that examines how new sets of postcolonial relations in contemporary western cultures are mediated through images of white femininity (especially privileged and celebrity white women).

Professor Shome’s work has been honored with several awards by the National Communication Association (USA) which is the world’s largest academic organization for the study of communication phenomena.  Such recent honors include the Distinguished Scholar Award for Cultural Studies in Communication, and the Charles Woolbert Award, that is given for an article that has stood the test of time and become a stimulus for new conceptions in Communication.  Shome won this for a 2002 co-authored article on Postcolonial Approaches to Communication that was published in the journal, Communication Theory.

Shome is currently researching contemporary Indian nationalism and the «Clean India» movement.

Raka Shome will give the keynote speech Gender, Nationalism, and the ‘Swachh Bharat’ (Clean India) Movement.

Jessica Enoch (United States)

Jessica Enoch’s teaching and research focuses on feminist rhetorics and pedagogies, rhetorical education, histories of rhetoric and composition, as well as literacy studies.

Her first book, Refiguring Rhetorical Education: Women Teaching African American, Native American, and Chicano/a Students, revisits the seemingly innocuous figure of the nineteenth-century female teacher to investigate the radical iterations of rhetorical education that women teachers have produced (Southern Illinois UP, 2008).

Her second monograph Domestic Occupations: Spatial Rhetorics and Women’s Work (Southern Illinois UP 2019) works at the intersection of space, rhetoric, and gender to investigate how the material and discursive constructions of the home have both enabled and constrained women’s entrance into professional occupations and spaces.

Her current research project considers how a feminist rhetorical analytic can shape and redirect memory studies. She has also published work on archival research methods and pedagogies, mestiza rhetorics and Mexicana newspaper women, Kenneth Burke, and students’ revision and reflection practices.

Jessica Enoch will give the keynote speech Gendered Barriers: Examning Historical and Present-day Issues concerning Professional and Academic Access.

Participating faculty

Jens E. Kjeldsen (Norway)

Jens Elmelund Kjeldsen is professor of rhetoric at Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen. He graduated from Department of Rhetoric at Copenhagen University on a thesis on political television debates. He did a PhD. Degree (dr. art) at the Department of Media Studies in Bergen with a dissertation on visual rhetoric.

Kjeldsen is the initiator and former president of the organization Rhetoric Society of Europe (RSE). In 1996/97 he was one of three founders of Rhetorica Scandinavica, the journal of Scandinavian research in rhetoric. For several years he served as chief editor of the journal.

Kjeldsen is also committed to sharing the insights of rhetoric with the general public and make this knowledge applicable for people outside academia. For two decades he has given rhetoric and speechwriting courses to school teachers, top CEOs, public officials, government ministries, media companies, and political parties. In 2016 he created the speech competition “Seize the word”, where he serves as project leader. In “Seize the word” high school students in Norway seeks to write and deliver the best speech.

Kjeldsen’s main research interests are visual rhetoric and argumentation, political speechmaking and speechwriting, rhetoric in public communication, and the teaching and writing. He also works on rhetorical theory and methodology, and has recently edited the book Rhetorical Audience Studies and Reception of Rhetoric (2017), in which the reception of rhetoric and the rhetoric of reception is examined through new methods of rhetorical studies.

Currently he is developing an understanding of “rhetoric as working through”, which allows us to see rhetoric as a continuous changing of society and humans in general, rather than just as individual attempts to persuade and change minds in specific circumstances. With colleagues from the US and Denmark, Kjeldsen is also working on a book on speechwriting.



Rebecca Dingo (United States)

Rebecca Dingo is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

She is the author of Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing (Pittsburgh 2012) (winner of the W. Ross Winterowd Award for outstanding book on Composition Theory 2013) and co-editor of The Megarhetorics of Global Development (with J. Blake Scott) (Pittsburgh 2012).

She has published articles and chapters on a wide range of topics related to rhetoric, feminism, composition, transnational rhetorical study, and globalization.

She has reviewed manuscripts for several rhetoric, composition, and women’s studies journals, and is on the Editorial Board of Lexington Press’s Cultural Studies/Pedagogy/Activism series and Peitho journal. Currently she is the Director of the UMass Writing Program.


Hilde Van Belle (Belgium)

Hilde VAN BELLE is professor of Dutch and rhetoric at KU Leuven Campus Antwerpen (Belgium).

Her main research interests are narrative and persuasive strategies in the media, and literary journalism.

She is secretary of the Rhetoric Society of Europe, and editor of Verbal and Visual Rhetoric in a Media World (2013) and Let’s talk politics: New essays on deliberative politics (2014).”


Kris Rutten (Belgium)

Kris Rutten is professor of Culture & Education at the Department of Educational Studies of Ghent University.

His PhD dissertation focused on the rhetorical and narrative turn in education.

His main research interests are (new) rhetoric, cultural literacy, educational theory and arts-based research.

Rutten is the President of the Rhetoric Society of Europe (RSE) and Board member of the International Association for Cultural Studies (ACS)


Elisabeth Weiser (United States)

Elizabeth Weiser is Associate Professor at the Department of English at the Ohio State University. 

Weiser is a Burkean theorist, who studies the dynamic between identification and division as these pertain to civic life. Her book Burke, War, Words (2008) traces the development of the dialectic in dramatism as a response to war. In the book Museum Rhetoric: Building Civic Identities in National Spaces (2017) she looks at the formation of national identity in some 60 museums in 22 countries and posits a cultural nationalism that is both critical and celebratory.

Weiser has co-edited collections in feminist historiography and audience studies and has published articles/chapters in journals and monographs in the fields of rhetoric, museum studies, linguistics and education.

She has earned a variety of awards and acknowledgements for her work and is currently serving as national treasurer of the Kenneth Burke Society. She co-coordinates the WRL concentration and the minor in professional writing on the Newark campus and directs the minor’s internship program, which focuses on service to local nonprofit organizations. Her current teaching includes courses in professional writing, rhetorical theory, stylistics and linguistics.  


Christian Erik J. Kock (Denmark)

Christian Kock is Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen. He has done research on political argumentation and debate, the history of rhetoric, rhetorical citizenship, credibility, journalism, literary studies, aesthetics, linguistics and writing pedagogy.

Han initiated the Academic Writing Center af the University of Copenhagen, has been a Visiting Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, and is author, editor, co-author or co-editor of c. 20 books in rhetoric, linguistics, argumentation, journalism, political debate, and literature, as well as numerous articles for scholarly as well general audiences.

He is frequently used as a commentator on rhetoric and political debate in the media. He has chaired or served on various committees under the Ministry of Education and the Minsistry of Culture.


Ryan Solomon (United States)

Ryan Solomon is Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Colgate University. Solomon’s main research interests are rhetorical theory, ethics and communication, rhetoric and public deliberation. His work focuses on understanding how we can engage more productively in public life. Especially he is concerned with highlighting the important role of public deliberation in helping manage the necessary conflict that arises from social and political interaction in a pluralistic democracy.
In his dissertation, Solomon focused on the controversy over HIV in South Africa. His current research also focuses on South Africa, as he studies the way that different communities in South Africa seek to manage the different identities that were crafted by Apartheid legislation. In particular, he is investigating the wave of xenophobic violence that swept over South Africa in May of 2008, with the aim of understanding how South Africans have reacted to the violence, and how that response is creating new spaces of belonging in South Africa.