Workshop: 2021


Interdisciplinarity, Internationality, and Rhetoric

El Colegio de San Luis (College of San Luis; COLSAN) in San Luis Potosí, Mexico

September 22-26, 2021 (online event)

As we once again prepare for the 3rd Biennial International Rhetoric Workshop (IRW), we warmly invite international PhD students and emerging scholars to come together and consider the myriad ways that our contemporary and established traditions of rhetorical theory and criticism inform global flows of meaning-making.  

For 2021, we have conscientiously chosen to hold the 2021 workshop in San Luis Potosí, Mexico at El Colegio de San Luis (also referred to as COLSAN), in order to gather academics, scholars, and activists who are thinking about language and communication as we stay critical of its limits and consequences. In alignment with this purpose, the working languages in 2021 will be English and Spanish with the aid of translation software and technology.

The Workshop Experience

The 2021 IRW planning committee has brought together diverse experiences attending international conferences to design a workshop format that can better take advantage of our short time together. The workshop session will be composed of two separate phases: First, an online workshop meeting in June 2021, followed by workshop meetings to be held at the conference location. This hybrid format will allow participants to become familiar with the projects of their peers, and get advice ahead of the in-person workshop sessions to better their research.


During the online workshop, participants will briefly present the unfinished project they wish to workshop to their group, and share the direction in which they wish to develop their project. 

The IRW planning committee will create workshop groups based on topic, and will suggest the date for the first meeting, but will encourage the individual workshop groups to schedule meeting times that best suit their members. The aim of this meeting is 1) to get to know each other’s fields of interest, 2) share the first impressions of someone’s work, and 3) to give each other first comments and advice for the future work. Participants will then be encouraged to continue developing their work before the in person meetings in Mexico. 

In San Luis Potosí

During the in person workshop in September, participants will meet in-person with their workshop groups. Participants who attended the first phase of the workshop but are unable to travel to Mexico in September can participate online. The workshop groups will meet for three separate sessions to continue developing their work, reflect on how their projects have changed since the first meeting online, and discuss practical advice on presenting and publishing their work. The IRW planning committee will provide the workshop groups with suggested guidelines and discussion topics, but the workshop groups will be able to decide what kind of work is most beneficial to their group. 

Along with the workshop sessions, the IRW planning committee is preparing additional programming for our time in Mexico. Day to day programming will include keynote speakers, topical roundtable sessions for which the participants will self-select, and excursions to museums and historical sites near San Luis Potosí.

Suggested topics

Proposals that broadly speak to the conference theme are encouraged but certainly not required. We encourage a wide range of topics and approaches, as we believe that this can and will enhance the discussion and workshop experience.

  1. Interdisciplinarity
  2. Rhetorical theory
  3. Transnational rhetoric
  4. Rhetorical history  
  5. International rhetorics
  6. Rhetorics of translation
  7. Rhetoric and the academic job market
  • How can rhetorical studies contribute to the theoretical, critical, and conceptual practice of rhetoric in different communities?  What are potential outcomes?
  • What rhetorical practices and processes confront, complicate, or help to sustain democratic cultures within an increasingly globalized world?
  • What nascent identity-positions emerge from transnational flows of bodies, beliefs, and communication practices as they move across borders and boundaries?
  • How does rhetoric’s transnational intellectual history cross borders?
  • How can the work of translation contribute to the study of rhetoric across national borders? 
  • How are ideas of race, ethnicity, and gender rhetorically deployed as a political means to securing hegemonic conditions or undermining democratic processes? 
  • How do colonial legacies influence or complicate rhetorical conceptions of global citizenship and the idea of a global community?  How does language supremacy structure our everyday lives directly and indirectly?
  • How do LGBTQ activists’ rhetorical practices centered on queer worldmaking circulates or is contested in an increasingly globalized world?

Faculty members

Cristina D. Ramírez

Cristina D. Ramírez is associate professor in the English Department at the University of Arizona and teaches in the program of Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English (RCTE). She is currently the director of the RCTE doctoral program, where she closely works with graduate students in conducting archival research, critical analysis and recovery of historical documents, theories of translation, and feminist historiography. Her own research focuses on border rhetorics, feminist rhetorical theory, historiography, archival research, and rhetorical theories of document recovery. Her first book, Occupying Our Space: The Mestiza Rhetorics of Mexican Women Journalists and Activists, 1875-1942 (2015, University of Arizona Press) won the Winifred Bryan Horner National Outstanding book prize from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition (CFSHRC). She also serves as national secretary of CFSHRC (2016-present).
She has published articles in College English, Technical Communication Quarterly, and Latinx Rhetoric & Writing Studies. Her second book, edited with Jessica Enoch, Mestiza Rhetorics: An Anthology of Mexicana Activism in the Spanish Language Press, 1880-1922 (2019, SIUP) is the first bilingual anthology of primary texts in rhetoric and composition. For her third book project, Recovering Barrio Rhetorics: Remembering the Border Writer, Ramona González, she received the Social Behavior Sciences Research Fellow award (2017). During that time, she digitized 750+ pages of primary documents, which she donated to and have been accepted to the UT Latin American Benson Collection. She has traveled extensively throughout México studying in various nondigitized archives.
On her down time, Cristina likes to garden, swim, hike and travel.

Robert Westerfelhaus

 Robert Westerfelhaus is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the College of Charleston.

His research and teaching focus upon American popular culture from a communication studies perspective, with an emphasis upon rhetorical analyses. He is the past president of the Carolinas Communication Association and former editor of their annual.  In 2009-2010, he taught as a Fulbright fellow at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland.

He has published articles in Critical Studies in Media CommunicationCommunication QuarterlyFeminist Media Studies, Southern Communication JournalRes RhetoricaText and Performance Quarterly, the Western Journal of Communication, as well as other journals. He has also published book chapters and encyclopedia entries on subjects ranging from the history and cultural significance of costumed superheroes to lying as defined by the medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas. Current research interests include examining the popularity of post-apocalyptic narratives in books, films, television series and other popular culture texts; and, critiquing depictions of female superheroes in DC and Marvel films. 

Robert has eclectic interests and tastes. He likes visiting art museums, archeological sites, and places of historical interest. His musical preferences range from German classical composers to Chicago blues.  And, he is voracious reader who always has a book with him (classical and contemporary history, novels, plays, poetry, philosophy, theology).

Igor Ž. Žagar

Prof. dr. Igor Žagar Žnidaršič studied philosophy, sociology, and linguistics in Ljubljana, Paris, and Antwerp. He received his doctoral degree in Sociology of Culture from the University of Ljubljana. He is Professor of Rhetoric and Argumentation (University of Primorska) and Senior Research Fellow (Head of the Centre for Discourse Studies) at the Educational Research Institute (ERI), Ljubljana, Slovenia. Prof. Žagar is also the director of ERI and a member of the National Council for Higher Education. He has lectured in Belgium, United States, Italy, China, Taiwan, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Romania, Poland, and France, and is a member of editorial and advisory boards of several international scientific journals and book series.

Prof. Žagar is especially interested in education, pragmatics (speech act theory, (critical) discourse analysis), philosophy of language, argumentation, and rhetoric.

He is the (co)author and (co)editor of fifteen books, and more than a hundred articles; his complete bibliography comprises over 600 units.

Maria Załęska

Dr. Maria Załęska obtained her MA summa cum laude in Italian Philology, graduating from the Department of Italian Studies, University of Warsaw (1991). She defended her PhD in 2001 and published the habilitation thesis (Retorica della linguistica. Scienza, struttura, scrittura [“Rhetoric of linguistics. Science, structure, writing literacy”]) in 2014. All her academic career has been connected with the University of Warsaw, Department of Italian Studies, where she was appointed Associated Professor. In 2015 she was awarded by Rector of University of Warsaw for contributing to the University’s excellence.

Dr. Załęska is a member of the Executive Board of the Rhetoric Society of Europe and the president of the Rhetoric Society of Poland. Since 2017 she is the Head for Doctoral Studies at Faculty of Modern Languages at the University of Warsaw.

Specific foci of her research are rhetoric in the transmission of knowledge; rhetorical literacy; professional and expert communication; persuasion and self-persuasion; ideologies and critical discourse; creativity and teaching; humor and rhetoric. In the recent projects she held the workshops on rhetoric within the Festival of Abstract Thinking (Warsaw, 2018) and the project on teaching rhetoric through films interpretation in the Polish Society of Rhetoric with the Association “Dziki Bez”, since 2019.

Barbara A. Biesecker

Barbara A. Biesecker is Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia.  In addition to Addressing Postmodernity:  Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, and a Theory of Social Changeand Rhetoric, Materiality, & Politics (co-edited with John Lucaites), she continues to publish theoretical and critical essays that ask after the role of rhetoric in the making and unmaking of worlds.  Most recently, she served as guest editor of the 2018 special issue of Philosophy & Rhetoric on “Post-Truth” in which her essay “Towards An Archaeogenealogy of Post-Truth” served as an introduction, and her essay “From General History to Philosophy:  Black Lives Matter, Late Neoliberal Molecular Biopolitics, and Rhetoric” appeared in the 50thanniversary issue ofPhilosophy & Rhetoric.  Professor Biesecker is the recipient of multiple awards, including the National Communication Association’s Douglas Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award, the Francine Merritt Award, and the Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division’s Outstanding Mentor Award and Distinguished Scholar Award.  She served as editor-in-chief of the Quarterly Journal of Speech from 2013-2016, and continues to serve on multiple editorial boards.  Currently Professor Biesecker also is co-editing a book series, New Directions in Rhetoric and Materialityfrom The Ohio State University Press.

Dana Cloud

Dana Cloud is an independent scholar lecturing part time at California State University, Long Beach. Frequently published in communication journalis, she was formerly appointed as full professor and graduate director at Syracuse University (2015-19) and the University of Texas, Austin (1993-2015).

She researches, teaches, and writes in the areas of popular and political culture (ideologies of class, race, gender, sex, ability &so), social movements, Marxist theory, feminist theory, rhetorical theory and rhetorical criticism.

Her recent publication Reality Bites: Rhetoric and the Circulation of Truth Claims in U.S. Political Culture (Ohio State UP, 2018) put forwards a “rhetorical realism” as a concept useful to understanding the negotiation of truth in political culture.

Gerardo Ramírez Vidal

Dr. Ramirez Vidal got his PhD in Classics at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM); he was a researcher at the Centro de Estudios Clásicos (CEC) in UNAM’s Institute of Philosophical research. From 2010 to 2011 he was the Coordinator for the Centro de Studios Clásicos, and from 2011 to 2014 he was the director of Noua Tellus, the center’s yearly publication. His current project is Antifonte, Discursos y Tratados. Among Dr. Ramirez Vidal’s academic interests are Sophistry, classical rhetoric, education and politics in Ancient Greece. 

Published work: La retórica de Antifonte. México: UNAM, 2000; La palabra y la flecha. Análisis retórico de textos literarios de la Grecia antigua. México: UNAM, 2005; [Jenofonte]. La constitución de los atenienses. México: UNAM, 2005; La palabra y el puño. Perfiles de la retórica nazista en el el Mein Kampf de Adolfo Hitler. México: UNAM, 2013; La invención de los sofistas. México: UNAM, 2016; El arte de la memoria en la Rhetorica Christiana de Diego Valadés. México: UNAM, 2016.


Kacper Andrychowski
Ana Vlah
José Luis Quintero Ramírez
Linh Hua, PhD
Marta Kobylska, PhD