Call for papers : « Rhetoric in Society III » – 26-28 Janvier 2001 / Anvers (Belgique)

Call for papers

Rhetoric in Society III

January 26 – 28 2011

Department of Applied Language Studies
Lessius University College
Antwerpen – Belgium

Keynote Speakers:

Gunther Kress
Christopher W. Tindale
Jef Verschueren

Rethinking rhetoric

Since Aristotle, the study of rhetoric has focused on the persuasive aspect of discourse in the political, forensic, and ceremonial domains. Rhetoric deals with doxa, the shared opinions and reasons people consider plausible and acceptable in a specific situation. It involves decisions taken by participants in public discourse on the basis of common deliberation and free choice in domains in which there can be no absolute truth, e.g. as in social and political life. Nowadays, we have come to realize the importance of rhetoric in all forms of discourse. There is no communication without some form of rhetoric.

Rhetoricians examine how people use arguments and language in order to convince or persuade an audience. But there is a lot more to rhetoric than that. It comprises more than sets of advice; in fact it is an art. It is the art of discovering what is persuasive in a given situation. This inventiveness points to how rhetoric has a heuristic function as well. It appeals to our creativity in our search for relevant questions and answers to specific matters. And as our discourse and arguments develop in interaction with other discourses (Voloshinov / Bakhtin), the hermeneutic aspect of rhetoric should not be overlooked. There is no rhetoric without analysis, interpretation and theoretical reflection. The art of speaking and writing « well » can be considered a cornerstone of our cultures and our educational systems.

Interdisciplinary research

The conference Rhetoric in Society aims to present and discuss different approaches to rhetoric. It will address this basic question: in what ways can the study of rhetoric function and provide an insight into our postmodern world? Consequently, what can it claim about discourse in the public domain, how is it related to empirical sciences, what can it say about the ever increasing amount of information and opinion that pervades our lives? Conversely, it can also be asked in what way actual language and communication theories and disciplines draw on ancient rhetoric.

Contributions to the conference will cover a wide range of both themes and theories. They will cover a broad spectrum of academic fields and thus favour interdisciplinary research not only within the fields of rhetoric, rhetorical criticism, rhetorical citizenship, argumentation studies, pragmatics, critical discourse studies, text linguistics, art and literature, but also the fields of communication studies, journalism studies, political, social and educational studies, history and philosophy.

We welcome papers or panel proposals on the role of rhetoric and argumentation in written and oral discourse and genres, on topics such as: public deliberation, controversies, legal decision-making, spin, hyphenated writing, social change, political campaigning, social movements, public relations, publicity, advertising, management, corporate internal communication, art and literature, visual rhetoric and public media discourse.

The core themes of the conference are:

– Rhetoric in journalism and new media
– Rhetoric in political discourse
– Rhetoric in organizational discourse
– Rhetoric in legal discourse
– Rhetoric in education
– Rhetoric in visual communication
– Theoretical, historical and (inter)cultural perspectives on rhetoric.


* Please send your abstract of max. 300 words edited in MS Word to RIS3@lessius. eu.
* The abstract should include a title, a research question, an indication of the theoretical framework, at least three bibliographical references, methodology, results and conclusion. The academic committee will review the abstracts (blind reviewing).
* Deadline for abstracts is June 30thth 2010, 12 a.m. Central European time.
* All contributions should be presented in English only.
* Please mention in your abstract the conference theme(s) within which you wish to present your paper.
* Please put your name in the subject of your mail, and your further references in the mail message (affiliation, university or institution, e-mail, phone number, most important publications on the topic if possible, and the title of your paper).
* Notification of acceptance will be sent before September 15th 2010.


Proceedings will be published digitally after the conference on the conference website. A selection of the proceedings will be published in book form. Your paper should be submitted by April 1st, 2011 at the latest.

Academic Committee

Paul Gillaerts (Lessius – Department of Applied Language Studies)
Baldwin Van Gorp (Lessius / K. U. Leuven – Centre for Media Culture and Communication Technology)
Dorien Van de Mieroop (Lessius – Department of Applied Language Studies)
Michael Opgenhaffen (Lessius – Department of Applied Language Studies)
Bart Philipsen (K. U. Leuven – Department of Literary Studies)
Kris Rutten (Ghent University – Department of Educational Studies)
Chair : Hilde Van Belle (Lessius – Department of Applied Language Studies)

This is the third edition of ‘Rhetoric in Society’. The first edition of the conference was organized by Aalborg University (Denmark) in November 2006, the second by the Speech Communication Department and the Department for Journalism and New Media of the Humanities Faculty of Leiden University. The conference is also associated with the researchers’ network ‘Rhetorical citizenship: Perspectives on Deliberative democracy’, based at the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Department of Rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen. We hope this conference at the Lessius Department of Applied Languages in Antwerp will be just as successful as the previous ones. http://www.lessius. eu/tt/ris/


Lessius University College / Campus Sint-Andries
Department of Applied Language Studies
Sint – Andriesstraat 2
B – 2000 Antwerpen
Tel. +32 3 206 04 91

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