Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society

Present Tense, a new journal in rhetorical studies

Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society is a peer-reviewed, blind-refereed, online journal dedicated to exploring contemporary social, cultural, political and economic issues through a rhetorical lens. In addition to examining these subjects as found in written, oral and visual texts, we wish to provide a forum for calls to action in academia, education and national policy. Seeking to address current or presently unfolding issues, we publish short articles of no more than 2,000 words, the length of a conference paper. 

Conference presentations on topics related to the journal’s focus lend themselves particularly well to this publishing format. Authors who address the most current issues may find a lengthy submission and application process disadvantageous. We seek to overcome this issue through our shortened response time and by publishing individual articles as they are accepted. We also encourage conference-length multimedia submissions such as short documentaries, flash videos, slidecasts and podcasts.

In order to foster dialogue, our journal features a Reader Response section in which both contributors and readers are welcome to discuss the publications’ content in a public, digital space.

Sample Submission Topics:

Present Tense is interested in submissions dealing with theory, criticism, production, pedagogy and empirical research.

* Social justice issues involving language, power, and the body: How do institutional rhetorics shape economic policy, the treatment of bodies, and the architecture of resistance movements? How do displaced peoples and refugees use rhetorical resources? How do institutions exercise power? How do sovereign powers operate in the midst of institutional and control societies?

* Minority issues and minority rhetorics: How has Obama’s presidency affected our notions of racism? How has the immigration debate changed in the last decade? How are people of color and queer people portrayed by the media? How do we negotiate the needs of women of color with those of feminism?

* Green Rhetoric: How is rhetoric being used within and against environmental movements? How is the green movement being portrayed by the media, pop culture, corporations and the government? How does the language used to frame environmental issues on either side have an effect on personal choices?

* Rhetoric in national and international politics: How are attitudes about domestic and foreign policies formed by various media outlets? How do technologies shape our dialogue about foreign and domestic issues? How do public speeches by prominent political figures seek to shape the ethos of the individual, organization, and/or country they represent?

* Popular culture and media analysis: How do rhetorical concepts help us better understand today’s media and pop culture? How do networking sites affect the way in which humans relate to one another? How are sites like YouTube, Wikipedia and Creative Commons changing creative agency as well as the way we share knowledge in our culture?

* Rhetorics of Everyday Life and Technology: How might different understandings of everyday things change our lives? How do the things which make up our everyday world help shape our work, leisure time, social lives, emotions and/or mobilities? What technologies mediate these interactions and how do their rhetorical features affect our respective communities?

* Non-Western Rhetorics: How do rhetorical practices in non-Western contexts intersect with issues of education, justice, and power in those communities and cultures? How are discursive practices used to negotiate difference and conflict throughout the world? How do non-Western discursive practices challenge or broaden traditional Western rhetorical concepts and categories?

* Public Rhetorics and Rhetoric in Action: How is the field of rhetoric uniquely positioned to help us understand and engage the public? How can issues of community-based research and service learning be informed by rhetorical theory? How can historical, hermeneutic, and empirical research be used to study and encourage public participation?

* Rhetoric, Teaching, and Literacy: How are new composing practices shaping our approaches to writing instruction? What emergent language paradigms affect how we compose, argue, and design? How are new discourse technologies and composing contexts mediating what it means to be a rhetor in the 21st century?

For questions or submissions, please respond to:

Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder
PhD Student / Graduate TA
Introductory Composition Technology Mentor
Technical Editor, Present Tense Journal
Dept. of English / Rhetoric and Composition Program
Heavilon Hall #331E
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907