2017 Charles Kneupper Award announced

The Charles Kneupper Award is given annually to recognize the essay published in the previous year's volume of Rhetoric Society Quarterly that made the most significant contribution to scholarship in rhetoric. The award is named in honor of Charles Kneupper (1949–1989) to honor his many contributions to RSA’s scholarly mission. The members of the 2016 Kneupper Award committee were: John Ackerman, Ekaterina Haskins (chair), and Judy Segal. They reported that there were a number of RSQ essays published in 2016 that made significant contributions to the study of rhetoric. Given the strength of the material, they decided to award a winner and to recognize another essay with an honorable mention. Rhetoric Society Quarterly is pleased to present the Kneupper Awards to:


Heather Lee Branstetter, “‘A Mining Town Needs Brothels’: Gossip and the Rhetoric of Sex Work in a Wild West Mining Community.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 46 (2016): 381-409.

This essay stood out for a number of reasons.  Its focus on gossip advances our theoretical and critical understanding of vernacular rhetoric. The author offers an impressive archive—and new oral histories—in a place (Wallace, Idaho) to which she had unusual access because of her roots in the community.  The author’s exploration points us “toward a heuristic for small talk as an interdependent cultural rhetoric, blurring boundaries and dichotomies, where vernacular and official, respectable and illicit lines of argument are related” (384).   The essay is not only theoretically transformative and thoroughly researched but also self-reflective about its research methodologies. Last but not least, it weaves a riveting historical narrative of how residents of Wallace negotiated their relationship to sex work, thereby demonstrating that theoretical sophistication and vivid storytelling can go hand in hand.

Honorable Mention:

Shui-yin Sharon Yam, “Affective Economies and Alienizing Discourse: Citizenship and Maternity Tourism in Hong Kong” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 46 (2016): 410-33.

Yam argues that “while rhetorical studies has linked citizenship with reason and examined it in terms of deliberation, civic engagement, and participatory democracy . . . , it has not sufficiently interrogated its affective and emotional dimensions” (411). Yam looks at internet postings that reveal the animus of Hong Kong citizens toward Mainland Chinese immigrants, and she teases out, in particular, two kinds of alienizing discourse that function as an “emotional pedagogy” of citizenship. The essay is well-grounded in its archive, and in rhetorical theory, and makes a strong contribution to rhetorical studies: a contribution especially important at this moment in U.S. history, when “political emotion” is called upon to distinguish (in Yam’s terms) the “threatened” from the “threatening.”

Professor Jane Thrailkill Receives 2017 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching

Professor Jane Thrailkill has received the 2017 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Board created this award in 1993 to underscore the importance of teaching and to encourage, identify, recognize, reward, and support good teaching within the University. Each recipient is honored at their respective campus Spring commencement ceremony by a member of the Board of Governors and receives a $12,500 stipend and a bronze medallion.

Visit the UNC System website to read an interview with Professor Thrailkill and the other recipients.

Professor Jessica Wolfe Selected as a Long-Term Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library

Professor Jessica Wolfe has been selected as one of seven long-term fellows at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2017-18. She will hold the O.B. Hardison Jr. fellowship, named for a much-beloved UNC professor of Renaissance Literature who received both his BA and MA degrees from our department and, in 1969, left UNC to serve as director of the Folger. Wolfe will be working on a biography of George Chapman, a Renaissance playwright and poet who was also the first English translator of Homer. For more information, visit http://collation.folger.edu/2017/04/2017-2018-long-term-fellows/.

Americanist Speaker Series presents: Marlene Daut, 4/27 @ 7 p.m.

Please join us for the next UNC-Duke Americanist Speaker Series event:

The Americanist Speaker Series presents: Marlene L. Daut

(University of Virginia)

"A Transnational Literary Geography of the Haitian Atlantic” 

Thursday, April 27, 7:00 p.m.

2605 McDowell Road
Durham, NC
At the home of Priscilla Wald & Joseph Donahue

Refreshments provided!


This talk discusses eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Afro-diasporic writing and art from across the Americas about the Haitian Revolution. By exploring a broad range of engagement with the Haitian Revolution by writers living throughout the Atlantic World, Professor Daut reveals a traveling language of Haitian revolutionary thought to be central to the development of not only Afro-diasporic anti-slavery activism, but a broader transatlantic European and U.S. American abolitionist literary culture.

Marlene L. Daut is Associate Professor of African Diaspora Studies at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies and the Program in American Studies at the University of Virginia.  Her first book, Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865, was published in 2015 by Liverpool University Press' Series in the Study of International Slavery. Her second book, Baron de Vastey and the Origins of Black Atlantic Humanism, is forthcoming in fall 2017 from Palgrave Macmillan’s series in the New Urban Atlantic. She is  currently a fellow at the National Humanities Center, where she is working on her next project entitled, An Anthology of Haitian Revolutionary Fictions (Age of Slavery). She is also the co-creator and co-editor of H-Net Commons’ digital platform, H-Haiti, and she curates the website http://haitianrevolutionaryfictions.com You can follow her on Twitter: @fictionsofHaiti

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Upcoming Events

November 2017

Radiant Cinema: Light, Life & Luminescence 10/10/2017 - 3:00pm to 11/28/2017 - 4:30pm
Radiant Cinema: Light, Life & Luminescence 10/10/2017 - 3:00pm to 11/28/2017 - 4:30pm
Radiant Cinema: Light, Life & Luminescence 10/10/2017 - 3:00pm to 11/28/2017 - 4:30pm
Radiant Cinema: Light, Life & Luminescence 10/10/2017 - 3:00pm to 11/28/2017 - 4:30pm
Radiant Cinema: Light, Life & Luminescence 10/10/2017 - 3:00pm to 11/28/2017 - 4:30pm