NCA 2016 Update & Awards Announcement

From Jen Mercieca–PAD Vice Chair:

Howdy! I write with an update about the 2016 NCA Convention Program, which is live today on Conference registration and hotel room blocks are also open today, get the good rates while they last!


Thanks to y’all who submitted work for consideration for PAD at NCA this year. We were allotted 22 slots this year, two fewer than last year. I regretted that the submissions were so strong overall that many deserving papers and panels were declined. Overall, I was able to accept 36 of 89 papers  for  about 40% acceptance (the same as last year). In addition, I was able to program 18 of 27 panel submissions. Thank you also to those of you who volunteered to review submissions!

Business Meeting

Regardless of whether your submission was accepted or not, all members of PAD are cordially invited to the PAD Business Meeting this coming November, where we will elect new officers, conduct old and new business, and celebrate our award winners. The PAD Business Meeting is scheduled for 12:30-1:45 in Grand Salon I – Level 5 (Marriott).

Top Papers Panel

Immediately after the business meeting, we will move on to our top papers panel, featuring:

Kelly Jakes, Wayne State University, “Songs of Sovereignty: Folksinging and Hegemonic Masculinity in Liberation France.”

The experiences of defeat and occupation by Germany and liberation by the Allies wrought considerable gender damage upon France during the Second World War. In this essay, I examine appropriations of “Quand Madelon,” a popular WWI song that reemerged during the early weeks of France’s liberation, arguing that these songs offered one discursive resource by which patriots reasserted the manly strength of their nation. By reviving old archetypal notions of eroticized, subservient femininity and tough, virile masculinity, the tunes exerted discipline over “wayward” French women and eased gendered anxieties about the nation’s ability to reclaim its status as a sovereign nation. However, like all instruments of hegemony, the songs were not purely repressive. Indeed, by aligning French résistantes with Madelon, – a symbol of paradigmatic femininity and also female civic participation and sexual agency – the songs elicited support from French women even as they contributed to misogynistic representations of war and victory.

Kevin A. Johnson and Stefani Wlaschin, California State University, Long Beach, “Vita Contemplativactiva: President Obama, Chronopolitics, and the Liberal Arts.”

Our purpose in this essay is to specifically offer a critique of the chronopolitical dimension in the current political debate about liberal arts education. Paul Virilio advanced a theory of chronopolitics that linked power to the ability to control technologies of time. In focusing on the chronopolitical dimension of education rhetoric, we advance a theory of the vita contemplativactiva. As a chronopolitical orientation, the vita contemplativactiva emphasizes a rhetorical education whereby there is no activa without contemplativa and no contemplativa without activa. Specifically, in analyzing President Obama’s address regarding manufacturing jobs, combined with the ensuing controversy surrounding art history education, we argue that the vita contemplativactiva is a necessary critical tool to ensure that the vita activa and vita contemplativa are not rhetorically constructed to be at odds with each other, to the detriment of both. In short, we argue for solidarity between the vita activa and vita contemplativa rooted in a rhetorical education. Such solidarity is necessary to navigate the demands of both democratic and economic life.

Courtney Caudle Travers, Vanderbilt University, “Fashion’s “Civic Callings:” The Rhetorical First Lady, Postwar National Identity, and Michelle Obama.”

While many scholars have examined the so-called “post-racial” politics of Barack Obama’s administration and media coverage thereof, relatively few scholars have investigated Michelle Obama’s influence on the position of first lady. Put differently, the nation’s first African-American first lady has a specific set of institutional constraints alongside broader cultural constructions of gender and race. While all first ladies face the rhetorical constraint of fashion as a potent gendered symbol for their “fit” as models for American womanhood, Michelle Obama has the additional challenge of diminishing the many media stereotypes inscribed on black women’s bodies. Thus, in this essay, I illuminate the constitutive and instrumental elements of fashion as a rhetorical resource for first ladies. I first contextualize how American fashion design gained political and symbolic momentum in the post-WWII era, before narrowing to a brief rhetorical history of modern first ladies whose fashion choices have been noted by media. Then, I use close visual and media analysis to demonstrate how First Lady Michelle Obama has addressed specific rhetorical problems through deploying fashion at relevant moments in the Obama presidency: inauguration 2009, and the 2011 and 2015 State Dinners for China. Ultimately, I conclude that analysis of Obama’s rhetorical use of fashion provides scholars the ability to complicate “post” discourses about femininity, fashion, and first ladies by better illuminating the institutional relationship between norms and invention.

Lauren R. Harris, University of Maryland, “More Beef, Less Bull: The Intersection of Agrarian and Expediency Ideologies in Recent Congressional Campaigns.”

Through an analysis of recent advertisements for congressional hopefuls Kristi Noem and Joni Ernst, this paper examines how each female candidate was able to draw on traditional imagery of agrarianism and expediency to construct an electable persona. The intersection of the agrarian myth and expediency arguments allow both women to construct a persona of the ideal moral citizen.

Award Winners

I’m thrilled to announce that this year’s recipients of the Public Address Division Top Paper Awards are:

Robert Gunderson Top Student Paper Award

First, congratulations to Lauren R. Harris, University of Maryland, for submitting the top-ranked student paper to PAD this year.

Wrage-Baskerville Top Paper Award

Second, join me in congratulating Kelly Jakes, Wayne State University, for submitting the division’s overall top-ranked contributed paper.

Each author will receive an award plaque and a modest award check at the PAD’s annual Business Meeting. I hope to see many PAD members there!

Program Highlights

I’d also like to highlight two panels related to the 2016 Presidential Election, which have been scheduled back to back on Saturday:

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM           Spotlight Panel 2016 Election: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Presidential Campaign Rhetoric

Room 413 – Level 4             Marriott Downtown

  • Karrin Anderson, Colorado State University
  • Bonnie J. Dow, Vanderbilt University
  • Stephanie Martin, Southern Methodist University
  • Carrie Murawski, Texas A&M University
  • John M. Murphy, University of Illinois
  • Shawn J. Parry-Giles, University of Maryland

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM Spotlight Panel 2016 Election: Trump’s Insurgency: Demagoguery, Perversion, and Identity

Room 413 – Level 4             Marriott Downtown

  • Taylor Hahn, Johns Hopkins University
  • James Darsey, Georgia State University
  • Paul Elliott Johnson, University of Pittsburgh
  • Patricia Roberts-Miller, University of Texas
  • Joshua Gunn, University of Texas, Austin
  • Jennifer Mercieca, Texas A&M University

In the coming months, I will use this list and our Facebook page to spotlight some of our other upcoming convention programming. General information about the division can be found at: Thanks, as ever, to web spinner Trevor Parry-Giles for keeping our website current.

Yay, #teamrhetoric!

I hope that this finds you well,


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