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The Conceit of Context

Resituating Domains in Rhetorical Studies


Edited By Charles E. Morris III and Kendall R. Phillips

This edited volume features essays derived from presentations delivered at the 15th Biennial Public Address Conference held at Syracuse University in October 2016, as well as additional material. The Conceit of Context explores the often invoked—indeed a central term in the history of rhetorical studies—but less often engaged concept of context. In this volume, we center the notion of context as the site of engagement, critique, and imagination, seeking to deepen the critical and political promise of context in the study of public discourse.

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The chapters in this volume were first presented as part of the Seventh Biennial Public Address Conference held at Syracuse University in 2016. The Public Address Conference (PAC) is a rare event in that it is independent of any standing organization and, rather, is an event passed from institution to institution, with each institution empowered to shape it as it sees fit. The opportunity to host the PAC was a unique honor in our lives and both editors are grateful to the long legacy of PAC hosts, especially our friends at Georgia State University who passed it along to us.

Of course, staging an event like PAC requires an enormous amount of effort and resources. We are grateful to the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University for providing many of those resources, and to then Dean Ann Clarke for her enthusiastic support. We are also grateful to the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and our generous colleagues and graduate students who helped us plan and host the event. While there are numerous individuals who stepped up to provide invaluable support, we especially want to acknowledge Joanne Balduzzi, Sarah Francesconi, Esther Gray, and Dave Williams.

PAC, as with many long-standing institutions, has developed its own set of traditions. Among those is the designation of an honoree, someone whose distinguished career has had a marked impact on the study of public address. For 2016, we honored Dr. Stephen E. Lucas and we...

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