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Rhetoric, Materiality, and Politics


Barbara A. Biesecker and John Lucaites

Rhetoric, Materiality, and Politics explores the relationship between rhetoric’s materiality and the social world in the late modern political context. Taking as their point of departure a reprint of Michael Calvin McGee’s 1982 call to reconceptualize rhetoric as the palpable «experience» of sociality, the authors in this volume grapple anew with the role of communication practices in contemporary collective life. Drawing upon the work of Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, and Jacques Derrida, these twelve original essays supplement, extend, and challenge McGee’s position, collectively advocating on behalf of a shift in theoretical and critical attention from rhetorical materialism to rhetoric’s materiality.
Contents: Barbara A. Biesecker/John Louis Lucaites: Editors’ Introduction – Michael Calvin McGee: A Materialist’s Conception of Rhetoric – Ronald Walter Greene: Rhetorical Materialism: The Rhetorical Subject and the General Intellect – John M. Sloop: People Shopping – Joan Faber McAlister: Material Aesthetics in Middle America: Simone Weil, the Problem of Roots, and the Pantopic Suburb – Bruce E. Gronbeck: Jacob Riis and the Doubly Material Rhetorics of His Politics – Christian O. Lundberg: On the Materiality of Interpretation – Charles E. Morris III: Hard Evidence: The Vexations of Lincoln’s Queer Corpus – Nathan Stormer: Encomium of Helen’s Body: A Will to Matter – Kenneth Rufo: Shades of Derrida: Materiality as the Mediation of Différance – Daniel F. Schowalter: Disarticulating American Indianness in the National Museum of the American Indian – Oscar Giner: Portraits of Rebellion: Geronimo’s Photograph of 1884 – Dana L. Cloud: The Materialist Dialectic as a Site of Kairos: Theorizing Rhetorical Intervention in Material Social Relations – William C. Trapani: Materiality’s Time: Rethinking the Event from the Derridean esprit d’à-propos.