New Directions in Rhetoric and Materiality
Edited by Barbara A. Biesecker, Wendy S. Hesford, and Christa Teston


Current thinking about rhetoric signals a new attentiveness to and critical appraisal of material-discursive phenomena. New Directions in Rhetoric and Materiality provides a forum for established and emerging scholars to explore how rhetorical theories attuned to the everyday, material, lived conditions of human, nonhuman, and extra-human life are brought to bear upon a wide range of investigative foci, including bodies, biologies, economics, environments, borders, and social events of consequence. Of particular interest to the series' editors are monographs that push or push against the theoretical, analytical, and methodological orthodoxy on agency in various environs as well as those that pair rhetorical theory with an analysis of material conditions and the social-symbolic labor circulating therein.

The series therefore invites scholarship that explores, among other areas, the following:

  • methods and methodologies for capturing the complexity of rhetoric as material-discursive phenomena;
  • what counts as (or how to bound off) phenomena worthy of rhetorical study;
  • the richness (or paucity) of theoretical frameworks for understanding rhetoric as material-discursive phenomena;
  • who or what has (and/or exerts) agency in material-discursive networks (e.g., fetal tissue; stem cells; deteriorating bridges; melting icecaps; international trade agreements; economic bubbles, to name only a few);
  • tensions between and practical/political/economic implications of radical anthropomorphism versus human rights work that seeks to rescue the human from material moorings;
  • questions about the body as a material-discursive phenomenon, including new and critical approaches to bioethics and biopolitics;
  • questions about what new materialism adds to our understanding of rhetorical scholarship as it relates to social events of consequence (e.g., Islamic military activity; immigration legislation and migration crises; militarization of police in black communities).

Inquiries should be directed to Tara Cyphers at The Ohio State University Press. Book proposals should follow press guidelines. Download series flyer


Series Editors

Barbara A. Biesecker is professor of rhetoric at the University of Georgia, with affiliate appointment in the Institute for Women’s Studies. She is currently editor-in-chief of the Quarterly Journal of Speech (volumes 100–102), was founding editor of the Forum Series in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and co-edited with John L. Lucaites Rhetoric, Materiality, & Politics (2009). She currently serves on the editorial boards of Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Philosophy & Rhetoric, and Women’s Studies in Communication, and in the past has served on the editorial boards of the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Review of Communication, Western Journal of Speech, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and Pre/Text: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetoric.

For her own scholarship in rhetorical theory and criticism, Biesecker has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Scholar Award (2011, Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division of the National Communication Association) and the Douglas Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award (2007, National Communication Association). Throughout her career, Biesecker has explored the role of rhetoric in social change by working at the intersections of rhetorical theory and criticism and continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminist theory and criticism, and cultural studies.

Wendy S. Hesford is professor of rhetoric at The Ohio State University, with affiliate appointments in Comparative Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She has authored two monographs: Framing Identities: Autobiography and the Politics of Pedagogy (U Minnesota, 1999), for which she received the W. R. Winterowd book award, and Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions, Feminisms (Duke UP, 2011), for which she received the RSA book award. She has co-edited two book collections with Wendy Kozol, Haunting Violations: Feminist Criticism and the Crisis of the “Real” (U Illinois P, 2001), and Just Advocacy: Women’s Human Rights, Transnational Feminisms, and the Politics of Representation; co-authored a textbook, Rhetorical Visions, with Brenda Brueggemann (Prentice Hall, 2007); co-edited with Eileen Schell a special issue of College English, which focused on transnational feminist rhetoric; and served as co-editor-in-chief for the Women’s Caucus of Modern Language Association publication CONCERNS, a journal that focused on the status of women in the profession. Most recently, Hesford has co-edited (with Katrina Powell) a dossier in JAC on children’s rights and the rhetoric of regulation.

Her research focuses on modern and contemporary rhetorical theory, writing studies, human rights studies, visual culture, and transnational feminist studies.

Christa B. Teston is assistant professor of English at The Ohio State University. She is the author of Bodies in Flux: Scientific Methods for Negotiating Medical Uncertainty (Chicago, 2017) and co-edited (with Brian McNely & Clay Spinuzzi) a special issue of Technical Communication Quarterly focused on contemporary research methodologies in technical communication. In 2010, her article, “A Grounded Investigation of Genred Guidelines in Cancer Care Deliberations” won the National Council of Teachers of English award for best article reporting qualitative or quantitative research in technical communication. She has published in the Journal of Medical Humanities, Intercom, Technical Communication Quarterly, Written Communication, Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric and Society, and has an article forthcoming in Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Teston serves as the book review editor for the Journal of Business and Technical Communication. She regularly reviews for a range of journals, and serves on editorial committees for Written Communication and Enculturation.

Her research focuses on textual and rhetorical practices (such as deliberation and documentation) in settings that are medical or scientific in nature—with implications for expertise in public policy, medical and scientific practice, and evidential design.