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rd & 4TH 2019 - FT. MYERS, FL

Florida Gulf Coast University will host the Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric (SCoR) this fall with distinguished scholar Dr. James Darsey (Professor emeritus of Communication, Georgia State University) as the honored discussant.
The theme for the Fall 2019 colloquium:
The Rhetoric of Innovation.

The Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric is to provide a vehicle for the large and growing number of rhetorical scholars in the South, to meet regularly and informally with colleagues from a variety of institutions across the region. Generally, there is a particular topic to be discussed or artifact to be analyzed. Aligning with one of the pillars of scholarship announced by FGCU’s President Dr. Mike Martin, this year’s SCoR theme is Innovation. Along the theme of innovation, the program will select papers incorporating the following synonyms: change, revolution, upheaval, metamorphosis, restructuring, reorganization, and, the most important concept supporting innovation – failure. This convening of SCoR will also invite the work of those whose work lies outside the field of rhetorical study.

In honor of the theme of The Rhetoric of Innovation, Florida Gulf Coast University has selected an epideictic speech by Nikola Tesla, recipient for The Edison Medal, given by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, as the primary artifact of discussion for this year’s culminating panel. A secondary artifact will be Elon Musk’s Commencement Address to the graduating class of California Institute of Technology (2012) titled, Magicians of the 21st Century.

Undergraduate students from colleges and departments across FGCU are encouraged to participate through Undergraduate panels and poster presentations. For panels, Submit a 200-250 word abstract incorporating Innovation. If the abstract is selected, a 4-6 page paper will be presented the day of the SCoR convening; each student panel will have a faculty respondent. Students presenting a poster will be expected to discuss their work during the poster presentation session. Posters will be judged by a panel of prominent faculty and members of the FGCU community.

Graduate students and emerging scholars (new PhDs, adjuncts, ABD, etc.) are invited to submit papers and panel proposals. Papers will be selected from a competitive, blind review process. Graduate students from colleges and universities throughout Florida and the Southern region are encouraged to submit on the theme. Papers are limited to 8 pages.

Faculty and graduate students are encouraged to submit a précis on either of the epideictic speeches to be discussed, no more than two pages. All précis and presented papers will be published in the Agora, on SCoR’s website.
The main event will be the convening of the colloquium and will feature distinguished professors from across the region, the state and the South in attendance. The colloquium will be led by Dr. James Darsey.

Dr. Darsey, a scholar of rhetorical theory, GLBT studies, and social movements will be the lead respondent. Dr. Darsey is best known for his book, The Prophetic Tradition and Radical Rhetoric in America (NYU 1997), which was the recipient of the Diamond Anniversary Book Award, the Winans/Wichelns Award for Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, both from the National Communication Association, the Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Scholarship in Public Address, and was selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1997. Other work by Darsey has been recognized with the Randy Majors Award from the GLBT Caucus of NCA. Professor James Darsey is the founding convener of the Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric, this year hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University.

Florida Gulf Coast University was founded in 1991 to serve the southwest corner of the peninsula. Since its founding in Fort Myers, the university has established six main colleges including the College of Resort & Hospitality Management, and the College of Arts & Sciences. FGCU prides itself on its mission of sustainability and environmental stewardship and has emerged as a leader in Florida issues of water quality.
Submit abstracts, papers, and proposals by
September 1, 2019. Registration is required for all participants. Please submit papers, proposals, précis’, and questions to:

Jon Braddy at or Josh Youakim at


The conference organizers have secured funds to cover expenses for the conference, so registration, originally announced at $45, is free. For registration details, please visit:

Florida Gulf Coast University and the Ft. Myers Area

FGCU is located on the southern border of Ft. Myers (two hours driving from Tampa or Miami, three from Orlando). Lying just north of the Everglades, the campus is situated amidst 400 acres of protected natural habitat. The immediate area is also home to numerous restaurants, hotels, professional sports and entertainment venues, as well as an international airport (less than ten minutes from campus). Ft. Myers is also home to the “Edison and Ford Winter Estates” – an appropriate excursion given our theme.


Primary Artifacts For Analysis
Nikola Tesla’s Address to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. New York, 1917
Elon Musk’s Commencement Address, “Magicians of the 21st Century.” The California Institute of Technology, 2012.


Secondary Texts
Doss, H. (2014, December 17). The Rhetoric Of Innovation. Retrieved from
Miller, C. R. (1994). Opportunity, opportunism, and progress: Kairos in the rhetoric of technology. Argumentation, 8(1), 81-96.
Lynch, John A.; and Kinsella, William J. "The Rhetoric of Technology as a Rhetorical Technology." Poroi 9, Iss. 1 (2013): Article 13. Available online at:
Taffel, S. (2018). Hopeful Extinctions? Tesla, Technological Solutionism and the Anthropocene.
Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, 10(2), 163-184.
Thibault, G. (2013). The Automatization of Nikola Tesla: Thinking Invention in the Late
Nineteenth Century. Configurations, 21(1), 27-52. doi:10.1353/con.2013.0004

Supporting/Optional Texts
Clarke, A. C. (various). Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination. (Reprinted) In Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry to the Limits of the Possible. (various editions available starting
Cutrufello, G. (2015). The Public Address and the Rhetoric of Science: Henry Rowland, Epideictic Speech, and Nineteenth-Century American Science. Rhetoric Review, 34(3), 275-291.
Miller, C. R. (1978). Technology as a form of consciousness: A study of contemporary ethos.
Central States Speech Journal, 29(4), 228-236. doi:10.1080/10510977809367983

For further information regarding the Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric at FGCU, please visit the SCoR Website: