Erotema – A Conference on Rhetoric and Literature

Second call: Erotema – A Conference on Rhetoric and Literature

deadline for submissions: 
May 10, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
KuFo, The Research Group for Culture Studies, Karlstad University, Sweden
contact email: 

 ErotemaConference on Rhetoric and Literature

Karlstad University, Sweden, 14–16 September 2017

Literary studies in general notably have taken on a distinctly rhetorical turn in recent decades. The New Historicist stress on the importance of historical contextualization is one important impetus behind that turn, Judith Butler’s inquiries into the performed nature of gender another, Paul de Man’s pioneering work on the tropological nature of language in general and literary language specifically yet a third. Furthermore, feminist, post-colonial, and queer theory have all reminded us of the importance of honoring the rhetorical principle of situating discourse, and social semioticians like Theo van Leeuwen and Gunther Kress have reminded us that rhetoric offered a theory of multimodality long before the concept came fashionable.

The time thus seems ripe to open the question of the relation between rhetoric and literature anew. Can the challenges facing literary studies as an academic discipline perhaps best be met by returning to rhetoric? Might such a combination of perspectives even be a means to open up rhetoric and literary studies alike to other disciplines, such as media studies, language studies, art history and pedagogy?

Erotema:AConferenceonRhetoricandLiterature proceeds on the assumption that although questions of the above order may seem mere rhetorical questions – erotemata – to some of us, they demand genuine answers. To that end, we invite papers that address old and new ways in which the relations between rhetoric and literature may be further explored.


Proposals of 300-400 words for 20-minute papers dealing with rhetoric and literature in relation to one of the topics below or any other topic, should be sent to, by May 10, 2017.

  • the history of literature and/or rhetoric
  • language studies
  • translation studies
  • historical studies
  • teaching
  • subject specific teaching methodology
  • political theory
  • media theory
  • genre theory
  • gender studies
  • postcolonial studies
  • cultural studies



Roy Eriksen (University of Agder, Norway) is Professor English Renaissance Literature and Culture. He is the author of The Building in the Text. Alberti to Shakespeare and Milton (2001) and the co-editor (with Toril Moi) of Rhetoric Across the Humanities (1999).

Xing Lu (DePaul University, USA) is the author of Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century B. C. E.: A Comparison with Greek Rhetoric (1998), as well as Rhetoric of the Chinese Cultural Revolution: Impacts on Chinese Thought, Culture, and Communication (2004). Her academic interests include Chinese rhetoric, comparative rhetoric, intercultural/multicultural communication, language and culture, cultural identity, and Asian American communication.

Richard Walsh (University of York, England) is the author of The Rhetoric of Fictionality, which develops a pragmatic rhetorical perspective to articulate a fundamental critique of some basic concepts and assumptions in narratology: the narrator, story and discourse, mimesis, voice, emotional involvement, narrative creativity and fictionality itself. His research has extended to film, graphic narrative, interactive media and music.