CFP: Precarious Rhetorics

Co-edited by Wendy S. Hesford, Adela C. Licona, Christa Teston


Wendy S. Hesford

recarity has become a key concept in scholarly work devoted to the study of the affective, rela-

tional, and material conditions and structuring logics of inequality. It is an explanatory concept at
work across scholarship attending to labor, migration, biopolitics, securitization, global and settlerstate governance, economies of war and violence, vulnerability, differentiated risk, poverty, debility, dispossession, and environmental degradation. Scholars across a range of fields employ precarity to understand
and analyze “politically induced condition[s] in which certain populations suffer from failing social and economic networks of support and become differentially exposed to injury, violence, and death” (Butler 2009,
This collection couples materialist and rhetorical analytic frameworks with interdisciplinary understandings
of precarity, thereby affording critical attention to how people, environments, and things structurally condition de/valuation and the “slow death" of particular peoples and populations (Berlant, 2007; Puar, 2010;
Cacho, 2012). We are particularly interested in cross-disciplinary contributions that emphasize a materialistrhetorical approach while also drawing on insights from scholars working in feminist and transnational
feminist studies, women of color feminisms, affect studies, critical disability studies, critical race studies,
medical humanities, sexuality studies, queer migration studies, human rights and humanitarian studies, human and cultural geography, environmental studies, Native American and indigenous studies, animal studies,
ethnic studies, among others.

Adela C. Licona

Christa Teston

We are interested in contributions that draw on materialist economic frameworks and engage critically with
scholarship in new materialisms. New materialisms posits that all things—human, non-human, and
extrahuman—intra-act to form the very conditions in and through which “human subjects are incorporated
into systems of value” (Riedner & Mahoney 2008, 10). Rhetorical scholarship in new materialisms takes seriously implications for how elements of a rhetorical situation bleed (Edbauer-Rice). Exploring and analyzing
precarious rhetorics through the lens of materiality requires attunement (Rickert) to material elements,
conditions, and vibrant matter that make possible human and non-human action and interaction.
Chapters in Precarious Rhetorics will model rhetorical analysis as a methodology (but might also employ specific qualitative and/or empirical methods) for elucidating (i) the institutional and material-discursive machinations of precarity, and/or (ii) activists’ strategic, material-discursive mobilizations as forms of political resistance to precarious conditions. This collection will also feature chapters that explore precarious rhetorics
in practice-oriented fields such as medicine, conflict resolution, public policy, and science—fields where the
concept of precarity is already in use but might be marshaled with differently critical and transformative

We welcome contributions with U.S., global, international, and transnational foci, and invite inquiries that, among more, mobilize
theories of precarity to...

enhance rhetorical inquiry into structured and structuring inequalities,

understand the de/humanizing rhetorics of il/legality,

challenge or enhance rhetorical approaches to materiality,

highlight how activists and social actors mobilize when resisting social-symbolic injustices (e.g., #BlackLiveMatter; die-in
demonstrations; #ayotzinapa),

animate anew classical and contemporary constructs in rhetorical theory (e.g., kairos; metis; techne),

influence how scholars and the biomedical industrial complex understand the body, health, and technology,

challenge how bodies and populations are managed by settler states, the prison industrial complex, border militarization and
securitization, and/or the cradle to prison pipeline,

critique green technologies, clean oil, and corporatized notions of sustainability (e.g. Monsanto),

understand and critique the displacement and disappearance of vulnerable communities (both human and non-human) due to
human activity and/or environmental racism,

understand statelessness and migrant crises,

critique material-discursive dimensions of economic instability and financialization (e.g., student/debt crises; market effects;
bank bailouts; austerity measures).

Deadline for 250-word chapter abstracts and short bio is February 1, 2016. Editors will review abstracts and invite full chapters
(8,000-12,000 words, including endnotes and references) to be submitted by July 1, 2016. All submissions should be in MS Word
format and sent to,
Wendy S. Hesford |