Fourth bulletin – University of Copenhagen

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Fourth bulletin, October 8, 2012

This is the fourth bulletin of the fourth biennial Rhetoric in Society Conference to be held January 15-18, 2013 at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

This time we want to update you on the planning of the conference, the three keynote speakers, plus some other practical issues, mainly about your accommodation options while in Copenhagen.

We also want to share a message from the Rhetoric Society of Europe, an organization that has grown from the conference series on Rhetoric in Society and which will have its founding meeting at the RiS4 conference, on Friday, January 18, 2013.

Keynote presentations

As earlier announced there will be three keynote presentations at the conference. In addition to being outstanding scholars, the three keynote speakers have been selected with an eye to the cross-disciplinary nature of the conference.

Regrettably, Professor Michael Billig of Loughborough University, UK has had to cancel his participation. We are, however, very pleased to be able to announce that Professor Karen Tracy of the University of Colorado has agreed to appear as a keynote speaker at the conference.

Keynote speakers featured are thus:

David Zarefsky, Northwestern University, US (Rhetoric)

David Zarefsky’s research interests focus on argumentation, Presidential rhetoric, and the history and criticism of U.S. public discourse, with a special focus on the pre-Civil War period and on the 1960s. His publications (counting several books and over 70 scholarly articles) span topics such as the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the rhetoric of the war on poverty during the Johnson administration and American public discourse (both historical and contemporary), argumentation, rhetorical criticism, and public speaking.

Here is a sample of some of Professor Zarefsky’s recent publications:

  • "Making the Case for War: Colin Powell at the United Nations," Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 10 (Summer 2007), 275-302.
  • "Strategic Maneuvering through Persuasive Definitions: Implications for Dialectic and Rhetoric," Argumentation, 20 (2006), 399-416.
  • "The U.S. and the World: Unexpressed Premises of American Exceptionalism," Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (Amsterdam: Sic Sat, 2007), 1567-1571.
  • Sizing Up Rhetoric, co-edited with Elizabeth Benacka (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2008).
  • Public Speaking: Strategies for Success, 5th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2008).

Peter Dahlgren, University of Lund, Sweden (Media Studies)

Professor Dahlgren’s work pivots around notions of the public sphere and the democratic character of late modern society. Professor Dahlgren is especially interested in citizenship as a form of identity, and with the theme of a 'civic culture', both as an empirical and a normative referent, set in relation to the transformations of political life. He is generally interested in the rise of extra-parliamentarian initiatives and redefinitions of 'the political'. The latest focus of his research concerns has been to apply these perspectives to the Internet.

Professor Dahlgren’s recent publications include:

  • "Reinventing Public Service Communication: European Broadcasters and Beyond," Sage: Culture & Society, 34:3 (2012), 385-387.
  • "L’Espace public contemporain," European Journal of Communication, 27:1 (2012), 87-90.
  • "The Troubling Evolution of Journalism," Changing Faces of Journalism - Tabloidization, Technology and Truthiness (London: Routledge, 2009), 146-161.
  • Young Citizens and New Media: Learning for Democratic Participation (London: Routledge, 2007).

Karen Tracy, University of Colorado at Boulder, US (Discourse analysis)

Karen Tracy is a discourse analyst who studies problems in justice, education-, and governance-linked institutions. Through close study of a communication practice, in combination with interviews of participants, and analysis of documents (e.g., minutes, web pages, legal opinions), she seeks to build a picture of the problems, conversational strategies, and ideals of good conduct in particular communication practices. She is currently at work on the dispute in US society about extending the institution of marriage to same-sex couples.

Professor Tracy’s recent publications include:

  • Challenges of ordinary democracy: A case study in deliberation and dissent (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012).
  • "A facework system of minimal politeness: Oral argument in appellate court," Journal of Politeness Research: Language, Behaviour, Culture, 7 (2011), 123-145.
  • "What’s in a name?: Stance markers in oral argument about marriage laws," Discourse & Communication, 5:1 (2011), 1-23.
  • ""Reasonable hostility": Its usefulness and limitation as a norm for public hearings," Informal Logic, 31:3 (2011), 171-190.
  • The prettier doll: Rhetoric, discourse, and ordinary democracy, co-edited with J. P. McDaniel and B. E. Gronbeck (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama, 2007).
  • Everyday talk: Building and reflecting identities (New York: Guilford, 2002).

Rhetoric Society of Europe

The Rhetoric in Society conference series of which the upcoming conference will be the fourth, has illustrated the fact that there are many scholars in Europe and beyond with an interest in rhetoric and the fact that there is no easy way for them to know about each other or stay in touch. The Rhetoric Society of Europe has sprung from the conference series to remedy this and here is a presentation from the Society:

“The Rhetoric Society of Europe (RSE) is an organization for European researchers and teachers working on rhetoric as a theory and a practice. The purpose of RSE is to promote and advance the research, study, and teaching of rhetoric in Europe, and to facilitate professional cooperation between its members. As the RSE also wishes to facilitate international cooperation, we welcome members from all parts of the world.

The RSE website is a forum where researchers can meet and exchange ideas about their work. The website provides information about rhetoric programs in Europe, new publications and conferences. Visit the RSE website here:

The immediate tasks for RSE are to 1) consolidate its status as a rhetoric society that provides the organizational basis for the bi-annual conference Rhetoric in Society, and 2) establish a Journal for European rhetoric research.

The formal constitution of the RSE will take place during the RiS4 conference in Copenhagen, January 2013.”

We encourage all to participate in the RSE meeting during the conference.

Practical issues

Paper proposals

At the deadline for submissions we sent the many proposals in double peer review, and we are happy to report that approximately 90 proposals were selected for presentation at the conference.

Presenters have either been contacted directly by us or by the chair of the panel they participate in.

In coming bulletins you will receive information on how to prepare your presentation.


We have secured offers from five hotels of different types, some of them within walking distance from the university where the conference takes place. At the conference website you can find a link that takes you to a list of accommodation options and explains how to make reservations:

Registration and payment

For some time we have been working on a convenient way to set up payment for the conference. In this we are dependent on the University of Copenhagen’s regulations. Due to circumstances outside our control we do not yet have all the relevant information. We will send out another bulletin with instructions about how to pay for your participation in the conference as soon as possible.

Best regards,

The conference planners

Mette Bengtsson, Mark Herron, Christian Kock, Sune Holm Pedersen, Rasmus Rønlev, and Lisa Villadsen