Vol. 6.1: Embodied and Affective Rhetorics

The editors at Present Tense welcome you to Volume 6, Issue 1. This issue features a broad range of topics, but despite their diversity, the articles share a common thread of embodiment and affect, two key areas toward which much current rhetorical scholarship is directed. While explicit theories of embodiment and affect frame just a few of these essays, all of them reflect the centrality of bodies and emotion in social and political discourse.

In this issue, affect, embodiment, and rhetoric are examined in numerous texts: an essay about how gender and race are performed when artificial intelligence becomes embodied, a case study on questions of agency attributed to disembodied Twitterbots, an article exploring how affect informs internet communication in China, a discussion on the constituative rhetoric of artwork expressing the hopes and fears of Cuban refugee children, and an essay that seeks understandings of hospitality in a debate on gay rights. In all, these articles present significant reminders about the ways that embodiment and affect shape rhetorical practices and productions.

Volume 6.1 includes the following articles and review essay:

Patricia Fancher’s “Composing Artificial Intelligence: Performing Whiteness and Masculinity” uses feminist rhetorical theory to examine the gendered and racialized performance of embodiment in the computer chatterbot program known as Eugene Goostman.

Shannon Howard’s “The Crossing as Constitutional Rhetoric: Balsero Art and Identity from Cuban Refugee Camps and Implications for Cuban-American Relations” applies a theory of constituative rhetoric to analyze the artwork of Balsero children who made the difficult and perilous crossing from Cuba to the United States.

Beth Shirley and Jared S. Colton’s “The Moral Act of Attributing Agency to Nonhumans: What Can Horse ebooks tell us about Rhetorical Agency?” offers a case study of Horse ebooks, a Twitter account long thought to be generated by a Twitter spam bot and later revealed to be administered by humans. The authors utilize the Horse ebooks phenomenon to explore the ethics of non-human rhetorical agency.

James P. Zappen’s “Affective Rhetoric in China’s Internet Culture” argues that an affective rhetoric is inherent to China’s internet usage and functions “not so much to persuade as to promote solidarity and mutual support among people who have suffered their government’s long history of oppression.”

Eric Leake’s “The Dinner Table Debate and the Uses of Hospitality” employs Derrida’s theory of hospitality as a rhetorical concept to frame his discussion of a debate that took place in the home of Dan Savage, a gay rights advocate, between Savage himself and Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

Kelly A. Whitney reviews Kim Hensley’s “Writing Childbirth: Women’s Rhetorical Agency in Labor and Online.

The editors wish to thank our authors for their excellent scholarship, our reviewers for their time and feedback, and our many advisers who have guided us through the years. Most of all, thanks to our readers for supporting Present Tense.

Announcement: Present Tense has two openings for new editors: a Review Editor and a Multimedia Editor. More information and descriptions of how to apply to these positions can be found here: http://www.presenttensejournal.org/news/call-for-applications/


Megan Schoen, Managing Editor
Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder, Managing Editor
Cristyn L. Elder, Style Editor
Elizabeth L. Angeli, Annotated Bibliography Editor
Caitlan Spronk, Technical Editor
Joshua Prenosil, Business Editor
Don Unger, Social Media Editor
Jessica E. Clements, Style Editor
John Williford, Design Editor


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