#RSA16 Panel Proposal: “The Rhetoric of Lynching: America’s Reflection of Itself”

The conference proposal for #RSA16 (the Rhetoric Society in America conference) in Atlanta calls for rhetoric and change, or rather how rhetoric promotes change.

For this conference, I am interested in the rhetoric of lynching. When I say “lynching,” I do not mean it in a strictly historical sense because there have been notable lynchings even within the past year (a recent incident in South Carolina comes to mind). Also, many could argue that recent deaths, such as Mike Brown’s, represent a new form of lynching in the 21st century. Rather, I am interested in how various papers can talk about the cultural phenomenon of lynching–the act of people coming together to kill a person publicly. While I do see this in a racial context, I am open to any proposal that investigates lynchings in a historical, cultural, racial, etc context. Specifically, I am calling for papers that analyze how the history/presence of lynching still pervades culture and how public deaths today might reflect the public lynchings of Jim Crow. I think the overall panel proposal would argue that the act of lynching changes America’s perception of itself, in some sense. (We will work out the details for the panel proposal later haha).

For my own part, I will be analyzing cultural memory and the lack of a history on Latin@ lynchings, arguing that the lack of a Latin@ lynching history demonstrates society’s need for a black-white binary.

I am asking for a 200-250 word abstract by July 1st at midnight. Please email those to me at j.c.sanchez@tcu.edu. I will proofread and edit these proposals and will inform people on the panel’s progress soon after July 1st (since the deadline for RSA is July 15th). If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me or tweet me at @JChaseSanchez. I look forward to seeing this wonderful panel come together!

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