The Social Media Committee for the 2016 Cultural Rhetorics Conference (from left to right), WRAC Graduate Students Phil Bratta, Naomi Sweo, Kristi Wiley, Santos Ramos, and Les Hutchinson, with Dr. Hidalgo and Associate Writing Center Director Dianna Baldwin.
Michigan State University will host the Cultural Rhetorics Conference, which runs from Friday, September 30 through Sunday October 2, 2016 in East Lansing. The conference brings together a diverse group of scholars, artists, speakers, and students from across the country for presentations and discussions about the intersection of rhetoric and culture.
The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) is heavily involved in the organization and planning of the event. Assistant professor Alexandra Hidalgo serves as one of the co-chairs in charge of the conference, and has led the teams in charge of social media and the website for the conference. The conference is a collaborative effort between the Cultural Rhetorics Consortium and the department.
Hannah Espinoza, a second-year PhD student in WRAC and another conference co-chair, expressed hope that the conference’s ability to draw faculty from diverse institutions shows that it is continuing to grow. She is excited for the many panel discussions and presentations that will be happening throughout the weekend. Along with the academic presentations, the Lincoln room in the Kellogg Center will also host workshops and interactive exhibits.
In addition to Hidalgo and Espinoza, the conference has four other co-chairs: Terese Guinsatao-Monberg, Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, Raúl Sánchez, Erin Schaefer. Like Hannah, Erin is a second-year Ph.D. students in WRAC. The WRAC team has collaborated with the three faculty co-chairs from outside the department: Terese teaches in RCAH (MSU's Residential College of Arts and Humanities), Andrea, who was a former PhD student in WRAC, teaches at Bowling Green State University, and Raúl teaches at the University of Florida. This diverse group worked together in order to get the conference off the ground, with each co-chair overseeing different components of the conference and worked together to manage the general aspects of putting the conference together.
Professor Hidalgo is looking forward to the impact the Cultural Rhetorics Conference will have. “All these voices, ideas, ways of thinking and seeing, and ways of understanding the world coming together in one place over three days is bound to be transformative and powerful in many ways,” she said.
The conference will open a unique space for critical thinking and reflection over culture, especially through the lenses of meaning-making and storytelling, according to Espinoza. The conference was first held at MSU in 2014, and was co-chaired by WRAC Department Chair Malea Powell and PhD Student Phil Bratta. That original conference saw participants from around the world come to MSU to talk, share, learn, and participate in conversations about cultural rhetorics.
The conference begins with a free art exhibition and reception, which is open to the public, at REACH Art Studio from 6:00pm-8:00pm on Friday, September 30. The remainder of the conference, which will take place at MSU's Kellogg Center, requires payment and registration.
Written by Rachel Nanzer for WRAC