Readings on Rhetoric and Performance

Stephen Olbrys Gencarella and Phaedra C. Pezzullo, Eds. State College, Pennsylvania: Strata Publishing, Inc., 2010.

This volume explores the new conceptual issues and cultural insights emerging at the intersection of rhetoric and performance studies. Twenty essays from the scholarly literature cast new light on communication practices and forms that educate and inspire people, create ideas and public controversy, and arouse political action. Introductions to the volume and each of the five sections guide student reading by identifying key themes and placing them in their social and scholarly contexts.

Reviewed in: Journal of Folklore Research, Text and Performance Quarterly

Table of Contents:


Introduction: Body Politics, Social Drama, and Public Culture  

Section One: Ethnographies of Rhetoric and Performance

Dwight Conquergood, “Ethnography, Rhetoric, and Performance” (1992) 

D. Soyini Madison, “Staging Fieldwork/Performing Human Rights” (2005)          

Ralph Cintrón, “Blacktop” (1997)

Christine Lynn Garlough, “On the Political Uses of Folklore: Performance and Grassroots Feminist Activism in West India”(2008)                

Section Two: Performative Writing and Recording  

Della Pollock, “Performing Writing” (1998)   

Shannon Jackson, “Performing White, Writing Performance” (1998) 

Stephen Hartnett, “Four Meditations on the Search for Grace Amidst Terror” (1999)        

Joshua Gunn, “Mourning Speech: Haunting and the Spectral Voices of Nine-Eleven” (2004)       

Section Three: Performative Acts 

Judith Butler, Peter Osborne and Lynne Segal, “Gender as Performance: An Interview with Judith Butler” (1994)         

John M. Sloop, “A Van with a Bar and a Bed”: Ritualized Gender Norms in the John/Joan Case” (2000)

E. Patrick Johnson, “‘Quare’ Studies, or (Almost) Everything I Know About Queer Studies I Learned from My Grandmother” (2001) 

Diana Taylor, “The Theater of Operations: Performing Nation-ness in the Public Sphere” (1997)            

Section Four: Publics as Rhetorical and Cultural Performances 

Richard Bauman and Patrick Feaster, “‘Fellow Townsmen and My Noble Constituents!’: Representations of Oratory on Early Commercial Recordings” (2005)   

Gerard Hauser, “Vernacular Dialogue and the Rhetoricality of Public Opinion” (1998)     

Phaedra C. Pezzullo, “Resisting ‘National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’: The Rhetoric of Counterpublics and their Cultural Performances” (2003)

Jeffrey A. Bennett, “Passing, Protesting, and the Arts of Resistance: Infiltrating the Ritual Space of Blood Donation” (2008)    

Section Five: Visualing Rhetoric and Performance  

Debra Hawhee. “The Visible Spoken: Rhetoric, Athletics, and the Circulation of Honor” (2005)             

Dana L. Cloud, “To Veil the Threat of Terror”: Afghan Women and the <Clash of Civilizations> in the Imagery of the U.S. War on Terror (2004)                      

Bernadette Marie Calafell and Fernando P. Delgado, “Reading Latina/o Images: Interrogating Americanos” (2004)    

Daniel C. Brouwer, “The Precarious Visibility Politics of Self-Stigmatization: The Case of HIV/AIDS Tattoos” (1998) 

Selected Works Cited and For Further Reading Lists        


About the Editors