Given our Philadelphia conference site, the theme “Re/framing Identifications” obviously invites a consideration of the framers and the framing of the U.S. Constitution in the late 18th century—that is, a consideration of the convergence of people and events that reframed colonies’ identifications with each other, with European, African and Asian nations as well as with North, Central and South American nations, including Native nations. But the theme “Re/framing Identifications” also invites a broader consideration of myriad historical and current instances when people, communities, and systems have elected and/or been forced to reframe their identifications. Kenneth Burke famously asserted the importance of identification to persuasion, but this conference pushes on Burke’s claim to ask: What may we learn about rhetoric if we focus on identification not just as a means to persuasion but as a place of perpetual reframing that affects who, how, and what can be thought, spoken, written, and imagined?
The theme “Re/framing Identifications” invites papers that ask: What exigencies trigger reframed identifications and disidentifications? What rhetorical tactics are employed in such reframings? How are such reframings experienced differently, even violently, depending on power differentials of parties involved? In these reframings, what is named and unnamed? What is possible and impossible? What is ethical and unethical? What is effective and ineffective? What are benefits and what are costs? What is gained and what is lost? What can and what cannot transfer to the rhetorics of our world today?
This theme offers conference attendees—who identify as scholars, teachers, students, and citizens across a wide range of ideologies—an opportunity not only to extend our scholarly knowledge of rhetorical histories, theories, tactics, technologies, geographies, and practices but also to extend our roles as public intellectuals by discussing how to name, analyze, evaluate, teach, and take action rhetorically on challenges facing our world, challenges that include but are not limited to debates about national/ transnational politics, global economies, immigration, the environment, energy, digital/social media and other technologies, disabilities, international women’s rights, sexual identity, ethnic divisions, racism, religion, academic freedom, and war.