by S. Scott Graham
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
Paper: 978-0-8142-5771-5 | Cloth: 978-0-8142-1453-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8142-8077-5
Library of Congress Classification P301.G68 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.001

The emergence of rhetorical new materialisms and computational rhetorics has provoked something of an existential crisis within rhetorical studies. In Where’s the Rhetoric?, S. Scott Graham tackles this titular question by arguing first that scholarly efforts in rhetorical new materialisms and computational rhetoric be understood as coextensive with longstanding disciplinary commitments in rhetoric. In making this argument, Graham excavates the shared intellectual history of traditional rhetorical inquiry, rhetorical new materialisms, and computational rhetoric with particular emphasis on the works of Carolyn Miller, Kenneth Burke, and Henri Bergson.
Building on this foundation, Graham then argues for a more unified approach to contemporary rhetorical inquiry—one that eschews disciplinary demarcations between rhetoric’s various subareas. Specifically, Graham uses his unified field theory to explore 1) the rise of the “tweetorial” as a parascientific genre, 2) inventional practices in new media design, 3) statistical approaches to understanding biomedical discourse, and 4) American electioneering rhetorics. The book overall demonstrates how seemingly disparate intellectual approaches within rhetoric can be made to speak productively to one another in the pursuit of shared scholarly goals around questions of genre, media, and political discourse—thereby providing a foundation for imagining a more unified field.