RSA Book Award
The Rhetoric Society of America gives a Book Award each year to recognize an exemplary work in rhetorical studies–broadly construed–published by a Society member in the previous year. The Society welcomes nomination of books published in any branch of or approach to rhetorical studies.
In consultation with the RSA President and the Chair of the Committee on Committees and no later than December of the year prior to the award date, the Awards Steering Committee (ASC) Chair identifies six RSA members to serve on the book award selection committee.
- Unless all ASC members have a conflict of interest, the Chair of the book award selection committee will also be a member of the Awards Steering Committee.
- The other three members of the ASC should reflect the diversity of rhetorical studies with regard to rank, institution type, and identity categories.
To be eligible for the Book Award, a book must…
- Have at least one Society member as an author or co-author
- Have been published between August 1 and July 31 of the academic year under consideration as evidenced by the copyright date (e.g. August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021). For the 2024 book award, this means we are only looking at books published between August 1, 2022 – July 31, 2023. If you have a book that came/comes out in the Fall of 2023 you will have to wait until the next cycle.
Generally, second editions are not eligible for this award. Translations and edited collections are eligible.
Nominations are reviewed by the RSA Book Award selection committee, a sub-committee of the Awards Steering Committee, which recommends winners to the Board for final approval.
When more than 15 books are nominated for the Book Award, the selection committee will conduct a first round review to identify semi-finalists for the award. During this initial round, the committee will review each nominated book’s electronic front matter (e.g., the table of contents, introduction, and 1 body chapter). In this stage of review, the selection committee is divided into groups of 2 with each group reading ⅓ of the electronic front matter and ranking finalists. Groups will identify approximately 3 semi-finalists from their lists to forward to the full selection committee for review. Following production of the shortlist, the selection committee members will review the provided PDFs of the nominated books in their entirety.
The full selection committee reviews the semi-finalists (or the entire list if fewer than 15 books are nominated) to identify finalists and the award recipient. No more than 2 honorable mentions are permitted to be selected from the list of semi-finalists.
In reviewing nominees for the Book Award, the selection committee considers:
- The book’s contributions to rhetorical studies (e.g. expanding, synthesizing, correcting, and/or re-directing previous rhetorical scholarship)
- Effective, generative use of methodological and/or analytical tools
- Style, readability, and accessibility of the text
- The book’s contribution to the Society’s IDEA and/or social justice values through topic, content, citational choices, and/or framing.
- Potential to promote an understanding of rhetoric among scholars from other fields
- Potential to promote the general public’s understanding of rhetoric
Deadline for nominations: January 5, 2024 (for books published between August 1, 2022 and July 31, 2023)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST FOR THE BOOK AWARD
A member whose book is nominated for the RSA book award may not serve on the book award sub-committee. Members of the selection committee who feel that they are unable to be impartial in judging any nominee will recuse themselves from discussion of that nominee.
—Ratified by the RSA Board of Directors May 2004. Amended October 29, 2021.
Each nomination must include:
- A completed nomination form (forms may be submitted by the author, press, or a colleague). Nomination letters, if any, must be keyed to the award criteria.
- Electronic front matter consisting of the table of contents, introduction, and 1 body chapter for the book.
- An unlocked PDF of the nominated book in its entirety.
Please note: the RSA Book Award does not require a separate letter of nomination.
Please contact the society’s Awards Committee with any outstanding questions about the nomination, submission, or selection processes.
2023 Book Award
American Magnitude: Hemispheric Vision and Public Feeling in the United States
(Ohio State UP 2021)
2023 Book Award
Violent Inheritance: Sexuality, Land, Energy and the Making of the North American West
(California UP 2022)
Catalina M. OnÍs
2022 Book Award
Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico
(University of California Press, 2021)
2021 Book Award
Deportable and Disposable: Public Rhetoric and the Making of the ‘Illegal’ Immigrant
(Penn State University Press, 2021)
2020 Book Award
Lynching: Violence, Rhetoric, and American Identity
(University Press of Mississippi, 2019)
M. Remi Yergeau
2019 Book Award
Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness
(Duke University Press, 2018)
2018 Book Award
Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw: Animals, Language, Sensation
(University of Chicago Press, 2017)
2017 Book Award
The Homesick Phone Book: Addressing Rhetorics in the Age of Perpetual Conflict
(Southern Illinois University Press, 2016)
2016 Book Award
Civic Jazz: American Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along
(University of Chicago Press, 2015)
2015 Book Award
Autism and Gender: From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks
(Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2014)
2014 Book Award
Deliberative Acts: Democracy, Rhetoric, and Rights
(University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013)
Gerard A. Hauser
2013 Book Award
Prisoners of Conscience: Moral Vernaculars of Political Agency
(University of South Carolina Press)
2012 Book Award
Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion
2011 Book Award
Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions, Feminisms
(Duke UP, 2011)
Marjorie Curry Woods
2010 Book Award
Classroom Commentaries: Teaching the Poetria Nova Across Medieval and Renaissance Europe
(Ohio State University Press, 2010)
2009 Book Award
With Faith in the Works of Words
(Michigan State University Press.)
2008 Book Award
Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement
(Southern Illinois University Press.)
2007 Book Award
Toward a Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism
2006 Book Award
Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness
(Southern Illinois University Press)
2005 Book Award
The Lyceum and Public Culture in the Nineteenth-Century United States
2004 Book Award
Benjamin Franklin’s Vision of American Community: A Study in Rhetorical Iconology
2003 Book Award
Shaping Science with Rhetoric