All Awards

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.

Selection Committee

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.

Review Process

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)


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.

Award Recipients

Christa Olson

2023 Book Award

American Magnitude: Hemispheric Vision and Public Feeling in the United States
(Ohio State UP 2021)

E Cram

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)

Lisa Flores

2021 Book Award

Deportable and Disposable: Public Rhetoric and the Making of the ‘Illegal’ Immigrant
(Penn State University Press, 2021)

Ersula ore

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)

debra Hawee

2018 Book Award

Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw: Animals, Language, Sensation
(University of Chicago Press, 2017)

cynthia haynes

2017 Book Award

The Homesick Phone Book: Addressing Rhetorics in the Age of Perpetual Conflict
(Southern Illinois University Press, 2016)

Gregory Clark

2016 Book Award

Civic Jazz: American Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along
(University of Chicago Press, 2015)

Jordynn Jack

2015 Book Award

Autism and Gender: From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks
(Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2014)

Arabella Lyon

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)

jeanne fahnestock

2012 Book Award

Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion
(Oxford, 2011)

Wendy Hesford

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)

erik doxtader

2009 Book Award

With Faith in the Works of Words
(Michigan State University Press.)

linda flower

2008 Book Award

Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement
(Southern Illinois University Press.)

sharon crowley

2007 Book Award

Toward a Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism

Krista Ratcliffe

2006 Book Award

Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness
(Southern Illinois University Press)

Angela Ray

2005 Book Award

The Lyceum and Public Culture in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Lester Olson

2004 Book Award

Benjamin Franklin’s Vision of American Community: A Study in Rhetorical Iconology

Leah Ceccarelli

2003 Book Award

Shaping Science with Rhetoric