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RSA 2020 Virtual Awards ... Announcing the 2020 Fellows Award and Yoos Award

Welcome to the final day of the RSA 2020 Virtual Awards Ceremony! Thank you for joining us this week to celebrate some of the amazing work that RSA members do. If you missed any of the videos, you can catch up on the recipients of the Hauser, Outstanding Student Chapter, Geisler, Early Career, Kneupper, Dissertation, and Book Awards by clicking on each award name.

Today we announced the recipients of RSA’s two highest awards: admission to the Rhetoric Society of America Fellows and the George E. Yoos Award. You can find the videos here and here. Keep reading to learn a bit more about the awards and the awardees.

2020 Class of RSA Fellows

Fellows of the Rhetoric Society of America have produced scholarship in rhetorical studies that is remarkable for its quality and quantity; they have participated in the work of RSA, whether on the Board, on its committees, or in other capacities; and they have worked to increase the visibility and influence of rhetorical studies through public lectures, teaching, advocacy, or other activities. Every even-year awards cycle (the Conference year), RSA may appoint up to three new fellows.

The 2020 Class of RSA Fellows includes three distinguished scholars: Ralph Cintron, Debra Hawhee, and Andrea Lunsford.

Ralph Cintron is Associate Professor of English and Latino and Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of Angels’ Town: Chero Ways, Gang Life, and Rhetorics of the Everyday (1997) and Democracy as Fetish (2020). Cintron served on RSA’s board of directors from 2006-2009 and has facilitated multiple workshops and seminars for the Society. His scholarship, public work, teaching, and contributions to the field have all been extraordinary. Nominators celebrated the urgency and influence of Cintron’s scholarship. One wrote, for example, “Cintron’s work exemplifies how engaged and rigorous scholarship can be brought to bear on the major problems defining our time” and “chief among Cintron’s contributions is the way he brings to life and makes salient incredibly dense political and economic theory through his masterful prose and storytelling.” Nominators also cited his “deep feeling for and humane attitude toward his fellow creatures,” his “evident generosity toward scholars of all ages,” his “attention to marginalized voices and communities,” and “his investment in mentoring.” The selection committee (Lisa Corrigan, Bryan McCann, Christa Olson, & Ersula Ore) determined that Ralph Cintron represented the best of rhetorical studies and that his work—as a scholar, leader, and mentor—more than merited his designation as an RSA Fellow.

Debra Hawhee is McCourtney Professor of Civic Deliberation at the Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece (2004), Moving Bodies: Kenneth Burke at the Edges of Language (2009), and Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw: Animals, Languages, Sensation (2017). In addition to numerous leadership positions in the wider field of rhetorical studies, Hawhee has served RSA as Membership Officer (2005-09) and as chair of the Publications Committee (2010-14). In the latter capacity, she helped inaugurate the RSA book series at Penn State University Press. She has led multiple seminars and workshops for the RSA Institute and was RSQ Associate Editor for Special Issues from 2009-2014. She was Associate Director of the 2013 RSA Institute and joins the RSA Board of Directors next month. One letter writer declared, “Debra Hawhee has not only met the criteria for RSA Fellows, she has become a model for our membership—someone who does the unsung work of the citizen professor while producing magnificent, influential scholarship that sings publicly.” Another commented that Hawhee’s selection as a Fellow “will add luster to the Fellows and will constitute well deserved recognition of her excellence in scholarship, teaching, and service.” The selection committee agreed that Debra Hawhee’s scholarly accomplishments, her long record of leadership, and her extensive mentorship of emerging rhetorical scholars exemplify the character of an RSA Fellow.

Andrea Lunsford is Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor of English and Bass Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. Her books, edited collections, and textbooks (not to mention dozens of articles and chapters) have shaped rhetorical studies in profound ways and have forged new pathways in feminist rhetoric, collaboration, composition pedagogy and beyond. Lunsford has served RSA frequently and consistently. She was a member of the Board of Directors from 1987 to 1990, has been a regular presence on the editorial board of RSQ, gave the keynote address at the Society’s 50th anniversary conference, and co-chaired the 2003 “summit” of the Alliance of Rhetoric Societies at Northwestern University. In that last role, Lunsford was a vocal advocate for the “pluralization of rhetoric’s tradition,” a task she has pursued in multiple ways throughout her career. “For probably longer than anyone,” one nominator writes, “Andrea Lunsford has been the most ecumenical of RSA members: she has insisted on challenging—and complementing—the historical tradition with contemporary practice, the patriarchal and the male in our history with the feminist and the female, theoretical musings with pedagogical engagement, the white Western line of descent with multiple global traditions, the pre-modern and the modern with the postmodern” Another concludes “In the United States, the name ‘Andrea Lunsford’ is synonymous with the best of everything our discipline has to offer—scholarship, service, and teaching.” The selection committee concluded that Andrea Lunsford more than merits status as an RSA Fellow. Indeed, it is a recognition already too-long delayed.


2020 George E. Yoos Award

The George E. Yoos Distinguished Service Award is presented biennially to a member of the Society who has made significant and sustained contributions to RSA and to the field. The award is named in honor of George Yoos, a founding member of RSA, who served as founding editor of Rhetoric Society Quarterly from 1975-1986 and as Executive Secretary from 1986-1995. Winners of the George E. Yoos Award, which automatically confers the status of Fellow, meet the criteria for Rhetoric Society Fellows and have made sustained contributions that have improved the Society.  

The recipient of the 2020 Yoos Award is Shirley Wilson Logan, Professor Emerita of English at the University of Maryland. Logan’s monographs, We are Coming and Liberating Language, and her edited anthology With Pen and Voice are pathbreaking contributions to rhetorical historiography. Her books and articles shaped the fields of African-American and feminist rhetorical historiography. One nomination letter notes that Logan “helped to change the landscape of our field” and make possible work in rhetorical studies that would have been unimaginable without her. As co-editor of the Southern Illinois University Press series “Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms,” Logan provided concrete pathways for others to follow in extending feminist rhetorical history and advanced the place of feminist work within rhetorical studies. Logan has been a leader in our field in multiple capacities across many societies. She served as president of the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition from 1998-2000, as Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication in 2003, as a member of the executive committee of the MLA Division on the History of Rhetoric and Composition from 2000 to 2005, and as a member of the RSA Board of Directors from 2014 to 2017. She helped form the Alliance of Rhetoric Societies and served as RSA’s representative to ARS for a time. As one of her nominators notes, “Prof. Logan has been a leading figure in shaping RSA’s course at the start of the 21st century.” Another concludes, “It takes enormous persistence, energy, and devotion to rhetorical studies to sustain such a record of scholarly productivity and heroic service.” The selection committee (Lisa Corrigan, Bryan McCann, Christa Olson, and Ersula Ore) determined that such devotion, intellect, and leadership make Shirley Wilson Logan an ideal recipient of the George E. Yoos Award.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the 2020 awards process. Nominators, letter writers, nominees, awardees, selection committees, the RSA Board and Officers, and Kathie Cesa all contributed to the process. This week’s virtual award ceremony wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Congratulations, again, to all the awardees.

Christa Olson

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