A Counterhistory of Rhetorical Ecologies
In this essay, I argue that the ecological turn in rhetorical studies has produced spatiotemporal problems and that these problems are directly tied to the material disciplinary history of ecosystems ecology and its connections to the Anthropocene violence of nuclear colonialism. These spatiotemporal concerns result from rhetoric’s “ecological moment”—a kairotic framework that emphasizes flux but elides material histories. Building from rhetorical scholarship in decolonial historiography and place-based methods, I offer a counterhistory of ecology to demonstrate how our field can better engage with the dynamic narrative pasts that shape contemporary rhetorical ecological inquiry. Through this counterhistory, I provide a method for combating rhetoric’s spatiotemporal concerns, a framework I refer to as field histories, which aims to situate disciplinary practices in place and time by combining historiography and fieldwork.