RSA News

FREE Webinars Offered During RSA Institute Week

September 30, 2022



Dear RSA Members,

The Co-Directors of the RSA Institute at Penn State cordially invite you to take part in one or more of the eight FREE virtual professional development opportunities they are offering in May. These webinars, detailed below, will be offered to everyone free of charge. You can review the list of webinars described below, note when they will be offered, and register via Zoom to receive the logon information. These webinars will not be recorded.

Remember, since the webinars are offered on three separate days, you can register for more than one!

If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Co-Directors Xiaoye You at or Jack Selzer at


Webinar 1 

Parenting in the ProfessionTuesday, May 23, 4:00-5:15 

Kyle King (Penn State); Kate Latterell (Penn State); Pamela VanHaitsma (Penn State); Brandon Erby (U of Kentucky); Sara DiCaglio (Texas A&M); Rachel Amelia Patterson (Penn State) 

In this interactive idea-sharing forum, each presenter-parent will comment for about five minutes before the conversation opens up to include questions and suggestions from other registrants. The presenters represent a wide range of parental circumstances and promise both practical and frank commentaries concerning certain kinds of parenting strategies as well as a consideration of institutional constraints and opportunities. 

Registration Link: 

Webinar 2 

Rhetoric for AllMonday, May 22, 4:00-5:15 

Maegan Parker Brooks (Willamette University), Brandon Inabinet (Furman), and Dave Tell (University of Kansas)

How can rhetoricians foster public dialogue? How can public facing projects further discussions of rhetoric more broadly and make knowledge more accessible? Where do academics find support for engaging in and reflecting upon this work? How can RSA help? In this session, the leaders will provide an overview of the fraught contemporary context surrounding public humanities work, will offer background about the Rhetoric for All initiative, and (with the participants) will collectively imagine where we might go from here.  

Registration Link: 

Webinar 3 

Teaching Rhetorical AnalysisMonday, May 22, 4:00-5:15 

Jack Selzer (Penn State, retired) 

This session is designed as an exchange of ideas among RSA members who are interested in effective ways of teaching students the art of rhetorical analysis. The moderator, who has published essays and textbooks featuring rhetorical analysis pedagogies, has his own suggestions (naturally!) but the emphasis will be on sharing ideas, approaches, and suggested readings. 

Registration Link: 

Webinar 4 

Voices of Democracy: A Resource for Civic and Rhetorical EducationWednesday, May 24, 4:00-5:15 

Michael Hogan (Penn State, retired) and Shawn Perry-Giles (Maryland) 

Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Voices of Democracy (VOD) is a pioneering digital humanities initiative that has evolved into one of the most widely used educational resources on the Web. Providing unabridged and authenticated texts and curriculum resources for the study of great speeches in US history, VOD is designed primarily for undergraduate teachers and students in rhetoric, politics, and history: it includes accessible scholarly essays, along with teaching and learning materials and bibliographies of readings, and audio-visual and online resources. In this webinar, participants will learn both how to become a contributor to VOD and how to use the site’s various resources in the classroom.    

Registration Link: 

Webinar 5 

Social Scientific Perspectives on Deliberative DemocracyMonday, May 22, 4:15-5:15 [note the special time for this offering] 

John Gastil (Penn State) 

This presentation will describe some of the different approaches to studying deliberation common in the social sciences. Examples will include qualitative case studies, lab and field experiments, large-sample surveys, and database analyses. The purpose of the presentation is to give participants a better sense of what empirical research might be relevant to their own studies on deliberation, as well as the kinds of collaborations that are possible among teams that bravely bridge the gap between rhetoric and social science. 

Registration Link: 

Webinar 6 

Display Rhetoric: Ancient Beginnings and Contemporary CasesWednesday, May 24, 4:00-5:15 

Katya Haskins (Penn State) 

This webinar reviews the classical Greek origins of epideictic (display) rhetoric and addresses several contemporary examples that demonstrate the relevance of epideictic to students of visual and material culture.   

Registration Link: 

Webinar 7 

Crip Writing: Making Meaning in Disability and DecolonizationTuesday, May 23, 4:00-5:15 

Suresh Canagarajah (Penn State) 

This talk will begin with the speaker’s cancer diagnosis and resulting impairments to narrate how they changed his writing practice and helped him rediscover his ancient South Asian literacies. He will then demonstrate from his research and teaching how approaches to composition can embrace nonnormative communicative practices and cultivate the ethical dispositions for distributed meaning making. He will draw from disability and decolonization theorists to shift writing proficiency beyond individual mastery, cognitive efficiency, transparent meanings, and shared norms.  

Registration Link: 

Webinar 8 

Tropos, Ethos, Xarakter: Harry Shearer’s Character Machine. Wednesday, May 24, 4:00-5:15 

Rosa Eberly (Penn State) and Cheyenne Zaremba (Penn State) 

Participants will learn about three ancient conceptions of character — tropos (Isocrates), ethos (Aristotle), and xarakter (Theophrastus) — and how they comport with contemporary theories of developmental psychology across the lifespan. Attendees will also be introduced to the Library of Congress archive of Harry Shearer’s long-running weekly radio program Le Show, curated by Eberly. From Shearer’s work as a child actor on the Jack Benny Program, through two stints on Saturday Night Live and role as pod-imprisoned bass player Derek Smalls in This Is Spinal Tap, Shearer has perfected the creation of memorable charaters. On Le Show, Shearer’s capacity for character-creation combines with polyphonic narration, reliable and not, culminating in a cornucopia of material for scholars of rhetoric, sound, character, digital humanities, and media history. 

Registration Link: 

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