Critical Rhetoric| (Participatory) Critical Rhetoric: Critiqued and Reconsidered

Aaron Hess, Samantha Senda-Cook, Danielle Endres, Michael K. Middleton


The turn toward field-based and participatory approaches in rhetoric extended and challenged McKerrow’s earliest formulation of critical rhetoric. Reflecting on recent decolonial, antiracist, feminist, and queer critiques of critical rhetoric—and participatory critical rhetoric by extension—we look to the ways that a participatory orientation invites the rhetorical critic to enter into conversation with new perspectives and epistemologies. We contend that this incommensurability of critical rhetoric with many of these critical provocations produces a set of tensions that can sensitize critics to the complex topographies of power that underlie our scholarship, the assumptions we bring to it, and the ends toward which we direct it. A participatory orientation can bring field critics in conversation with those who suffer under colonial logics, thereby challenging the roots and biases found within rhetorical scholarship. Finally, in the spirit of reflexivity, we step back from this conversation to yield space for additional voices in the conversation about participatory approaches to rhetoric.


participatory critical rhetoric, decolonial, field rhetoric, critical rhetoric

Full Text: