Notes: Catherine Chaput, “Rhetorical Circulation in Late Capitalism: Neoliberalism and the Overdetermination of Affective Energy”

Chaput, Catherine. (2010). Rhetorical circulation in late capitalism: Neoliberalism and the overdetermination of affective energy.” Philosophy and Rhetoric, 43(1), 1–25.


Chaput critiques the situated/situation premise within rhetoric as enabling neoliberalist ideologies to operate uninterrogated within them and poses rhetorical circulation, in its insistence on moving between spaces, as an alternative.

Keywords: affect, capital, materiality, neoliberalism, rhetoric, rhetorical theory, theory


“Conceptualizing discursive practices as a form of labor rather than a form of political signifi cation sidesteps anxiety about well-chosen language and emphasizes the life-affi rming activity involved in deciphering issues, inventing paths through those issues, and communicating new ideas to others” (p. 2).

“Put differently, security converts human beings into self-entrepreneurs whose freely chosen education, work, and leisure decisions operate instinctually according to the economics of risk and reward. Such a schema no longer enforces appropriate subjectivities (normalization) but regulates the point at which individual actions impinge on the statistically favored rates of population success (normation)” (p. 5).

“From this perspective, rhetoric is not an isolated instance or even a series of instances but a circulation of exchanges, the whole of which govern our individual and collective decisions. Understanding rhetoric as circulating within an overdetermined ecological space helps illuminate the biopolitical reaches of contemporary capital, while the social connectivity of aff ective energy produced through communicative labor helps explain the persuasive capacity of these reaches” (p. 8).

“The rhetorical  situation, that is, makes rhetoricians comfortable within the disciplinary status quo of rhetorical production understood as transpiring within  discrete sociohistorical, political, and cultural situations. Th e negative  aff ectivity of the rhetorical situation— its organization and  interpretation of life structures in terms of fi xed origins—stems, in part, from its reproduction of philosophical divisions: materiality and consciousness; reason and emotion; objects and subjects; past and future; the situated place and the open space” (p. 18).

“In the rhetorical circulation model, success derives from a better understanding of diff erently situated positions and an enhanced ability to engage diff erently situated people, processes that open dialogue rather than win debates” (p. 19).

Notes: Vincent Geoghegan, “An Anti-humanist Utopia?” in Peter Thompson and Slavoj Žižek The Privatization of Hope: Ernst Bloch and the Future of Utopia

Geoghegan, Vincent. (2013). An anti-humanist utopia?. in Peter Thompson and Slavoj Žižek (eds.) The privatization of hope: Ernst Bloch and the future of utopia. Durham: Duke University Press, 37-60.


Geoghegan explores the relationship between subject, nature, and natural subject in Bloch (by way of Bacon and Burke) to ask after an anti-humanist utopia.

Keywords: capitalism, neoliberalism, philosophy, posthumanism, theory, utopianism


“Bloch’s outline of a possible new relationship between humanity and nature draws upon a critique of the existing relationship in capitalism and a personal canon of historical conceptions—mythological, religious, philosophical, artistic—of a natural subject” (p. 45).

“The historical figure of a natural ‘subject’ is deemed to be both a semi-mythologized expression of this dynamic materialism and a prefiguring of an authentic natural subjectivity lying in the future” (p. 45).

“A distinction (admittedly polemical) can be made, whereby a self-critical can be distinguished from a self-loathing utopian anti-humanism” (p. 49).

2017 Summer Reading List (so far…)

4/24-5/5: Ahmed, Sara. (2017). Living a feminist life. Durham: Duke University Press.

4/24: Sewell, John I. (2014). “Becoming rather than being”: Queer’s double-edged discourse as deconstructive practice. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 38(4), 291-307.

4/25: Morris, Charles E., & Sloop, John M. (2017). Other lips, whither kisses? Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 14(2), 182.

4/26: Samek, Alyssa A. & Theresa A. Donofrio. (2013). “Academic drag” and the performance of the critical personae: An exchange on sexuality, politics, and identity in the academy. Women’s Studies in Communication, 36(1), 28-55.

4/27: Fox, Ragan. (2013). “Homo”-work: Queering academic communication and communicating queer in academia. Text and Performance Quarterly, 33(1), 58-76.

4/28: Bessette, Jean. (2016). Queer rhetoric in situ. Rhetoric Review, 35(2), 148-164.

4/29: Pamela VanHaitsma. (2016). Gossip as rhetorical methodology for queer and feminist historiography. Rhetoric Review. 35(2), 135-147.

4/30: Horst, Heather & Daniel Miller. (2012). Normativity and materiality: A view from digital anthropology. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, (145), 103-111.

5/1: Muñoz, José Esteban. (2000). Feeling brown: Ethnicity and affect in Ricardo Bracho’s “The Sweetest Hangover (And Other STDs)”. Theatre Journal, 52(1), 67-79.

5/2: Chávez, Karma. (2015). The precariousness of homonationalism: The queer agency of terrorism in post-9/11 rhetoric. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 2(3), 32–58.

5/3: Yep, Gust A. (2002). From homophobia and heterosexism to heteronormativity: Toward the development of a model of queer interventions in the university classroom. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 6(3-4), 163-76.

5/4: VanHaitsma, Pamela. (2014). Queering the language of the heart: Romantic letters, genre instruction, and rhetorical practice. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 44.1, 6–24.

5/5: Villarejo, A. (2005). Tarrying with the normative: Queer theory and black history. Social Text, 23.3–4, 69–84.

5/6-5/19: Thompson, Peter & Slavoj Žižek (eds.). (2013). The privatization of hope: Ernst Bloch and the future of utopia. Durham: Duke University Press.

5/6: Portolano, Marlana. (2012). The rhetorical function of utopia: An exploration of the concept of utopia in rhetorical theory. Utopian Studies, 23(1), 113-141.

5/7: Happe, Kelly E. (2015). Parrhēsia, biopolitics, and occupy. Rhetoric & Philosophy, 48(2), 211-223.

5/8: Newman, Eric H. (2015). Ephemeral utopias: Queer cruising, literary form, and diasporic imagination in claude McKay’s home to Harlem and banjo. Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, 38(1), 167-241.

5/9: Stempfhuber, Martin & Michael Liegl. (2016). Intimacy mobilized: Hook-up practices in the location-based social network Grindr. Österreichische Zeitschrift Für Soziologie, 41(1), 51-70.

5/10: Harvey, David O. (2011). Calculating risk: Barebacking, the queer male subject, and the De/formation of identity politics. Discourse, 33(2), 156-183.

5/11: Chaput, Catherine. (2010). Rhetorical circulation in late capitalism: Neoliberalism and the overdetermination of affective energy.” Philosophy and Rhetoric, 43(1), 1–25.

5/12: Endres, Danielle, and Samantha Senda-Cook. (2011). Location matters: The rhetoric of place in protest. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 97(3), 257–82.

5/13: Walker, Paul. (2017). Let’s disagree (to agree): Queering the rhetoric of agreement in writing assessment. Composition Forum, 35. Web.

5/14: Thieme, Katja, & Shurli Makmillen. (2017). A principled uncertainty: Writing studies methods in contexts of indigeneity. College Composition and Communication, 68(3), 466.

5/15: Bacha, Jeffrey A. (2016). The physical mundane as topos: Walking/dwelling/using as rhetorical invention. College Composition and Communication, 68(2), 266.

5/16: Stormer, Nathan, & Bridie McGreavy. (2017). Thinking ecologically about rhetoric’s ontology: Capacity, vulnerability, and resilience. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 50(1), 1-25.

5/17: Wingrove, Elizabeth. (2016). blah Blah WOMEN Blah Blah EQUALITY Blah Blah DIFFERENCE. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 49(4), 408-419.

5/18: Daniel, James Rushing. (2016). The event that we are: Ontology, rhetorical agency, and Alain Badiou. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 49(3), 254–276.

5/19: Bowen, Lauren M. (2017). The limits of hacking composition pedagogy. Computers and Composition, 43, 2017, 1-14.

5/20-5/28: Cooper, Davina. (2014). Everyday utopias: The conceptual life of promising spaces. Durham: Duke University Press.

5/20: Vallerand, Olivier. (2013). Home is the place we all share, Journal of Architectural Education, 67:1, 64-75.

5/21: Jennex, Craig. (2013). Diva worship and the sonic search for queer utopia. Popular Music and Society, 36(3), 343-359.

5/22: Faris, Michael J. (2014). Coffee shop writing in a networked age. College Composition and Communication, 66(1), 21.

5/23: Dean, Tim. (2015). Mediated intimacies: Raw sex, truvada, and the biopolitics of chemoprophylaxis. Sexualities, 18(1-2), 224-246.

5/24: Heard, Matthew. (2013). Tonality and ethos. Philosophy and Rhetoric, 46(1), 44-64.

5/25: Scott, Tony and Lil Brannon. (2013). Democracy, struggle, and the praxis of assessment. College Composition and Communication, 65(2), 273-298.

5/26: Walker, Paul. (2013). Composition’s akrasia: The devaluing of intuitive expertise in writing assessment. enculturation, 15.

5/27: Bhattacharya, Kakali. (2007). Consenting to the consent form: What are the fixed and fluid understandings between the researcher and the researched? Qualitative Inquiry, 13(8), 1095–115.

5/28: Cole, Daniel. (2011). Writing removal and resistance: Native American rhetoric in the composition classroom. College Composition and Communication, 63(1), 122–44.

5/29-6/11: Butler, Judith, Zeynep Gambetti, & Leticia Sabsay (eds.). (2016). Vulnerability in resistance. Durham: Duke University Press.

5/29: Schotten, C. Heike. (2015). Homonationalist futurism: “Terrorism” and (other) queer resistance to empire. New Political Science, 37(1), 71-90.

5/30: Migraine-George, Thérèse & Ashley Currier. (2016). Querying queer African archives: methods and movements. WSQ: Womens Studies Quarterly, 44(3&4), 190-207.

5/31: Adams, Heather, Jeremy Engels, Michael J. Faris, Debra Hawhee, & Mark Hlavacik. (2012). Deliberation in the midst of crisis. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 12(4), 342-345.

6/1: Stormer, Nathan. (2016). Rhetoric’s diverse materiality: Polythetic ontology and genealogy. Review of Communication, 16(4), 299-316.

6/2: Pflugfelder, Ehren H. (2015). Rhetoric’s new materialism: From micro-rhetoric to microbrew. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 45(5), 441.

6/3: Agnew, Lois P. (2015) The Materiality of Language: Gender, Politics, and the University. Rhetoric Review, 34(1), 106-110.

6/4: Burnett, Cathy, Guy Merchant, Kate Pahl & Jennifer Rowsell. (2014). The (im)materiality of literacy: The significance of subjectivity to new literacies research. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(1), 90-103.

6/5: Richardson, Timothy. (2014). The authenticity of what’s next. Enculturation, 17.

6/6: Yergeau, Melanie, Elizabeth Brewer, Stephanie Kirschbaum, Sushil K. Oswal, Margaret Price, Cynthia L. Self, et al. (2013). Multimodality in motion: Disability and kairotic spaces. Kairos, 18(1).

6/12-6/17: Rand, Erin. (2014). Reclaiming queer: Activist and academic rhetorics of resistance. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

6/12: Rand, Erin J. (2013). Queer critical rhetoric bites back. Western Journal of Communication, 77(5), 533-537.

6/13: Bessette, Jean. (2013). An archive of anecdotes: Raising lesbian consciousness after the Daughters of Bilitis. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 43(1), 22-45.

6/14: West, Isaac. (2013). Queer generosities. Western Journal of Communication, 77(5), 538-541.

6/15: Ahlm, Jody. (2017). Respectable promiscuity: Digital cruising in an era of queer liberalism. Sexualities, 20(3), 364-379.

6/16: Nichols, Garrett W. (2013). The quiet country closet: Reconstructing a discourse for closeted rural experiences.” Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society 3.1.

6/17: Scott, J. Blake. (2003). Extending rhetorical-cultural analysis: Transformations of home HIV testing. College English, 65(4), 349-367.

6/18-6/23: Waite, Stacey. (2017). Teaching queer: Radical possibilities for writing and knowing. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

6/18: Waite, Stacey. (2015). Queer literacies survival guide. College Composition and Communication, 67(1), 111-114.

6/19: Kopelson, Karen. (2013). Queering the writing program: Why now? how? and other contentious questions. Writing Program Administration, 37(1), 199.

6/20: Coles, Gregory. (2016). The exorcism of language: Reclaimed derogatory terms and their limits. College English, 78(5), 424.

6/24-6/30: Shipka, Jody. (2011). Toward a composition made whole. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

6/24: Shipka, Jody. (2009). Negotiating rhetorical, material, methodological, and technological difference: Evaluating multimodal designs. College Composition and Communication, 61(1), W343-W366.

6/25: George, Diana. (2002). From analysis to design: Visual communication in the teaching of writing. College Composition and Communication, 54, 11-39.

6/26: Marback, Richard. (2009). Embracing the wicked problems: The turning to design in composition studies. College Composition and Communication, 61(2), W397-W419.

6/27: Davis, Matthew, & Kathleen B. Yancey. (2014). Notes toward the role of materiality in composing, reviewing, and assessing multimodal texts. Computers and Composition: An International Journal for Teachers of Writing, 31, 13-28.

6/28: West-Puckett, Stephanie. (2016). Making classroom writing assessment more visible, equitable, and portable through digital badging. College English, 79(2), 127-151.

6/28: Fortune, Bonnie. (2013). Queering the hackerspace at miss baltazar’s laboratory and beyond. Make/shift, (14), 38.

6/29: Kohtala, Cindy. (2016). Making “Making” critical: How sustainability is constituted in fab lab ideology. The Design Journal, , 1-20.

7/1-7/7: Sirc, Geoffrey. (2002). English composition as a happening. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

7/1: Ball, Cheryl E. (2004). Show, not tell: the value of new media scholarship. Computers and Composition, 21, 403-425.

7/2: DeVoss, Dànielle Nicole, Ellen Cushman, & Jeffrey T. Grabill. (2005). Infrastructure and composing: The when of new-media writing. College Composition and Communication, 57, 14-44.

7/3: Symposium. (2014). The maker movement in education: Designing, creating, and learning across contexts. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 493-494.

7/4: Martin, Lee. (2015). The promise of the maker movement for education. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 5(1), 30-39.

7/5: Kera, Denisa. (2014). Innovation regimes based on collaborative and global tinkering: Synthetic biology and nanotechnology in the hackerspaces. Technology in Society, 37, 28-37.

7/6: Halverson, Erica R., & Kimberly M. Sheridan. (2014). The maker movement in education. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 495.

7/7: Charlton, Colin. (2014). The weight of curious space: Rhetorical events, hackerspace, and emergent multimodal assessment. Computers and Composition: An International Journal for Teachers of Writing, 31, 29-42.