Cynthia Haynes

Cynthia Haynes

CLEMSON — Cynthia Haynes, professor of English and director of first-year composition at Clemson, has won the Rhetoric Society of America’s (RSA) annual book prize for the best new work in rhetorical study.

“The Homesick Phone Book: Addressing Rhetorics in the Age of Perpetual Conflict” was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2016. The book is a multilayered exploration of language — a deep dive into such subjects as how college composition is taught and how the rhetoric of terrorism is connected to violence and conflict around the world.

In bestowing the award, the RSA offered high praise of Haynes’ book.

“Having read and deliberated the merits of a remarkable array of nominated books, the committee ultimately agreed that ‘The Homesick Phonebook’ stood out for several reasons. First, we noted not merely the creativity of the project, creative though it is, but also the audacity of the intellectual task. Related, we noted that the book’s originality and risk-taking was also deeply political and highly interdisciplinary, engaging emerging fields of rhetorical research such as digital rhetorics and gaming studies. Nevertheless, Haynes deftly folds these discourses together with more traditional approaches in rhetorical studies in a way that is truly laudable. ‘The Homesick Phonebook’ points the way to future studies, inviting our field to grow, to evolve and to challenge us all.”

Lee Morrissey, chair and professor of the Clemson Department of English,” said “’The Homesick Phonebook’ impressively combines key, classical rhetorical terms (such as topoi, arrangement and address), with the most pressing questions in ethics, law and politics — all of it filtered, initially, through the lens of a single German phonebook from World War II.

“Thanks to an active series of in-house presentations,” Morrissey continued, “Professor Haynes has been generous in sharing developments in this project with English department colleagues over the last few semesters, and we knew, as a result, that something special was underway. We in Clemson English are so proud that she has now received national recognition for her unique and powerful book project.”

Richard Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, praised Haynes for her “numerous contributions to raising Clemson’s national reputation for scholarship in the humanities.”

“This award from your peers is a special marker of your success,” he said.

Haynes joined the Clemson faculty in 2006. Prior to Clemson she held teaching appointments at the I.T. University of Copenhagen in Denmark, the University of Texas at Dallas, and at the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned a B.A. in German, an M.A. in the humanities and a Ph.D. in the humanities from UT Arlington.

Haynes is at work on a new book, “Unalterable Rites: Form, Bodies, and the Architecture of Mass Composition.”

The Rhetoric Society of America

The Rhetoric Society of America represents a large and growing community of scholars, teachers and students interested in the study of rhetoric. RSA embraces a broad conception of rhetoric, which includes spoken, written, visual and material texts circulating in a wide variety of situations ranging from the public to the private and from face-to-face to digital, within historical and contemporary social, political and cultural contexts, including race, gender, class, sexuality and ethnicity, among others.

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