Victor Vitanza

Victor J. Vitanza
Image Credit: Clemson University

David Blakesley

David Blakesley
Image Credit: Clemson University

CLEMSON — Clemson English professors David Blakesley and Victor J. Vitanza have been named Fellows of the Rhetoric Society of America. Blakesley also has received the organization’s 2016 George E. Yoos Distinguished Service Award.

The awards were presented at the 17th Biennial Rhetoric Society of America Conference on May 29 in Atlanta. The society is the umbrella organization for scholars and teachers in every academic discipline who are interested in rhetoric.

“These awards testify to professors Blakesley and Vitanza’s national and international standing in the field,” said professor Lee Morrissey, chair of Clemson English. “They contribute to Clemson’s academic reputation and continue the Clemson English department’s well-established reputation for writing and rhetoric.”

In its recognition of Blakesley, the Rhetoric Society of America praised his “distinguished research and publication record, and also his outstanding and formative contributions to the profession, including Parlor Press, his editing of KB Journal and the Rhetorical Philosophy and Theory series at Southern Illinois University Press.

Blakesley is professor of English and holds the endowed Campbell Chair in Technical Communication at Clemson. He also is founder and publisher of Parlor Press. His most recent book publication is a second edition of “Writing: A Manual for the Digital Age,” published by Cengage/Wadsworth in 2011. His new book, “Illuminating Rhetoric: A Guide to Seeing, Reading, and Writing,” is under contract with McGraw-Hill.

In honoring Victor Vitanza, the society writes, “Professor Vitanza is recognized for his singular and trailblazing scholarship, for his founding and decades-long editorship of the journal PRE/TEXT, and for the truly innovative and thoroughly rhetorical Ph.D. programs he has designed at two different institutions.”

Vitanza is founding director of Clemson’s Ph.D. program in rhetorics, communication, and information design. Launched in 2005 as an interdisciplinary degree drawing from a number of academic fields, the program is notable for its 100 percent placement of graduates. Prior to joining the Clemson faculty, Vitanza launched and directed another innovative Ph.D. program in rhetoric at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also holds the Jean-Francois Lyotard Chair at the European Graduate School in Saas-Free, Switzerland.

Vitanza’s most recent book publication is “Chaste Cinematics,” published by Punctum Press in 2015. In 2011, his “Sexual Violence in Western Thought and Writing: Chaste Rape” was published by Palgrave Macmillan.


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.