Call For Papers

The symposium is a mix of highly competitive, open-call papers and invited participants, which results in a diverse gathering of scholars (from graduate students to full professors) from a variety of disciplines and fields. There are no registration fees, and breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided.

Our theme for the 2017 Symposium will be “Theories and Practices for a New Field,” and we seek proposals that speculate, project, predict, innovate, challenge, contradict, and  current research paradigms and topics in and around RHM. Be bold!



RHM is beginning to explore both postmodern and new materialist theories of bodies and embodiment while considering the connections between those theories and rhetorical studies. Proposals in this section should consider how the material, the materiality of bodies, and embodiment intersect with RHM in some shape, form, or fashion.

Multiple Media Elements

Essays about the media and RHM might consider what scholars, disciplines, and bodies of work can help us examine the many and varied media involved in health and medical communication—in terms of delivery (analogue, digital, wearable), genre (social media, online media, interactive media, graphic texts), and/or specific media components (visual, aural, other sensory experiences).

Critical Theory

Critical examinations of social structures and structures of power provide important and necessary insights into RHM. By challenging existing systems and knowledge, essays in this category can show us the ways different theoretical approaches can shed new and important insights. Critical theory is necessary to the future and vibrancy of the field so we welcome critical approaches (see Lynch & Zoller, 2015).


We envision papers in this group addressing the ways that RHM scholars most productively enter into or critically assess the public-ness of the discourses of health and medicine. Following Keränen (2014), where are we now in terms of public(s) and our role in it? How might we (re)consider our scholarly endeavors in light of current events and reframe them for more public consumption? What are the public sites and locations that we should use as are artifacts?


Essays in this group might further explore cultural/intercultural/global/translingual communication practices by considering how factors of language and translation affect the work we do. From sharing information, to research sites and practices, to technologies that seem to make the world smaller, we welcome your works in progress that bring the international into our conversations.


Some immediate big categories not included above are method/ology, public(s), history, environment, risk, relationships (between RHM and other disciplines, fields, areas), and sensory just to name a few. So, if your best work doesn’t fit into the categories above, send it anyway and tell us the category we should have created.

Submission Criteria

Your full proposal should include:

  • Contact information (name, affiliation, email)
  • Designate faculty or graduate student **(see note below!)
  • Type of work: tell us if this is part of a potential article, chapter in a book, dissertation chapter or prospectus, work for another conference, book proposal, etc.
  • Choose one broad category (from those above) you feel you are most suited for
  • Title of your project/proposal
  • Proposal of up to 1000 words to ensure that the program review committee has a good sense of your ideas. (It can be less and this word count is not including citations.)

Send proposals to: ^^(see note below!)

Important Dates

Proposals Due: March 30, 2017

 Decisions: April 15, 2017 (see Symposium Planning Committee for the review team.)

Works in progress ~5000+ words: August 21, 2017. These will be circulated among participants and will be the basis of how we structure our conversations and allow you the opportunity to have your work-in-progress read closely by other scholars in the field. Top papers will be selected, and the editors will work with those selected authors to prepare them for submission to the journal, Rhetoric of Health and Medicine.

If you have questions, please contact Lisa Meloncon ( symposium chair.

Details about featured speakers and the topics for discussion will be posted at <>

** Graduate students will automatically be considered for a RHM Graduate Student Fellowship, which will pay for travel and lodging.

^^If you are the middle of projects and do not have something specific to propose for a works in progress and still want to attend, please send an email to the symposium address and tell us that.