CRC CFP 2010:

"Unpacking the Digital"

North Carolina State University invites you to participate in the Carolina Rhetoric Conference (CRC) to be held Friday and Saturday, 19-20 February 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina. This conference is open to all graduate students from the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Clemson University. We invite scholarly submissions from across our states' programs in rhetorics, communications, and/or information design, as well as other new and emerging areas of the discipline. The CRC is designed to provide emerging scholars across the Carolinas with an opportunity to share their papers in process with peers from similar programs within a setting that is productive and supportive for all participants.

To get your name on the program, please send a brief abstract of approximately 250 words to Ruffin Bailey ( or Kathy Oswald (, no later than Monday, February 1st, 2010 with "CRC" in the subject heading. Please include the title of your paper, your full name and institutional affiliation in your email.

The purpose of the CRC is to provide a positive, informal arena for presenting current research by graduate students from the area's rhetoric programs, and to these ends, the "call" is as broad as students' research. For this year, we're also providing an "optional" call, below. This call is intended to be read broadly enough to encompass our wide array of interests while, at the same, allow those so inclined to reconfigure their research and contribute to a conference-specific conversation as well.
At times, the terms New, Digital, and Electronic are placed in front of Media as if they themselves were interchangeable parts. In a specific usage, perhaps they are, each providing just amorphous enough a spin on the idea of “future” to do the work so commonly done by the prefix “post-“ as to have become a scholarly cliché. Studies of new, digital, electronic media attempt to represent what is here now but, like the setting of Max Headroom, also strain to suggest a romanticized setting and expertise in a time just beyond the reach of the present.

These terms beg unpacking, and this conference requests beginning by unpacking the digital. Digital media may represent artifacts based on the binary medium of computers, but the term can also represent the discrete, the bounded, the measurable, and that which is made interchangeable through the establishment of convention. Language and the written word operate digitally; alphabets and sinographic systems are each discrete, bounded, limited systems from which meaning can be infinitely spun. Even within computerized binary media there are third terms. Processors read their media sequentially. Time separates bits just as it separates the two digits that comprise Morse code.

What is the nature of this discrete bounding that enables the creation of shared conventions which form meaning? Is meaning necessarily digital? How can the term digital usefully distinguish itself from the new and electronic? This year’s Carolina Rhetoric Conference hopes to investigate these and other questions related to the digital “writ large” in an open, collaborative, informal weekend of scholarly presentations.