Introduction: Rhetoric’s Ecologies

Justine Wells, Bridie McGreavy, Samantha Senda-Cook, George F. McHendry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter introduces the edited collection Tracing Rhetoric and Material Life: Ecological Approaches, which draws together work in rhetoric, communication, composition, environmental communication, and environmental studies to advance a rhetorical approach to ecological care. To set the stage for this project, this introduction takes a moment to look back at the recent history of rhetorical studies and environmental communication, tracing the emergence of several complementary but fairly disparate ecological “turns.” The ecological turns identified coincide with a larger turning in recent interdisciplinary work that embraces ecology as distinct from environment. Thus, it first explores this distinctive sense of the ecological via recent “new materialisms.” Next, and for the bulk of the chapter, it traces the emergence of resonant ecological approaches to rhetoric that largely predate discussions of new materialism, including discussions of constitutive rhetorics among communication and environmental communication scholars, ecological models of composition and invention among writing scholars, and practices of in situ methods among rhetorical scholar-practitioners and their objects. As the final section notes, the chapters in Tracing Rhetoric and Material Life intensify those shifts, ultimately cultivating ecological care in three arenas of rhetorical being—those of change, ethics, and justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPalgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication
ISSN (Print)2634-6451
ISSN (Electronic)2634-646X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Linguistics and Language


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