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date: 13 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the vexing relationship between rhetorical studies and the environmental problematic. On one hand, rhetorical analyses of environmental exigencies and debates are salutary, fostering the bases for reconciliations of competing positions about the value of the natural world. On the other hand, rhetoric fails to account for the epistemological consequences of its own anthropocentrism. The latter obliges rhetoric to frame all biophysical urgencies into matters of human (mis)communication. Rhetoric, in effect, leaves the actual environment outside of its considerations, recasting environmental emergencies as rhetorical ones. The article argues for a thoroughgoing rhetorical critique of anthropocentrism, a more capacious notion of nonhuman rhetorical agency, and a theorization of the environmental conditioning of all rhetorical situations.

Keywords: rhetoric, environment, rhetorical critique, environmental emergencies, anthropocentrism, rhetorical agency, rhetorical situations

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