We are seeking 350-500 word abstracts for an edited volume in the ‘Rhetoric of Power and Protest’ series at Michigan State University Press (https://msupress.org/rhetoric-of-power-and-protest/). This project, under the working title "From A Whisper to a Movement: Investigating the Shared Rhetorical Spaces of Whistleblowing and Social Protest" has not yet been approved and is not under contract; however, the editorial team for the new 'Rhetoric of Power and Protest' book series at Michigan State University Press has expressed strong interest. The strength of our formal proposal will hinge upon our detailed list of chapter contributions.
We look to add to this book series by focusing on the relationship between whistleblowers and public protest. In this approach, we broadly define whistleblowing to accommodate a wider array of topics while still maintaining the core conditions that whistleblowers are disempowered citizen-agents who accurately report abuses of power. Generally, whistleblowing scholarship centers upon persons within more restricted organizational structures, like corporations or government agencies. However, we argue that citizen-agents, like those who have live-streamed the violent misconduct of police officers and immigration officials, also qualify as a category of whistleblowing given their membership within a defined democratic body. Thus, the conception of whistleblowing for this volume, which still leaves open the inclusion of traditionally constructed whistleblowers, incorporates a broader scope of whistleblowing case studies. Yet, we underscore the qualification that whistleblowing requires accurate reporting. For this reason, we decidedly exclude the contemporary usurpation of whistleblowing designations by partisan demagogues, like President Donald Trump and his bizarre “Stop the Steal” campaign that paraded faux whistleblowers across the US after the 2020 presidential election.
Although the volume will broadly approach case studies from a rhetorical perspective, we welcome a pluralistic theoretical corpus. For instance, this volume positions acts of whistleblowing as sparking the formation of a public, thereby creating a scholarly exigency regarding conceptions of identity (Burke, 1969) and constitutive rhetoric (White, 1985; Charland, 1987; Stuckey, 2004). As well, our definitional scope elicits Rancière’s (1999) subjectivities of the “in-between,” particularly at sites of executive corruption. Additionally, public protests resulting from whistleblowing acts demand civil liberties and social equity with what Corbett (1974) describes as the “rhetoric of the closed fist.” This corpus of theory affords us the ability to substantively interrogate the rhetorical linkage between solitary whistleblowing acts, scaffolded around a sense of democratic ethics, and the (per)formative actions of a newly (re)unified democratic body. This shared space between the singular whistleblower and the collective protest fosters symbolic expressions rich for academic inquiry, specifically regarding body rhetorics, performative action, and radical democracy.
Abstracts (approx 350-500 words) must include a clear statement of the focus of your previously unpublished chapter plus any additional materials in the form of graphics, web-based materials, or multimodal samples, if applicable. Please also include your CV with a list of publications by December 13, 2021. Coauthored proposals are welcome. Our anticipated book completion date is January 1, 2023.