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Readings on
Rhetoric and Performance

Stephen Olbrys Gencarella
University of Massachusetts

Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Indiana University


This volume explores the new conceptual issues and cultural insights emerging at the intersection of rhetoric and performance studies.

Twenty essays from the scholarly literature cast new light on communication practices and forms that educate and inspire people, create ideas and public controversy, and arouse political action.

Introductions to the volume and each of the five sections guide student reading by identifying key themes and placing them in their social and scholarly contexts.

To see the table of contents, please click on this text line.

Reviewed in Text and Performance Quarterly (2011)

Reviewed in Journal of Folklore Research (2013).


“A first rate anthology that represents the significant emergent intersection of rhetoric and performance. I am particularly impressed by the interdisciplinary selections in this volume, a requisite given the subject matter. The relevance and application of these essays is broad and deep. It was exciting to read through the table of contents and imagine classroom conversations.”
Charles E. Morris III, Boston College

“The selection of essays is smart and remarkably comprehensive.”
Della Pollock, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“It will help to introduce performance studies to rhetorical scholars in addition to socializing our students into an increasingly blurry field. It’s a bold and, in my view, necessary move.”
Joshua Gunn, University of Texas 

“There is a need for texts that address cultural themes from a rhetorical perspective. I love that this text is expanding the traditional artifacts and theoretical frameworks of the discipline.”
Joan Faber McAlister, Drake University

“A fantastic collection of really top-notch essays.”
Robert Glenn Howard, University of Wisconsin–Madison

“This is a timely project.”
Bonnie Dow, Vanderbilt University


Stephen Olbrys Gencarella is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has published articles in several journals, including Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Communication Education, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Folklore, Journal of American Culture, Journal of American Folklore, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly. An award-winning teacher, he offers courses on rhetorical theory and criticism, folklore studies, and social theory. He currently serves as the Director of the university's Junior Year Writing Program and is an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, one of the largest democratic organizations in the commonwealth. More information on his research, teaching, and service is available at

Phaedra C. Pezzullo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published multiple chapters and articles in journals, a co-edited collection, and Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Travel, Pollution, and Environmental Justice (University of Alabama, 2007), which has been awarded the Winans/Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric/Public Address, the Christine L. Oravec Research Award in Environmental Communication, and the the Book of the Year Award in the Critical and Cultural Studies Division. She also is an award-winning teacher at the graduate and undergraduate levels. More information on her research, teaching, and service is available at




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