Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Professor Donnie Sackey Keynotes Western States Rhetoric Conference

Mon, December 3, 2018
Professor Donnie Sackey Keynotes Western States Rhetoric Conference
Assistant Professor Donnie Sackey

Congratulations to Professor Donnie Sackey who was invited to keynote at the Western States Rhetoric conference in November! Below is a synopsis of his keynote talk:

In "Water Matters," emphasize that a turn toward ontology in community engagement affords environmental rhetoricians not only the opportunity for understanding environmental issues with greater complexity but also places us in the position to engage with others and act as advocates in the creation of space. The concern for multiplicity within environmental disputes raises a rhetorical problem. How can we represent and respect the fractional worlds that actors call home while moving toward a singularity that would allow us to best resolve a crisis? This presentation focuses on how water matters and the identity spaces that emerge in relation to it mattering through communicative acts like writing. Writing performs reality, but it also has the ability to adjust the relations that produce reality. Here Sackey actively advocates that we consider ways in which acting rhetorically can make and remake the physical world. The conference organizers asked attendees to engage with the idea/s of "matter and matterings." Specifically, how "in histories traditional and nontraditional, rhetoric has long been concerned with the process of mattering." They presented provocative/engaging questions: "how can words come to matter? What makes arguments, images, performances, or emotions have a force in the world? How can the claims of an affronted party be realized? How do identities, values, and dreams materialize? In the digital age, these questions do not dissolve but multiply: how do digital causes and communities shape the course of the world in new, networked ways? How do digital movements come into “concrete” being on the streets? This keynote address was my attempt to work through some ideas regarding how water matters and what *is* water as matter. It's part of a larger project that get to the heart of the ways in which our water politics are often performances of identity.


A video of Professor Sackey's talk is available on YouTube with closed captioning. 

A portion of Professor Sackey's and co-keynote presenter Dr. Garrett Nichols' honoraria was donated to a travel award for graduate students hoping to attend the conference next year at Montana State university in Bozeman.

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