CFP In Defense of the Humanities

Publication OpportunitiesCall for Paper Submissions for Special Journal Issue
In Defense of the Humanities: What Does Communication Studies Give?
Guest Editor: Mari Lee Mifsud

In the legacy of a long western history of a “crisis in the humanities,” the latest has been proclaimed [e.g., Don A. Habibi, “The Indispensability of the Humanities for the 21st Century,” Humanities, 5, no.1 (2016)11: 1-23]. Twenty-first century globalization, economic shifts, extensive budget cuts, political divisions, and culture/al wars all take a toll on attitudes towards the humanities in the United States. In 2007, the National Communication Association took stock of the discipline’s intellectual armory in defense of the humanities, giving account in a white paper. Their tally, in brief, shows the study of communication:

-offers essential exploration of the means and modes of democratic life and the orchestration of a free people whose organizing principle is a shared responsibility as citizens to engage in living well together

-offers critical understanding and resources for navigating, critiquing, engaging, and preserving the ever-changing arts of expression, systems of exchange, and structures of power through the ages and across cultures

-maps, archives, and preserves the diversity of human knowing, being, and doing by traversing historical, interpretive, theoretical, performative, critical, and cultural lines.  (Barbara Biesecker, James Darsey, G. Thomas Goodnight, Marshall Scott Poole, David Zarefsky, Barbie Zelizer, Communication Scholarship and the Humanities: A White Paper Sponsored by the National Communication Association, Washington, DC: National Communication Association, 2007)

This special issue of The Review of Communication seeks scholars to continue the tally, and to enhance and add to our intellectual armory for defense of the Humanities. This call extends to all categories of humanistic communication studies, including for example, argumentation, communication philosophy and ethics, critical and cultural studies, discourse studies, media studies, performance studies, public address, publics and counter-publics, rhetorical theory, history, and criticism. The call extends also to categories of communication studies beyond the humanistic, recognizing that science ought not, and perhaps cannot, proceed without the humanities. With these considerations in mind, we invite submissions that explore the following, though all novel and compelling topics are welcome:

-Communication studies as a resource for exploring and exchanging with concepts, practices, and embodiments of difference, the foreigner question, the alien, the other

-Communication studies as a means of examining the ontological, epistemological, existential, and ethical implications of our communicative being, our being constituted by symbolic action and mediated exchange

-Communication studies as a discipline emerging from rhetoric, one of the original liberal arts, yet transforming the binary of humanities and sciences

-Communication studies as a tool for decolonizing knowledge(s) across territories such as ability, class, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexuality.

-Communication studies as a humanistic tool for exploring, critiquing, and engaging the new media of our digital lives together

-Communication studies and digital humanities as a means of shaping and sharpening the cutting edge of knowledge-making

-Communication studies as a method and mode for the public humanities


Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through the ScholarOne Manuscripts site for Review of Communication.


Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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