*Call for Papers for an edited collection: The Rhetoric and Discourse of

Recent years have seen the rise of the “Energy Humanities,” which consider
cultures in terms of the energy sources that make them possible, energy
sources that tend to be invisible to those inhabiting a given culture. In *Oil
Culture*, for example, Ross Barrett and Daniel Worden argue that in
contemporary North America oil is largely secreted out of sight but, at the
same time, “the oil industry is as ubiquitous and necessary to contemporary
life as money” (xix). Or, as Ruth Salvaggio puts it in her essay in that
collection, “Even as we can smell the gas that we put into our cars, or
sometimes see the black substance that gets poured into car engines or
heating furnaces, oil itself remains a spectral substance—until something
ruptures and it all comes pouring out” (386). This simultaneous
invisibility and necessity is effected through rhetoric. For instance, in
the recent “Life Takes Energy” campaign, Enbridge presents various
events—baking cupcakes, colouring on a rainy day, swimming, swaddling a new
baby—before stating that the corporation provides the energy that makes
these moments possible. We don’t see oil, or pipelines, or windmills in
these ads, but energy’s necessity is asserted and the energy corporation’s
necessity is implied.

Despite the rise of the Energy Humanities, eco-rhetoric, and Petroculture,
no study of oil rhetoric currently exists. Therefore, *The Rhetoric and
Discourse of Oil *seeks papers that examine how discourse and rhetoric
create/enable the spectrality of oil (how rhetoric persuades
individuals/the public that oil is an invisible magic elixir fuelling
progress) and how it also disrupts or counters that view. Contributions to
this collection will engage with our understanding of petroleum in its
fundamental ambiguity, not only as a key sustaining source of modern
culture but also as a toxic and destructive commodity. As such, *The
Rhetoric and Discourse of Oil* seeks interventions in the discourses and
rhetorics of oil and its related industries. Possible areas of focus
include, but are not limited to, rhetoric and/or discourse and one or more
of the following:

bitumen extraction;
hydraulic fracturing (fracking);
Off-shore drilling;
Pipelines and other forms of transportation (oil-by-rail, the Lac Mégantic
disaster, tankers);
Spills, Leaks, Ruptures;
Upgrading and Refining;
Lawsuits (Aboriginal consultation, Treaty rights);
Government documents;
Industry documents;
Poetry, fiction, drama;
Visual Rhetoric;
Environment vs. Economy;
Economic History.

Please submit proposals of 300-400 words to Jon Gordon ([log in to unmask])
and Heather Graves ([log in to unmask]) by Jan. 31, 2016. Final papers
will be due Sept. 1, 2016.

Dr. Jon Gordon

Instructor, Writing Studies
Office of Interdisciplinary Studies
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2E6
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

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