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Encyclopedia > Victor J. Vitanza

Victor J. Vitanza is a professor at Clemson University (South Carolina), Department of English since 2005. He is the Director of the interdisciplinary-transdisciplinary Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ...

Formerly at University of Texas at Arlington (1996-2005), Vitanza's current work in Media and Communication Philosophy also finds him teaching summer seminars at the European Graduate School (Saas-Fee, Switzerland), where he earned his second PhD under the title "Chaste Rape: Sexual Violence, Canon Formation, and Rhetorical Cultures" (director, Wolfgang Schirmacher; readers, Alain Badiou and Giorgio Agamben). The University of Texas at Arlington (full official name), usually referred to as UT-Arlington or UTA, is the largest institution of the University of Texas System in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and is second in size (in the region) only to the University of North Texas. ... The European Graduate School (EGS) in Switzerland is a privately funded graduate school founded by the non-profit European Foundation of Interdisciplinary Studies (EGIS). ...

Vitanza early work focused on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. In 1978-1979 he received a National Endowment for Humanities Fellows-in-Residence to work with Richard E. Young at Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh) on the topic of "Rhetorical Coles]], Peter Becker, Linda Flowers, and Janice Lauer, each of whom were important figures in the field of Rhetoric and Composition.

After his encounters with Richard Young, Vitanza went on to found and publish the quarterly journal Pre/Text (1980-), and, along with Cynthia Haynes, Vitanza started the E-journal, Pre/Text: Electra(Lite). Vitanza's interest in on-line forums led to his creating Re/Inter/View listserv that has over 500 members and has had month-long discussions on selected topics in rhetoric and composition and with such notable figures as Noam Chomsky, Jane Gallop, Sharon Crowley, and Geoffrey Sirc. Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is the Institute Professor Emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ... Jane Gallop is a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. ...


Vitanza's work concentrates on a "third sophistic" rhetoric of the "excluded muddle," which extends the implications of Gregory L. Ulmer's conductive "heuretics" to the field of rhetorical historiography. The result is what Vitanza's calls "hysteriography" that takes up questions and concepts raised by such theorists and historians as Gilles Deleuze, Samuel Ijsseling, Giorgio Agamben, and Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard. Vitanza deploys these figures to consider and disrupt the role of negation and subjectivity in "the" history of rhetoric. Gilles Deleuze (January 18, 1925 - November 4, 1995 (pron. ... Giorgio Agamben (1942 –) is an Italian philosopher who teaches at the University of Verona. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

Indeed, Negation, Subjectivity, and The History of Rhetoric (1997) is the title of Vitanza's first "book.less." His second effort, which extends the sense of the first and his part of a larger trilogy, is his EGS dissertation on Chaste Rape. The third work will be Design as Dasein, which, according to a current description "will examine how philosophical and architectural attitudes are represented under the signs of negativity and death."

Considered by some to be "the bad boy of rhetoric," Vitanza's efforts, particularly with graduate students, reveals him to be anything but isolating or destructive. Lynn Worsham, Cynthia Haynes, Michelle Ballif, Diane Davis, Lorie Goodman, Lisa Hill, Collin Brooke, Margaret Weaver, Cori Wells, Thomas Rickert, Jenny Bay, Byron Hawk, Ronald Hugar, David Reider, Sarah Arroyo, Jennifer Edbauer, and Matthew Levy comprise the UTA cohort that "dis/engage" Vitanza's efforts in their own ways, or what Vitanza calls, by way of heuretic-conduction, "wayves."

From Vitanza's "final(rebeginning?) excursis" in NSHR: "WHAT WILL HAVE BEEN ANTI-OEDIPAL (De-Negated) HYSTERIES OF RHETORICS? WHAT WILL HAVE THEY LOOKED, SOUNDED, READ LIKE?" (22, emphasis Vitanza)


  • Negation, Subjectivity, and The History of Rhetoric (SUNY P 1997)
  • Writing Histories of Rhetoric (SIUP, 1993).
  • PRE/TEXT: The First Decade (U of Pittsburgh P, 1993).
  • CyberReader (Longman/Pearson. 1st, 2nd, and abridged editions).
  • "Love, Lust, Rhetorics (from Double Binds to Intensities)." Living Rhetoric and Composition: Stories of the Discipline . Ed. Duane Roen, Stewart Brown, and Theresa Enos. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1998. 143-58.
  • "The Hermeneutics of Abandonment." Parallax 4.4 (1998): 123-39.
  • "From Heuristic to Aleatory Procedures; or, Towards 'Writing the Accident'." Inventing a Discipline: Rhetoric Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Young , Ed. Maureen Daly Goggin. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2000. 185-206.
  • "Favorinus." In Classical Rhetorics and Rhetoricians: Critical Studies and Sources . West Port, Conn, and London: Praeger, 2005. 148-52.
  • "Adieu Derrida," in Poiesis 7 (Toronto, EGS Press, 2005): 64-65.



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