Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion

The roots of Harlot can be traced to spring 2007 when during a rather heated conversation in a grad seminar on contemporary rhetorical theory we noticed a serious disconnect between the theory and the practice of critical rhetorical studies: Civic-minded criticism and theory has limited impact when published only in academic forms and venues. Harlot emerged as one solution to this counterproductive situation and in response to a clear need for increased public criticism of popular persuasion. We believe these concerns demand analysis and action beyond the borders of the academic institution, just as a critical approach to rhetoric calls for attention to a diverse range of contemporary texts and audience.
Transcending disciplinary and discursive boundaries, the Harlot project is based on the bold assumption that critical rhetorical studies have something important to contribute to public consciousness and civic deliberation — and that nonacademic audiences, as active participants in rhetorical discourses, have much to offer rhetorical studies. Our goal is inclusivity and promiscuity in terms of participation, subject matter, and styles and genres of communication and critique.
Harlot invites adventurous critics, artists, and thinkers to examine the real social, personal, cultural and political powers of rhetoric in innovative and creative ways. In addition to traditional (albeit not conventionally academic) articles, we allow and encourage multimedia texts that exploit the rich rhetorical potential of hypertext, still images, animation, video, and audio. Whatever the form, share your brilliant insights, favorite rants, and pet theories . . . for play with a purpose.
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