Geaux Rhetoric Speaker Series

RSA@LSU strives to create events that help connect graduate students, faculty, and community members who are interested in the study of rhetoric, culture, and communication. Our mission is to promote understandings of rhetorical praxis and scholarship that advance social justice. As part of that mission, we host a series of public talks by scholars, activists, and teachers of communication and rhetoric.


Fall 2020 Geaux Rhetoric Speaker Series

  • Dec 03, 2020, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM CST
    Drawing on her book Feeding the Other: Whiteness, Privilege, and Neoliberal Stigma in Food Pantries (MIT Press, 2019), de Souza shows how food pantries stigmatize their clients through a discourse that emphasizes hard work, self-help, and economic productivity rather than food justice.
  • Dec 02, 2020, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM CST
    Khan discusses the sports media resurgence of Black athlete activism that anchors the rediscovery of Black athletes’ political agency in terms that emphasize the power of persuasive speech, rather than identifying Black athletes’ collective labor power.
  • Dec 01, 2020, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM CST
    For LGBTQ+ Asian Americans, who are often excluded from U.S. national imaginaries, Hsu posits storytelling as queer diasporic “homing,” or a means of composing community unbound from any fixed locale.

About Speakers


Dr. Jo Hsu is an assistant professor of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where they are also core faculty in the Center for Asian American Studies and a faculty affiliate of the LGBTQ Studies Program. Broadly speaking, Jo’s research interweaves gender studies, disability studies, and critical race studies to examine the interrelations of these social categories. They are interested in how expectations around racialized, gendered bodily norms affect the life chances and opportunities of those excluded by those very narratives. Their work can be found in disciplinary journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Women’s Studies in Communication, and College Composition and Communication. Their creative writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and can be found in Kartika Review, Color Bloq, and other literary outlets. Throughout their (often wayward and meandering) academic journey, Jo has been fortunate to have the support of generous mentors and co-conspirators, and they strive to further these forms of mutual care and collaborative worldbuilding.

Miss the events?

The fabulous lectures were recorded and will be available to watch below until December 31, 2020. 

We do ask that you respect the intellectual property and labor of these scholars. Do not download, share, or otherwise replicate the videos of their talks. Please seek out their publications for citation and engagement with they amazing work!


Dr. Jo Hsu

Homing Story: Constellating Trans and Queer Asian American Rhetorics

This session excerpts from a book project that examines Asian American racialization in connection with U.S. colonialism and anti-Blackness. I focus particularly on how model minority and yellow peril tropes collude in alternately aligning or counterposing Asian Americans with white middle-class gender norms and capitalist paradigms for productivity. In this talk, I posit storytelling as queer diasporic “homing”— as a means of finding and forging community in the absence of physical common ground. For LGBTQ+ Asian Americans, who are often implicitly or explicitly excluded from U.S. national imaginaries, homing becomes a way of composing community unbound from any fixed locale. Emphasizing mobility and dynamism, I argue that our bodyminds—our scars, fears, and aspirations—archive our social histories. With story as archival description, I use narrative to hold still, redefine, and/or reimagine my experiences in relation to other trans and queer of color rhetorics. What emerges is a personal narrative told in concert with voices of chosen family—with the LGBTQ+ Asian Americans and other crip, trans, and queer of color theorists and artists whose works have enabled the ways I write and live. As constellation, our stories network into a broader portrait of how norms surrounding race, gender, and (dis)ability conspire to enforce the boundaries of national and social belongings.

Khan headshot.jpeg

Dr. Abraham I. Khan

After Persuasion: Reframing the Revival of Black Athlete Activism

Since 2012, when the NBA’s Miami Heat posed for a photograph wearing team hoodies to call attention to the murder of Trayvon Martin, a sophisticated narrative has emerged in sports media around the resurgence of Black athlete activism. Colin Kaepernick’s choice to kneel before National Football League games in 2016 offered the most spectacular example in 2016, giving life to a story that anchored the rediscovery of Black athletes’ political agency in terms that emphasize the power of persuasive speech. As a sports media genre, the renaissance of the activist athlete depends for its force on simplistic memories of the 1960s when, presumably, effective moral suasion determined civil rights progress. In this lecture, I argue that the investment in persuasion is a mistake. In a (post-)Trump era defined by intense political polarization and the dominance of corporate communications, Black athlete activism either speaks to a void or works for capital. The answer to this dilemma requires reckoning with the death of persuasion and identifying Black athletes’ collective labor power.


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