Christa Olson Wins RSA Book Award

Congratulations to Chair Christa Olson, who has won the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Book Award for her work American Magnitude: Hemispheric Vision and Public Feeling in the United States (Ohio State UP 2021).

The selection committee writes:

Dr. Olson’s American Magnitude: Hemispheric Vision and Public Feeling in the United States is a breathtaking work of scholarship. Here, Olson illustrates how the exceptionalism of the United States is dependent on a rhetorical performance that assumes those beyond American borders are paying attention. The book explains that the U.S. as “all of America” existed in the colonial imaginary even before it existed territorially, and was constantly recreated through publicly circulated visions based in appeals to “grandeur, import, and consequence.” Olson shows that Americanness is itself a privileging process that hinges on delimiting racialized Others and engaging neighbors in ambivalent ways, establishing what is important and sublime and manifesting through the body. Yet these performances of U.S. American identity are challenged by the resistance or unwillingness of those beyond its borders, and thus, how America wishes to present itself globally is ever tied to violent interventionism. Drawing on a range of scholarly traditions, American Magnitude is truly exemplary in its weaving of the current rhetorical theories and classic traditions used to engage pressing global challenges. It is at once deeply considered and yet wholly lucid in its prose stylings, inviting readers from diverse academic communities.

The RSA recognizes the achievements of its members through nine awards, five named annually and four additional awards named biennially. The 2023 Award cycle includes the Book Award, the Dissertation Award, the Early Career Fellow Award, the Charles Kneupper Award, and the Outstanding Student Chapter Award.. See all the award recipients at the 2023 award bulletin.