Toward a Theory and Pedagogy of Rhetorical Vulnerability

David Riche


This article responds to the proliferation of fake news in today’s media by considering how a rhetorical theory and pedagogy more deeply grounded in a rethinking of vulnerability might help us as rhetoricians and writing scholars to address fake news as more than just dis-informative rhetoric. In the first part, I bring together scholarship from within and outside of rhetoric and writing studies in order to frame vulnerability as a fundamental component of all rhetorical encounters. In the second part, I propose the use of trolling rhetoric as an object of analysis that may help students better understand how deceptive and disruptive genres of discourse (including, but not limited to, fake news) may, in the process of trying to exploit our rhetorical vulnerability, actually call attention to this crucial aspect of rhetorical encounters.


rhetorical pedagogy; rhetorical vulnerability; fake news; trolling rhetoric; asignification

Full Text:



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.