Karen P. Peirce, associate director of the Center for Writers, presented at the Rhetoric in Society conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, held Jan. 15-18. Her paper, “Ethos Water: Contemporary Rhetorical Citizenship in Action,” focused on the marketing and critiques of Ethos Water, a brand of bottled water sold by Starbucks. Each time Starbucks sells a bottle of water, the company donates a portion of the proceeds to charity with the aim of providing clean drinking water to children in developing countries. Studying the rhetorical strategies used in marketing this water, as well as those used in environmental and economic critiques, reveals discourse techniques any citizen can use to effect social change.
The Rhetoric in Society conference is sponsored by the Rhetoric Society of Europe and attracts scholars in rhetoric from around the world. This year’s conference included presenters from every continent and featured a welcome from the Speaker of the Danish Parliament. Keynote addresses included “Is Rhetorical Criticism Subversive of Democracy?” by David Zarefsky of Northwestern University, “Cosmopolitanism and Global Citizenship: The Rhetoric of Moral Agency” by Peter Dahlgren of Lund University, Sweden, and “The Peculiar Role of Religion in American Citizens’ Public Discourse” by Karen Tracy of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Submissions to the conference were reviewed for acceptance by faculty from Lessius University in Belgium, the University of Bergen in Norway, Aarhus University in Denmark, as well as Syracuse University and Indiana University in the United States.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.