The pandemic and economic catastrophes of 2020 and the forms of resistance that surged against racist systemic and physical violence indicate, we contend, that studying public address in the present moment requires attention to the mutual contingency of rhetoric and digitality. Relying on interdisciplinary literatures and a global perspective, we direct such attention along three vectors: platforms, commons, and methods. We indicate how theorizing rhetoric and digitality transforms critical and historical traditions. In expanding the purview of the public address tradition while retaining the tradition’s hermeneutic potential, we emphasize the need to challenge disciplinary terms and the desirability of expanded analytical methods. We submit that by not attending sufficiently to the advent and diffusion of digital media technologies, public address scholarship misses opportunities to shape ongoing conversations about how rhetoric mediates public affairs; and that insofar as struggles for racial justice are bound up with, not just mediated by, digitality, the prospects of diversifying rhetoric’s professoriate increase when research on this topic is central rather than peripheral.

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