Viral Rhetorics: Panel 3, Brexit and the Discourse of Empire

15 February 2021, 9.30 AM - 15 February 2021, 11.00 AM

Online: please see below for link registration.

Viral Rhetorics


A series of online panel discussions on the role and functioning of rhetoric today 14-15 January 2021 (via Zoom).


Viral Rhetorics is a series of panel discussions with academic specialists from a range of disciplines with a shared interest in rhetoric in all its forms. The panels are part of a new GW4 research community based in the South West: Rhetoric in Society. 


Rhetoric has always been at the heart of debates over the relationship between democracy and the public sphere. The unprecedented global public health crisis of COVID-19 has only underscored the vital importance of processes of communication, persuasion, and the sharing of expertise, at a time of intense digital connectivity in which ideas can circulate in a more viral-like way than ever before.


Organised by a new GW4 research community based in the South West, Rhetoric in Society, Viral Rhetorics is a forum for scholars from a range of disciplines to share comparative perspectives and approaches to problems of contemporary relevance. Panel discussions are open to all, though we are particularly keen to welcome participants from GW4 institutions and from the South West more generally, as well as from all career stages and pathways, especially postgraduate research students and postdoctoral researchers. ‚Äč 


Panel Format: Each session will begin with panellists briefly presenting a text, image, or artefact relating to the panel theme. These will be circulated to all registered participants in January.


15 February, 9:30-11:00 

Chair: Dr Sophia Hatzisavvidou, Bath



Mike Bolt (Politics, University of Bath)

Prof James Martin (Professor of Political Theory, Goldsmiths University of London)

Prof Richard Toye (Professor of History, University of Exeter) 


The soundbite ‘take back control’ evolved into one of the key reference points of the Brexit campaign. Considering the British imperial past declarations to ‘reclaim national sovereignty’ sound ambiguous; yet they found an audience and have been keeping the Brexit campaign vibrant for several years. What kind of insights and tools can rhetoric provide to those interested in understanding the tensions and ambiguities inherent in the Brexit debate? This workshop offers several entry points to recon with this problematique, as well as insights into the role that the rhetoric of Empire plays in contemporary British life more broadly. 


To register for this session, click here.


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