The outside of Shanks Hall on a clear dayVirginia Tech’s Center for Rhetoric in Society (CRS) was formed in 2006 in the Department of English.

The CRS, originally named the Center for Rhetoric and Writing Research, began as a part of the department’s Writing Center and was directed by Dr. Kelly Belanger. Shortly after its founding, the CRS established its own separate research mission and collaborative research space in Shanks Hall while the Writing Center continued to specialize in writing tutorial services and is now located in Newman Library.

Founded just before the inaugural year of our department’s doctoral program in Rhetoric and Writing, we support the graduate program’s focus on studying the role of rhetoric in society. We also work closely with our undergraduate program in professional writing by offering student internship opportunities.

From its beginning, the CRS has served as an incubator for projects, programs, and research activities. Early on, we funded individual faculty seed projects that led to books, articles, and other publications. More recently, former director Dr. James Dubinsky earned a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant for the Veterans in Society Research Symposium.

Our mission has always centered on studying rhetoric and writing in action, with a particular interest in writers and speakers who face rhetorical challenges related to their social positions and circumstances. We believe, with Jacqueline Jones Royster, that “groups who have honed their crafts at the margins may be the rhetors from whom we can learn and be inspired.”