Episode 9: Eliza Gellis

(Released Sept 3, 2021)

Show Notes

Just in time for a Labor Day weekend, we're back in your feeds with another episode! This time, Eliza Gellis, a fourth-year PhD Candidate in rhetoric and composition at Purdue University stops by to chat about her dissertation project bridging rhetorical studies with Jewish studies through a focus on the rhetoric of the Tanakh (or the Hebrew Bible). Specifically, she examines encounters with the Divine as a framework for understanding Otherness and the rhetorical encounter using a transdisciplinary methodology. Eliza, who was a third-year doctoral candidate at the time or recording, chats about the project, but also the broader implications of her work regarding historiography, comparative rhetoric, classical and/or ancient rhetoric, and bringing rhetorical studies into conversation with Jewish studies. For those of you who find yourselves wondering about what the past reveals about today—and vice versa—or how to use our training in classical rhetoric to envision new avenues for work, this is the episode for you!

You can reach out to Eliza on Twitter (via DM) at @ElizaGellis or via email at egellis@purdue.edu. Read more about her work and projects at her website, available at this link. If you'd like to learn more about the show, find links to things we talked about, find transcripts, or sign up to be a guest, please check out tellmemorepod.com. Feel free to follow us on Twitter at @TMM_Pod, too. Well wishes and safety to you all as we make our way through the fall semester.

References to Things Mentioned in this Episode:

  • Enos, Richard Lee. Greek Rhetoric Before Aristotle, Revised and Expanded Edition. Parlor Press, 2012.

  • Geiger, Joseph. “Notes on the Second Sophistic in Palestine.” Illinois Classical Studies, vol. 19, 1994, pp. 221–230.

  • Katz, Steven B. “The epistemology of the Kabbalah: Toward a Jewish Philosophy of Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly, vol. 25, no. 1-4, 1995, pp. 107-122.

  • ---. “The Kabbalah as a Theory of Rhetoric: Another Suppressed Epistemology.” Rhetoric, Cultural Studies, and Literacy, edited by John Frederick Reynolds, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995.

  • Magonet, Jonathan. A Rabbi Reads the Bible, 2nd ed. SCM Press, 2004.

  • Loewen, James. Lies Across America. New Press, 1999.

  • Porter, James I. The Sublime in Antiquity. Cambridge U Press, 2016.

  • Rickert, Thomas. “Parmenides: Philosopher, Rhetorician, Skywalker.” Logos Without Rhetoric: The Arts of Language Before Plato, edited by Robin Reames, University of South Carolina Press, 2017.

  • Versnel, H.S. “The Poetics of the Magical Charm: An Essay in the Power of Words.” Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World, edited by Paul Mirecki, Brill, 2015.

  • Walker, Jeffrey. Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity. Oxford U Press, 2000.

Transcript for "Episode 9: Eliza Gellis"

Wilfredo: You’re listening to Tell Me More!, a podcast for amplifying

the work of graduate students. I’m your host, Wilfredo Flores... or just Wil.

[opening theme song plays, “Metre” by Slow Alarm]

W: This is a show where we ask graduate students a

singular question: Tell me more!

[music continues]

W: So, let’s get into the episode.

[music continues and then fades out]

Wilfredo: Hi there! Welcome to Tell Me More!, where we chat with graduate students about their work, ideas, and more. In this episode, I'm chatting with Eliza Gellis a third-year PhD candidate at Purdue University, studying rhetoric and composition. Welcome, Eliza! Could you tell us a little bit more about youself?

Eliza: Hi, thank you so much for having me. I am, like you said, a third-year PhD candidate at Purdue University. Outside of biblical rhetoric, which is the subject of my dissertation. I am also really interested in rhetorical theory, comparative rhetoric, public rhetoric, and pop culture as well. I do some research on fandom studies. So that's a fun outlet for some more creative and personal work, as well.

Wilfredo: Awesome. So you're here today, specifically to talk to us about your dissertation, which focuses on the rhetoric of the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible. Specifically, you're looking at encounters with the divine as a framework for understanding otherness and the rhetorical encounter using a transdisciplinary methodology. You've said that your hope is that this project will bring rhetorical studies into conversation with Jewish studies. This all sounds amazingly cool and fascinating. So please, tell me more.

E: Well, thank you so much. It's always very exciting to hear that people are interested in your work. So, if listeners are wondering what that word Tanakh means, that's the Hebrew word for the Bible or the Hebrew Bible, and it's actually an acronym. So the Christian Bible is organized a little differently than the Hebrew Bible has some different books, additionally, depending on what denomination you are. But the Hebrew Bible is actually organized by topic instead of by history. So the first section is the section that most of us are very familiar with—the five books of Moses or Torah, and Torah on me and instructions sometimes translated as law, but you can think of it more as guidance. It comes from a word that means, kind of, “the path” or “the way,” and that kind of the, the gist of it. Less so law, scary—more so instruction guidance. The next section is Nevi'im, and that means prophet. That's the plural word for prophets and that's where you'll find all the prophetic writings, the major prophets, the minor prophets. And then the last section is Ketuvim. And that means writings. And that is kind of the funny, like miscellaneous section of like, we should put this in here, but we don't really know where it goes. So we're just going to have an additional section and that's where you'll find poetry, stories or other texts that don't fit clearly into the prophets or obviously the Torah. So in the Hebrew Bible, that is where you'll find Ruth. That's where you'll find Song of Solomon. That's where you'll find after that's all, you'll find Daniel, et cetera, et cetera. So it's an acronym because those things are long when you say them all together. And I always think that's a little amusing, that you know, this the name for this very holy text is actually just an acronym for ease of speaking.

So yeah! That's where that word comes from. If people are wondering what that is. So I like to use that word instead of Hebrew Bible or Bible it's a little more specific than Bible. Sometimes people will say things like we should teach the Bible in school and it's like, well, whose Bible? Right. Different Christian denominations even have different Bibles than each other. So are we talking about the Catholic Bible? Are we talking about the Protestant Bible? And then of course it becomes more complicated when you think about the Hebrew Bible, which is really a separate document often with different source texts and certainly in a different order and with a different goal. So Hebrew Bible is typically the word that is used in place of Old Testament. And that's used for a couple of reasons. One, like I said, Old Testament, not, it's just not the same book. It's in a different order and it's canonized with a different purpose, right. Which is totally fine. But it's not the same book. And so you actually want to be clear about which document you're talking about. If I'm talking about the Old Testament, I'm using that word, like in a specific technical sense, right. To refer to the Christian Old Testament, that places Ruth, not with the other writings, but up in Judges, for example, So Hebrew Bible is used more specifically, and it's just kind of the English word to clarify that Jewish Bible is also certainly acceptable, but I like the word Tanakh because it's the name for the thing in its own language. Now, colloquially Jewish people to each other, we'll just say Bible. And we know we know what we mean. In the same way that we will say temple to each other instead of shul or synagogue, and like, we'll know what we mean. But when I'm using these words in like a technical sense, I really like to emphasize that this is a Jewish texts. It's important in Jewish history. And I think it's important enough to use the words that we use in our own language in our own holy language or literal language, certainly to talk about it. And luckily I know some people have a little difficulty with the “huh” out in the back of the throat. But it's not a super, super long or complicated words. So it's not too, too difficult to adjust to. And that's important to me because one of the goals of my project is getting people of all backgrounds to unpack what it means when we say the Bible, what assumptions we're bringing to that and whose Bible we're really talking about.

W: I'm trying to think of, and I am sad to say that I don't really know too much—cause I know people do it like a couple of graduate students within my own program who just graduated, are doing work with rhetoric studies and religious studies and kind of combining the two together. So I'm just curious, I guess, off the top of my head, I'm curious, just to see how you see this work resonating out with the field, like writ large, as you say, you're trying to bring rhetorical studies into conversation with Jewish studies. Could you speak a little bit more about that?

Eliza: that? Yeah, of course. So there's a couple layers to this and the first is that, it's been said that when we do research, it's really research about ourselves. And I think that is certainly true. This is a subject that personally interests me and also matters to me as a Jewish person. And my hope is that even though it is not a super sexy dissertation topic, the way that a lot of digital rhetorics stuff is really hot right now, my hope is that people are interested in the Bible and will say, oh, well, that seems cool. You know, that's, that's interesting, or it has this sort of popular appeal in that way. And I hope it speaks to people. Just in the sense of, of a personal interest. On another level. I think rhetoric and composition as a field has a really, really interesting disciplinary history. And if you look at the way that the disciplines, you know, emerged kind of in the university, rhetoric and composition kind of went and went “nyyyyr” around that and emerged as a field much, much later and kind of with this strange pre-disciplinary history. And we forget that the disciplines are really like modern invention. You know, in terms of Western or European education, you know, people were expected to be well-rounded individuals, and rhetoric was a really core part of education for a long time. Right? So what's interesting to me is that we've always kind of struggled as a field to claim our discipline and say, well, this is who we are as a field, but at the same time now, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary work is becoming more and more popular as a kind of methodological framework. And I really think rhetoric and composition has the potential to be a forerunner in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work. And you see that with, you know, some of the really cutting-edge work in our field. Certainly. And I think this is one way that people who are interested in ancient or Classical rhetoric can actually still do very interesting intern transdisciplinary work. Just like for example Richard Enos very much is, you know, rhetoric of the field out there with people, you know, at these archeological sites. So that's one example. I think people have a sense that classical quote unquote rhetoric is dead. It's not meaningful, right. It reproduces these you know, certain power structures that value you know, whiteness and the value you know, other sort of repressive things that aren't inclusive. And all of that’s t rue. But when you start thinking about, you know, the Greeks and Romans didn't exist in a bubble, other people did in the ancient world who also like had a theory of rhetoric and may have even had a more explicit theory of rhetoric cause like they talked between with the Roman sometimes—suddenly possibilities start opening up. And when you can connect that with a contemporary field of cultural study, like Jewish studies, then I think those transdisciplinary potentials really start making themselves visible. And I think that's really important for the future of our field. I hope that makes sense!

Wilfredo: No, that makes perfect sense. It's something that I've actually thought a lot about too!

E: Yeah, and I think for a lot of people who have an interest in history, particularly ancient history, that can be difficult, you know, because these things are interesting. I was never interested specifically in Greco-Roman history, but I was really interested in ancient rhetoric is the term I prefer to use. I think it's more inclusive. But yeah, and what we would call classical rhetoric, and even when I took a classical rhetoric seminar, I wrote my final paper on the use of magic in classical rhetoric. And I talked a lot about what we would consider, you know, alternative rhetoric or comparative rhetoric. I mean the Greek empire was big, the Roman empire was big. It's not like these people didn't talk to each other. And there's been some really interesting work on this. I mean, even kind of back to the nineties you know, there is an essay and I am embarrassed. I forget the author, but it's called the Second Sophistic in Palestine. You know, people are talking about, like, the Sages of the Talmud were like conversant with contemporary rhetoric and in fact, I was just writing a section about gender in the Bible. Surprise. Adam's not a dude—I could talk about that if you’re interested. But the word that’s used is “androgynos” right? Which is androgynous, an intersex person. And like that's pretty clearly Greek. So yeah, I think it's, it's tough when you like a personal interest in something, but you're like, oh yes, this has been used like for very ill purposes. There was a fascinating article about this in the New York Times about classics as a field, which is also kind of interdisciplinary, but organized around this Greco-Roman history that like the West has kind of like invented. That, you know, I mean, there's a clear lineage from the Greeks to the Romans, the Romans arrived and thought, well, this looks cool, it's ours now. But you know, we've kind of invented this history wherein you know, Europe and specifically Britain, right is the inheritor of the Roman empire, which is really funny when you think about, you know, Roman colonial history in England. But yeah, it's, you know, if classical or ancient rhetoric doesn't appeal to people for whatever reason, like, that's fine. You know, I don't think that, oh, we all have to learn this because this is the history of our field or something, you know? But for those of us who are interested or who do you see where in these things just kind of like continuing uncritically and just saying, well, I'm going to do a dissertation in classical rhetoric. Like it's like, well, okay, but how can we not only make that. Relevant and interesting, right, but why does that matter? Right. And I think knowledge should exist for its own sake. And I think that's really important—do something because it's interesting and it's worth knowing, but also be thinking about like, how does that knowledge fit into the larger context of the, of these structures, right? And like, what could we maybe do with this work that is still innovative. And hopefully also liberatory as well.

There's amazing work that still goes on in what I was considered more traditional classical, you know, Greco-Roman rhetoric, but it's also really innovative. It's talking about, you know, poetry and music and really cool stuff that is totally relevant. And that, I think it's still part of that project of like, re-imagining, right? You know, and one thing that I think is interesting is we have an idea in our heads of what Greco-Roman rhetoric looks like. And a lot of that is filtered through like what documents a bunch of monks found like a thousand years ago. Right? Plato was not nearly as influential in his own time as Isocrates was, right, but everybody knows Plato now because that's, those are the texts that survived that these monks had access to. And so they thought, well, I guess Plato was super important, right? If, if these texts are the ones that survived. So I think one thing that my project is trying to do, not with Greco-Roman rhetoric specifically, but with ancient rhetoric in general is let's see if we can get into these people's own headspace about their work. And let's see what we can do with that, because I think there are some surprises there. I don't know that doing that for Greco-Roman rhetoric will necessarily have the same liberatory or more social justice bent that, doing it with, for example, the Hebrew Bible will which I think is very much a project of you know, Jewish reclamation, et cetera. I just think there are a lot of really interesting potentials there. If people keep in mind, you know, the larger context of this work and don't assume that this is the one true rhetoric, right?

W: Yeah. I think through this conversation, one thing that is always, that keeps popping up in my head is this idea of ancient and the temporality of rhetorical studies, because it really is a little bit, more amorphous than we might think in that the present day is very much informed by the past. That even the way that colonial imaginaries envision a specific kind of history tied to Europe and Britain and all that other colonial stuff too. They are in conversation with each other because at least settler colonial studies tells us that, you know, contemporary society is a structure of colonization and there are real reverberations happening throughout time. So imagining a different field world, isn't just like saying everything that's come before is invalid or wrong or anything. But again, yeah, it's just, kind of, making space for those new, different inquiries. I think that still kind of are working at that dialectic between the past and the future, the present and the future, I guess. So, yeah. I think, I think I'm following along. [laughter]

E: No, I think that makes total sense and I, I really liked the parallel that you're drawing with sort of what colonial studies tells us about history. And I think that you're right. I mean, it doesn't really do anybody a service to forget the past—I mean it happened right. And there are interesting things that happened, right? But also just saying, well, okay, we're just going to do away with that. Right, that allows us to forget the bad things too. Which is something that I think is really interesting, especially as Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day approaches which starts, you know, it's just tomorrow and, you know, there's a very fine line between forgetting, forgetting the past in productive ways, a nonproductive way, there, ways that could be harmful and how one moves forward from that. You know, certainly thinking about, you know, the removal of Confederate statues, right, is a interesting way to think about that because yes, like those are public memorials, right, that are supposed to receive honor. But at the same time, right, obviously you want to like, get those out of parks. Those are bad—just to clarify, right, don't, don't put those up, right.

E & W: [laughter]

E: You, you don't go to Germany and like, see statues of Hitler. Right? You don't do that. But we, we preserve photographs, right? The evidence that people did, these things that people valued, these people in us to make statues of them. And that I think is what we should not forget. Right? Take a picture of it before you like burn it down with acid, which you should do.

W: Throw it in the river!

E: Or put it in a museum and say like, look at what people did. There's a fascinating book, by the way, if anyone's interested in this subject called Lies Across America, and it is about how in the 1920s, the Daughters of the Confederacy erected all of these monuments in all kinds of places. I mean, in like Montana and stuff, which was not even like a state and certainly didn't send soldiers to the Confederacy. So, it’s a sidenote that's interesting if, if people are interested and that's an old book, like that's not new. So people have been talking about this for a while, right. But it's like, you want to, you want to preserve the memory, right? But people were excited about this. And I think, kind of shifting a little bit you know, in terms of wanting to deal with the past and certainly not erase the fact that there were people in the past who were excited by these bad things and like, you know, happily did them. Even as you no longer honor the things that they are honoring in that, that tension. I hope I'm phrasing that in a way that makes sense. I think the Bible is very much a site of many of the same discussions and arguments. And I mean, certainly part of my dissertation is thinking about what can you do with a document like this with all that it carries and all the history and how can you, how can you reclaim it? And that's going to look different for different people. But part of my project is just sort of really almost back to basics. This is the Jewish Bible and the Jewish Bible says different things than the Christian Bible. A lot of the assumptions that people carry about the Bible or what it says are influenced by Christianity. And that can happen in a couple of ways. And I think one of the most insidious actually comes from more like progressive Christian circles where they say, well, Jesus, didn't say anything about the homosexuals. And you're like, okay, well, you know, I'm gay, I'm Jewish. And you know, the women of reformed Judaism were campaigning for queer rights in the 1960s. So, it can actually become very antisemitic some of the way people talk about, you know, the vengeful, God of the Old Testament that was mentioned twice in a semina I just went to about Christian nationalism, which was a fascinating and very productive talk. I was like sitting there like this seminar about Christian nationalism. And you don't want to like pause for a minute and think about. What parts of history might prompt Christian people, right, to think of the Old Testament God, as you know, bad and vengeful. I know it's like the very basic work I think of, of recovery for me in this project is. Not just, oh, you know, the Old Testament isn't really bad, but like this the Jewish Bible, it's been used for 2,000 years, Christianity, you know, split off from Judaism. And there's a lot there that's meaningful to Jewish people, but can also be meaningful to other people interested in the Bible in general. But I think that has to happen on our own terms. Not as, oh, well, we, Christians, what used to be Jews once it's like, no, like this is really a different tradition at this point. And that's okay. It can still be useful and interesting and meaningful.

W: Yeah. This reminds me of the politics of historiography. Particularly like from the—I forget which Octalog. I know, like as a, as a fourth-year PhD student in rhetoric and composition. You're supposed to have memorized all the Octalogs, maybe, I don't know, but one of the Octalogs, and it talks about these kind of the politics of revision or revisiting the past in these particular ways. And I think you're right. Very much so. That it's not trying to like, not trying to pivot away from these things, but use that point to go, to imagine a new thing. I don't know what I'm saying, there, I’m probably going to edit this out [laughter].

E: No, no I think that makes, I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, you know, thinking about some of like the not great things in the Bible, right? I mean, there's—they’re there. Right? And some of them are just weird to u, personally, but made sense in the context of the time, right? Like they weren't considered weird or wrong in the context of the time and there's nothing sort of objectively bad about them. And I'm thinking of that, the tradition, because we just did this in my Hebrew translation class. There's a part of the Genesis story where one of Joseph’s brothers has a daughter-in-law and then his son dies before he's able to give her a child. And the status of a widow was a little sort of tenuous and in the culture at that time, it was considered a brother-in-law's duty. If your brother died without leaving any children to go give his wife, a child for him, which led to us is so icky and weird, right? It's like, you know, oh, but it's not necessarily an objectively bad thing. It was part of the culture. And if you start to get in their minds and think about, well, why would this be done? Some of the weirdness and the ickiness evaporates, but there are bad things too, right? I mean, they're just kind of objectives, right? Where we're like, well, that's patriarchal or you know, that that's homophobic or whatever, and you have to deal with those things. But part of dealing with those things, it's also looking at how they're dealt with in history, right? The Bible talks a lot about stoning people. But even, you know, 2,000 years ago, the Rabbis of the Talmud were so profoundly uncomfortable with this idea of the death penalty that they—this is a fine Jewish tradition—they made rules around rules around rules, around rules so that you can never get to the proscribed behavior. So many layers of don't do this thing, right? Avoid this, and then avoid this other thing and then away this other thing. And they did that with things in the Bible that they found uncomfortable, such as the death penalty. Because they're like, well, it's in the Bible, so we can't just say, well, don't do it. But they made it functionally impossible to enact the death penalty because they were so uncomfortable with it. So it's 2,000 years ago. One thing that I'm talking about in my dissertation is gender in the Bible and specifically gender in the creation story. And the rabbis had words for transgender people. The rabbis had words for gender-nonconforming people. You know, and they're well they're well, well tested, I mean like close to close to a thousand uses for, you know, each one of these terms. So that tells us something, right. I mean, that tells us that there's always, there's always kind of this subtle undercurrent of pushback that I think is a big part of Jewish culture. We like to joke about fighting God a lot. You know, even as obviously the figure of, you know, a lot of love as well, but there's always kind of that undercurrent of subversiveness and many rabbis have called the Bible a subversive text . And in fact, there are adapters of the Bible less, contradictory you know, contradictory of a text right? And that was not like that, wasn't an editorial mistake that wasn't like, you know, somebody forgot what they'd done a couple months ago and they couldn't control F it. Right? The Bible is subversive on purpose, and it's meant to be, I think. And I think we're meant to get something out of that we're and I would say we were meant to get that, you should be questioning. You should be pushing back. You should be saying. Okay. But why? And I think that's a really important lesson. Let's hear from lots of just to Jewish people, but to lots of people. And I, I love the idea of, you know, this very profound, holy texts, also pushing back in a lot of ways against itself, which is a really interesting concept.

One thing that was coming to mind is we so often hear this phrase repeated in, you know, progressive Christian circles. Right? Love thy neighbor. Right? Love by neighbor. Love my neighbor. In fact, I had a classmate, once you were a shirt that said, you know, love thy neighbor: your Black neighbor, your gay neighbor, your Muslim neighbor. Right? I was like, that's not what that verse means. It's very clear in the Hebrew that it's talking about love your fellow Israelite. Who is your neighbor and probably irritates you because he like doesn't trim his hedges right now. They come over your property line or whatever, right. He, he plays his music too loud, right, or whatever, but it's very clear about love your fellow Israelite. And that's incredibly important because there's some more stuff in between this that's of technical interest that kind of long and complicated. But then we get to this part, love the stranger. Right. And if you're a Jewish person you know, like the next part, like by heart, it's a huge part of the Passover Haggadah, which is like sort of the Passover liturgy that you do during the Seder meal. And it's become a very popular sort of phrase that gets passed around sort of Jewish circles as well. Because you were once the stranger in the land of Egypt. Right? And that I think is the core of the message, right? You have to be able to love people who are essentially like you. But you can have to be able to love people who are just totally, other than yourself. Right? Love your neighbor is predicated on. A shared sense of identity, and it's certainly natural for us to look at someone other than us and look for a shared sense of something. Right? And certainly we want to acknowledge obviously the shared humanity of all people, but there's also something powerful about looking at someone with whom you have pretty much nothing in common and saying that's who I share my humanity with, right? When totally, other than me. And, it's a really common phrase in the Bible. It's especially common in what are called priestly texts. So we assume that the priests the Levites were the authors of Leviticus and other quote unquote priestly texts, and you see it a lot in there. And there's some really interesting theories as to why that are—Richard Freeman is a, a really famous Bible scholar and he proposes in his book, Exodus that actually Israel was already a nation at the time, supposedly, right. That the Jews were in Egypt, the prevailing theory, right. Kind of before him was, well, the Jews were never in Egypt. It was a made up story. They put it in after the Babylonian exile in the late—oh God, I have to like do the reverse math of like—before common era, centuries: 586 BC. That's what the century. But he says, no, the Levites were in Egypt. They were. Part of the Jewish people. They escaped Egypt. They were a much smaller group. They came up to Israel, they integrated into ancient Israelite culture around the time that the Bible was being written, which is a much better story, first of all, so you sort of want to believe it, but it also tells us something really profound about loving the stranger. Right? And accepting this, not just accepting the stranger if they assimilate but actually taking parts of it—them that they're willing to share. Certainly you don't want to appropriate. But really acknowledging the other and making yourself part of the other, right. As much as you expect the other to be part of you and God is, you know, at least in the sort of Abrahamic tradition the ultimate transcendental other. I mean, Derrida talked a lot about, you know, final transcendental signified, right, which is the Godhead, right. And that's really what God is—and so if, if you can have conversations with someone who is so holy other, you can't even begin to comprehend, you can certainly have conversations with and other human beings. Right? Who's just different than yourself. And I think that's really at the core of why I want to do this project. I think there's a lot, that's really interesting. It's not all serious. There's lots of humor in the Bible too. And there's also humor in the passages that I'm some of the passages that I'm looking at. So it's not all just this kind of very somber, you know, spooky experience, right. There's joy. There's very sunny, human moments, which is kind of one of the interesting things about the Bible. God is this, you know, very transcendental, other figure. But some of these conversations with God feels, very, very human, and it's an interesting paradox. I'm excited to explore it. And I want to thank you for having me on the show to talk about it. I've really gotten a lot out of this conversation.

W: Awesome. Well, I'm glad you were able to, hopefully I was just able to keep up because again, you're, this project sounds amazing and fascinating and like genuinely, I cannot wait to read this, so—

E: Wow! I like that so much, because you really like you were either, like, is anybody gonna read this? Is anybody gonna care? Certainly it's not like I said it's something that seems like a very, you know, hot topic. You sort of wonder like, oh God, is this gonna be. Really boring and no one's going to care about it. Cause they're like, who cares about this boring ancient stuff? So that's very exciting.

W: Yeah. At least for me, I've read so many dissertations, even outside of like rhetoric and composition or like tech comm or anything like that.I, I like reading people's dissertations, if anything, to give it a little bit more rhetorical velocity beyond just the dissertation committee. So yeah, totally. And hopefully other people will want to read it as well.

E: Thank you! Good on you for saying that. Yes. And it's my hope like I was talking about earlier, you know, it's my hope that rhetoric as a field begins to gain some velocity beyond rhetoric as a field. I think we import a lot and I have talked about this with other people, certainly too. And I talked about it kind of in my, my dissertation in short, but like we import a lot and it seems like people aren't really conversant with our work and that's not necessarily just an us problem. Certainly, we're a newer discipline, right? So people aren't as familiar with it as they are, as, you know, say the classics, right, which has been around since the disciplines kind of emerged, but I want to start helping rhetoric gain some traction and saying, you know, rhetoric can be useful to people in Jewish studies, to people in biblical studies, people who do Bible as literature with never right. Rhetoric is useful. And not that like use is the only reason to do something, but yeah, I mean, I think it's, it's really, really cool—very good of you, that you, you give those pieces traction. And my hope is that this continued work will, will maybe get rhetoric a little bit more traction because I think that's something as a field we're trying to attend to more.

W: Right. Totally. Well, again, thank you for talking to us—me and the listeners— about your work. Did you have any social media or a website that you would like our listeners to look up to learn more about you or your work?

E: Sure! You can visit my very inactive Twitter page at Eliza Gellis, E-L-I-Z-A G-E-L-L-IS. You'll also find my website link there, it’s Eliza Gellis dot Weebly dot com. One of the best ways to get in touch with me, I do get Twitter DMs. I get those notifications, or you can just reach out to me via email. You can reach me at E Gellis—E-G-E-L-L-I-S at Purdue, P-U-R-D-U-E dot E-D-U. And I would love to hear from folks. So thank you again for this really amazing opportunity. And for doing the podcast in general, you are doing really, really good work.

W: Thank you! I'm hoping. Yeah. Well, again, thank you for your time and have a great day!

E: Thank you, you too! And say hi to your cat for me!

W: I will, well she’s screaming in the back right now. [laughter]

E: Well, okay, yeah she like attention now!

[outro music plays]

W: Thanks for listening! You can find out more about this and other episodes at tellmemorepod.com, where you’ll also find transcripts for each episode. The opening and closing theme song is “Metre'' by Slow Alarm. Music licensed under an Attribution, Non-commercial, Share Alike License, and special thanks to Slow Alarm for providing the music free of charge. You can learn more about Slow Alarm at nultielrecords.blogspot.com. Be well!