POROI: Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry

The Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI) is an interdisciplinary institute for research and public engagement housed at the Obermann Center at the University of Iowa. Its mission is to explore how scholarship and professional discourses are conducted through argument, how paradigms of knowledge are sensitive to social-political contexts, and how the presentation of scholarly and professional findings involves the recognition and negotiation of audiences.

Since its founding in 1980, POROI has provided resources for strengthening academic inquiry and scholarship in the arts, humanities, sciences and professions.  It is especially interested in communicative opportunities and problems that arise at the intersections between disciplines as well as between academia and diverse publics.  In these respects, POROI applies the art of rhetoric to the conduct of inquiry. Its concerns range from the invention and construction of arguments to a marked interest in how discourse is interpreted, received, and disseminated in both technical and public spheres of argumentation.  POROI is a constituent participant in Iowa’s Writing University Initiative.


Executive Director

Naomi Greyser
Rhetoric; English

Executive Committee

David Hingstman
Communication Studies

Kembrew McLeod
Communication Studies

Board of Directors

David Cunning

David Depew, Emeritus
POROI; Communication Studies

Frank Durham
School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gigi Durham
School of Journalism and Mass Communication

James Elmborg
School of Information and Library Science

Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz
Communication Studies

Jiyeon Kang
Communication Studies

John Nelson
Political Science

Takis Poulakos

James Throgmorton, Emeritus
School of Urban and Regional Planning

Julian Vamanu
School of Library and Information Science

Deborah Whaley
American Studies, Program in African American Studies


Founding Members

Deirdre McCloskey
Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communications, University of Illinois at Chicago

Allan Megill
Professor of History, University of Virginia

John Nelson
Political Science