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In 1978-1979 Vitanza received a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship-in-Residence to work with Richard Emerson Young at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) on the topic of "Rhetorical Invention." Other participants included Sharon Bassett, James A. Berlin, Lisa Ede, David Fractenberg, Robert P. Inkster, Charles Kneupper, Sam Watson, Jr., Vickie Winkler, and william Nelson. Other participating colleagues included Peter Becker, Linda Flower, and Janice Lauer, all important figures in the field of Rhetoric and Composition.
Vitanza went on to found and publish the quarterly journal PRE/TEXT (1980-). Along with Cynthia Haynes, Vitanza started the E-journal, Pre/Text: Electra(Lite) and created an on-line forum called Re/Inter/View listserv that currently has over 500 members. The month-long archived discussions hosted a range of figures from rhetoric and composition and elsewhere including Noam Chomsky, Jane Gallop, Sharon Crowley, and Geoffrey Sirc.
Formerly at University of Texas at Arlington (1982–2005), Vitanza works in Media and Communication Philosophy, but that work also finds him teaching summer seminars at the European Graduate School (EGS) in (Saas-Fee, Switzerland), where he holds the Jean-Francois Lyotard Chair. Previously he earned his second PhD at EGS under the title "Chaste Rape: Sexual Violence, Canon Formation, and Rhetorical Cultures" (director, Wolfgang Schirmacher; readers, Alain Badiou and Giorgio Agamben).
Negation, Subjectivity, and The History of Rhetoric (1997) is the title of Vitanza's first book. His efforts are large-scale re-assessments of the sense of negation that Kenneth Burke helps define. Vitanza's efforts extend to a reconsideration of other figures important to rhetorical historiography such as Susan Jarrett, Edward Schiappa, and John Poulakos. Through it all, Vitanza seeks a movement from (negative) possibilities and probabilities to (denegated) incompossibilities (counter-factual, co-extensive possibilities).