The phrase “War on Terror” has quietly been retired from official usage, but it persists in the American psyche, and our understanding of it is hardly complete. Nor will it be, W. J. T Mitchell argues, without a grasp of the images that it spawned, and that spawned it.
Exploring the role of verbal and visual images in the War on Terror, Mitchell finds a conflict whose shaky metaphoric and imaginary conception has created its own reality. At the same time, Mitchell locates in the concept of clones and cloning an anxiety about new forms of image-making that has amplified the political effects of the War on Terror. Cloning and terror, he argues, share an uncanny structural resemblance, shuttling back and forth between imaginary and real, metaphoric and literal manifestations. In Mitchell’s startling analysis, cloning terror emerges as the inevitable metaphor for the way in which the War on Terror has not only helped recruit more fighters to the jihadist cause but undermined the American constitution with “faith-based” foreign and domestic policies.
Bringing together the hooded prisoners of Abu Ghraib with the cloned stormtroopers of the Star Wars saga, Mitchell draws attention to the figures of faceless anonymity that stalk the ever-shifting and unlocatable “fronts” of the War on Terror. A striking new investigation of the role of images from our foremost scholar of iconology, Cloning Terror will expand our understanding of the visual legacy of a new kind of war and reframe our understanding of contemporary biopower and biopolitics.
Gerald M. Phillips draws on his twenty-five-year, five-thousand-client experience with the Pennsylvania State University Reticence Program to present a new theory of modification of “inept” communication behavior.
That experience has convinced Phillips that communication is arbitrary and rulebound rather than a process of inspiration. He demonstrates that communication problems can be described as errors that can be detected and classified in order to fit a remediation pattern. Regardless of the source of error, the remedy is to train the individual to avoid or eliminate errors—thus, orderly procedure will result in competent performance.
Inept communicators must be made aware of the obligations and constraints imposed by deep structures that require us to achieve a degree of formal order in our language, without which our discourse becomes incomprehensible.
In The Ethics and Politics of Speech, Pat J. Gehrke provides an accessible yet intensive history of the speech communication discipline during the twentieth century. Drawing on several previously unpublished or unexamined sources—including essays, conference proceedings, and archival documents—Gehrke traces the evolution of communication studies and the dilemmas that often have faced academics in this field. In his examination, Gehrke not only provides fresh perspectives on old models of thinking; he reveals new methods for approaching future studies of ethical and political communication.
Gehrke begins his history with the first half of the twentieth century, discussing the development of a social psychology of speech and an ethics based on scientific principles, and showing the importance of democracy to teaching and scholarship at this time. He then investigates the shift toward philosophical—especially existential—ways of thinking about communication and ethics starting in the 1950s and continuing through the mid-1970s, a period associated with the rise of rhetoric in the discipline. In the chapters covering the last decades of the twentieth century, Gehrke demonstrates how the ethics and politics of communication were directed back onto the practices of scholarship within the discipline, examining the increased use of postmodern and poststructuralist theories, as well as the new trend toward writing original theory, rather than reinterpreting the past. In offering a thorough history of rhetoric studies, Gehrke sets the stage for new questions and arguments, ultimately emphasizing the deeply moral and political implications that by nature embed themselves in the field of communication.
More than simply a history of the discipline's major developments, The Ethics and Politics of Speech is an account of the philosophical and moral struggles that have faced communication scholars throughout the last century. As Gehrke explores the themes and movements within rhetoric and speech studies of the past, he also provides a better understanding of the powerful forces behind the forging of the field. In doing so, he reveals history’s potential to act as a vehicle for further academic innovation in the future.
In Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits, author Anna M. Young proposes that the difficulty of bridging the gap between intellectuals and the public is not a failure of ideas; rather, it is an issue of rhetorical strategy. By laying a rhetorical foundation and presenting analytical case studies of contemporary “public intellectuals,” Young creates a training manual for intellectuals who seek to connect with a public audience and effect change writ large.
Young begins by defining key aspects of rhetorical style before moving on to discuss the specific ways in which intellectuals may present ideas to a general audience in order to tackle large-scale social problems. Next, she defines the ways in which five crucial turning points in our nation—the rise of religious fundamentalism, a growing lack of trust in our institutions, the continued destruction of the environment, the ubiquity of media and information in our daily lives, and the decline of evidence-based reasoning—have set the stage for opportunities in the current public-intellectual dialogue.
Via case studies of such well-known personalities as Deepak Chopra and Professor Cornel West, Young goes on to reveal the six types of public intellectuals who achieve success in presenting scholarly ideas to audiences at large:
The Prophet presents the public’s sins for contemplation, then offers a path to redemption.
The Guru shepherds his or her flock to enlightenment and a higher power.
The Sustainer draws upon our natural and human resources to proffer solutions for social, political, and ecological systems.
The Pundit utilizes wit and brevity to bring crucial issues to the attention of the public.
The Narrator combines a variety of perspectives to create a story the average person can connect with and understand.
The Scientist taps into the dreams of the public to offer ideas from above and beyond the typical scope of public discourse.
At once a rallying cry and roadmap, The Politics of Thinking Out Loud draws upon rhetorical expertise and analysis of contemporary public intellectuals to offer a model for scholars to effectively engage the public—and in doing so, perhaps forever change the world in which we live.
The movement was met with violent repression. Participants were imprisoned, tortured, and even killed. Lynn Stephen emphasizes the crucial role of testimony in human rights work, indigenous cultural history, community and indigenous radio, and women's articulation of their rights to speak and be heard. She also explores transborder support for APPO, particularly among Oaxacan immigrants in Los Angeles. The book is supplemented by a website featuring video testimonials, pictures, documents, and a timeline of key events.
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