|Tuesday, April 19th|
2:00 PM - 2:15 PM
After its public reputation was tarnished by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, British Petroleum attempted to repair its public image by resignifying many of its previous campaign commitments through several rhetorical strategies, including personae, enthymemes and especially ideographs. In August 2012, BP released a video advertisement, “BP’s Commitment to America,” which constituted a dramatic shift from the video advertising campaigns that BP employed prior to the spill. In previous campaigns, BP portrayed itself as an ecologically conscientious company through the use of “green” ideographs. In “BP’s Commitment to America,” the energy giant abandoned this strategy, portraying itself as a company aligned with American values through the ideograph of “America” in order to foster identification with American consumers. I analyze and employ McGee’s conception of the ideograph to examine the effect of this strategy on BP’s public image.
2:15 PM - 2:30 PM
After years of stigma, socialism has new currency in the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist. In interviews and public appearances, Sanders has attempted to resignify what it means to be a Democratic Socialist. Sanders’ candidacy brings to the forefront clashing interpretations of socialism. While his ability to maneuver around the modern political landscape is telling, a more fascinating consideration is what the current election cycle will mean for socialism. I argue that Bernie Sanders is resignifying socialism. He does so by rejecting the existing construct of the term socialism and reframing socialism in a modern context. The origins of socialism’s construction is not explicitly stated by Sanders. This strategic omission is a rhetorically powerful technique. Why is socialism stigmatized, and who perpetuates and benefits from these stigmas? Sanders enthymematically explores these questions in his interviews and speeches.
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
In September 2015, Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders gave a speech at Liberty University, the evangelical school founded in 1971 by conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell. Unlike the crowds of avid supporters that attended Sanders’ rallies in Portland or Seattle, the audience at Liberty University was much more skeptical. I show how Sanders employed two key rhetorical strategies to find common ground with the Liberty University community. First, he focused the attention of his primarily Christian audience on religious identity rather than on partisan political views. Second, he framed his liberal political platform in terms that would appeal to Christians, namely, the language of the Bible, morality, and justice. Finally, I discuss the implications of this analysis on broader partisan political discourse in the United States.
2:45 PM - 3:00 PM
I explore the rhetorical significance of an image from the popular photoblog, Humans of New York. The image is of a young boy, clearly distressed and crying, The caption reads: “I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me.” I focus on how this image generates pathos in individuals. My argument is threefold: how the image works rhetorically, how the caption works rhetorically, and how, together, image and caption have the potential to create change and pathos in individuals. My discussion ranges from the persona the photographer has created for the boy to what the boy is wearing to potential reasons why individuals might identify with the boy to issues of LBGTQ representation in the media. I unpack why, especially in this circumstance, visual and verbal rhetoric as a duet have significant impact on pathos in people.
3:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Current discourse within Islamic communities frequently emphasizes the importance of the global Muslim community, or umma, and the importance of maintaining this network. Historically, connections within the umma have been established and reinforced through kinship ties and trade partnerships. With the advent of the Internet age, Muslims have used online tools to connect further with members of the global Muslim community. At the same time, American discourse increasingly discusses Muslims in the United States within the monolithic identity category of “Muslim Americans.” At the intersection of these two trends, young Muslims in the United States are going online to discuss, navigate and perform their identities. Through interviews with young U.S. Muslims, I explore how Muslim millennials navigate the multiple dimensions of their identities, and how their interactions over social media influence, aid or hinder this navigation.