NCA Bookshelf

Profiles of new and notable books written by Communication scholars

 

Levinas’s Rhetorical Demand

Levinas’s Rhetorical Demand

Ronald C. Arnett
Southern Illinois University Press, 2017

Philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics as first philosophy explicates a human obligation and responsibility to and for the Other that is an unending and imperfect commitment. In Levinas’s Rhetorical Demand: The Unending Obligation of Communication Ethics, Ronald C. Arnett underscores the profundity of Levinas’s insights for communication ethics.

Arnett outlines communication ethics as a primordial call of responsibility central to Levinas’s writing and mission, analyzing it through a Levinasian lens with examination of social artifacts ranging from the Heidegger-Cassirer debate to Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World story concerning illicit possession of information.

Levinas’s Rhetorical Demand offers an account of Levinas’s project and the pragmatic implications of attending to a call of responsibility to and for the Other. This book yields a rich and nuanced understanding of Levinas’s work, revealing the practical importance of his insights, and including a discussion of related theorists and thinkers.

This book is the winner of the 2017 NCA Communication Ethics Division’s Top Single-Author Book of the Year Award, and the 2017 NCA Philosophy of Communication Division’s Distinguished Book Award.

Ronald C. Arnett is the chair of and a professor in the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University and the Patricia Doherty Yoder and Ronald Wolfe Endowed Chair in Communication Ethics. He is the author or coauthor of eleven books, including Communication Ethics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt’s Rhetoric of Warning and Hope, which received the 2013 Top Book Award from the Communication Ethics Division of the National Communication Association, and Dialogic Confession: Bonhoeffer’s Rhetoric of Responsibility, which received the 2006 Everett Lee Hunt Award from the Eastern Communication Association. He is also a 2017 NCA Distinguished Scholar.

The Public Image

The Public Image

Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites
The University of Chicago Press, 2016

Even as the media environment has changed dramatically in recent years, one thing at least remains true: photographs are everywhere. From professional news photos to smartphone selfies, images have become part of the fabric of modern life. And that may be the problem. Even as photography bears witness, it provokes anxieties about fraudulent representation; even as it evokes compassion, it prompts anxieties about excessive exposure. Parents and pundits alike worry about the unprecedented media saturation that transforms society into an image world. And yet a great news photo can still stop us in our tracks, and the ever-expanding photographic archive documents an era of continuous change.

By confronting these conflicted reactions to photography, Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites make the case for a fundamental shift in understanding photography and public culture. In place of suspicions about the medium’s capacity for distraction, deception, and manipulation, they suggest how it can provide resources for democratic communication and thoughtful reflection about contemporary social problems.

This book was the recipient of the 2017 NCA Visual Communication Division’s Diane Hope Book of the Year Award, the 2017 NCA Public Address Division’s Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award, and the Carl Couch Center’s Bruce E. Gronbeck Political Research Award.

Robert Hariman is a Professor in Northwestern University’s School of Communication. His scholarship focuses on the role of public art and artistry in human affairs, particularly with regard to political judgment and the discursive constitution of modern society.

John Louis Lucaites is a Professor of Rhetoric and Public Culture at Indiana University. His research conerns the general relationship between rhetoric and social/political theory, with focuses on the role of photojournalism as a mode of “public art,” and the relationship between race and U.S. social and political identity.

Gendered Asylum

Gendered Asylum

Sara L. McKinnon
University of Illinois Press, 2016

Women filing gender-based asylum claims long faced skepticism and outright rejection within the United States immigration system. Despite erratic progress, the United States still fails to recognize gender as an established category for experiencing persecution. Gender exists in a sort of limbo segregated from other aspects of identity and experience.

Sara L. McKinnon exposes racialized rhetorics of violence in politics and charts the development of gender as a category in American asylum law. Starting with the late 1980s, when gender-based requests first emerged in case law, McKinnon analyzes gender- and sexuality-related cases against the backdrop of national and transnational politics. Her focus falls on cases as diverse as Guatemalan and Salvadoran women sexually abused during the Dirty Wars and transgender asylum seekers from around the world fleeing brutally violent situations. She reviews the claims, evidence, testimony, and message strategies that unfolded in these legal arguments and decisions, and illuminates how legal decisions turned gender into a political construct vulnerable to American national and global interests. She also explores myriad related aspects of the process, including how subjects are racialized and the effects of that racialization, and the consequences of policies that position gender as a signifier for women via normative assumptions about sex and heterosexuality.

Wide-ranging and rich with human detail, Gendered Asylum uses feminist, immigration, and legal studies to engage one of the hotly debated issues of our time.

This book is the winner of the 2017 Bonnie Ritter Outstanding Feminist Book Award, NCA Feminist & Women Studies Division.

Sara L. McKinnon is an associate professor of rhetoric, politics, and culture in the Department of Communication Arts and affiliate faculty in global studies and gender and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is also the author of Text + Field: Innovations in Rhetorical Method (Penn State Press).

 

The Naked Blogger of Cairo

The Naked Blogger of Cairo

Marwan M. Kraidy
Harvard University Press, 2016

Uprisings spread like wildfire across the Arab world from 2010 to 2012, fueled by a desire for popular sovereignty. In Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere, protesters flooded the streets and the media, voicing dissent through slogans, graffiti, puppetry, videos, and satire that called for the overthrow of dictators and the regimes that sustained them.

Investigating what drives people to risk everything to express themselves in rebellious art, The Naked Blogger of Cairo uncovers the creative insurgency at the heart of the Arab uprisings. While commentators have stressed the role of social media, Marwan M. Kraidy shows that the essential medium of political expression was not cell phone texts or Twitter but something more fundamental: the human body. Brutal governments that coerced citizens through torture and rape found themselves confronted with the bodies of protesters, burning with defiance and boldly violating taboos. Activists challenged authority in brazen acts of self-immolation, nude activism, and hunger strikes. The bodies of dictators became a focus of ridicule. A Web series presented Syria’s Bashar al-Assad as a pathetic finger puppet, while cartoons and videos spread a meme of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak as a regurgitating cow.

The rise of digital culture complicates our understanding of the human body in revolutionary times. As Kraidy argues, technology publicizes defiance, but the body remains the vital nexus of physical struggle and digital communication, destabilizing distinctions between “the real world” and virtual reality, spurring revolutionary debates about the role of art, and anchoring Islamic State’s attempted hijacking of creative insurgency.

This book is the winner of the 2017 Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award in NCA’s Political Communication Division.

Marwan M. Kraidy is Marwan M. Kraidy is Professor of Communication, the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture, and the Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, where he is also affiliated with the Middle East Center. A scholar of global communication and an authority on Arab media, politics and culture, he studies the relationship between culture and geopolitics, theories of identity and modernity, and global media systems and industries. Kraidy is currently an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

 

U.S. Media and Migration

U.S. Media and Migration: Refugee Oral Histories

Sarah C. Bishop
Routledge, 2016

Using oral history, ethnography, and close readings of media, Sarah C. Bishop probes the myriad and sometimes conflicting ways refugees interpret and use mediated representations of life in the United States. Guided by 74 refugee narrators from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, and Somalia, U.S. Media and Migration explores answers to questions such as: What does one learn from media about an unfamiliar place? How does media help or hinder refugees' sense of belonging after relocation? And how does the U.S. government use media to shape refugees' understanding of American norms, standards, and ideals? With insights from refugees and resettlement administrators throughout, Bishop provides a compelling and layered analysis of the interaction between refugees and U.S. media before, during, and long after resettlement.

This book is the winner of the 2017 Outstanding Book Award from the NCA International and Intercultural Communication Division, and the 2017 Sue DeWine Book Award from the NCA Applied Communication Division.

Sarah C. Bishop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College, City University of New York. Bishop’s research considers the interaction of media and migration. Much of her published work pertains to the ways immigrants, refugees, and sojourners use and are portrayed in media throughout intercultural transitions. At Baruch, Bishop teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in Intercultural Communication, Privilege and Difference, and Digital Media Culture.

 

Engaging Theories

Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication, 2nd Ed.

Edited by Dawn O. Braithwaite and Paul Schrodt
Sage Publishing, 2014

Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication: Multiple Perspectives highlights key theories used to guide interpersonal communication research. The Second Edition features 30 theory chapters written by leading scholars in interpersonal communication, including new coverage of evolutionary theories, Problematic Integration Theory, supportive communication theories, Theory of Motivated Information Management, critical approaches to interpersonal communication, and Media Multiplexity Theory. Each theory chapter follows the same structure to help readers easily find and compare information across theories. An updated introductory chapter maps the history and the current state of interpersonal communication theory since publication of the first edition, based on comprehensive analysis of published scholarship. Presenting both classic and cutting-edge issues, the book organizes theories into three clusters—theories that are individually-centered; theories that are focused on discourse and interaction processes; and theories that examine how communication functions in personal relationships. All authors interweave abstract theoretical concepts with concrete examples in order to maximize readability and comprehension.

This book is the winner of the 2017 NCA Gerald R. Miller Book Award.

Dawn O. Braithwaite, Willa Cather professor and department chair at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studies how people in personal and family relationships communicate and manage family change and challenges. Her research centers on communication in understudied and changing families, communication rituals, and dialectics of relating in stepfamilies and among voluntary (fictive) kin. She is a past president of NCA.

Paul Schrodt is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Communication Studies, at Texas Christian University. His work focuses on family communication and interpersonal communication, communicative cognitions and behaviors that facilitate family relationships, and message strategies and behaviors that facilitate stepfamily functioning.

 

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Prison Power

Lisa M. Corrigan
University Press of Mississippi, 2016

In the black liberation movement, imprisonment emerged as a key rhetorical, theoretical, and media resource. Imprisoned activists developed tactics and ideology to counter white supremacy. Lisa M. Corrigan underscores how imprisonment--a site for both political and personal transformation--shaped movement leaders by influencing their political analysis and organizational strategies. Prison became the critical space for the transformation from civil rights to Black Power, especially as southern civil rights activists faced setbacks.

Black Power activists produced autobiographical writings, essays, and letters about and from prison beginning with the early sit-in movement. Examining the iconic prison autobiographies of H. Rap Brown, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Assata Shakur, Corrigan conducts rhetorical analyses of these extremely popular though understudied accounts of the Black Power movement. She introduces the notion of the “Black Power vernacular” as a term for the prison memoirists’ rhetorical innovations, to explain how the movement adapted to an increasingly hostile environment in both the Johnson and Nixon administrations.

Through prison writings, these activists deployed narrative features supporting certain tenets of Black Power, pride in blackness, disavowal of nonviolence, identification with the Third World, and identity strategies focused on black masculinity. Corrigan fills gaps between Black Power historiography and prison studies by scrutinizing the rhetorical forms and strategies of the Black Power ideology that arose from prison politics. These discourses demonstrate how Black Power activism shifted its tactics to regenerate, even after the FBI sought to disrupt, discredit, and destroy the movement.

Prison Power is one of the winners of the 2017 NCA Diamond Anniversary Book Award.

Lisa Corrigan is an Associate Professor of Communication, Director of the Gender Studies Program, and Affiliate Faculty in both African & African American Studies and Latin American Studies in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. She is a feminist rhetorical scholar who researches and teaches in the areas of social movement studies, the Black Power and civil rights movement, prison studies, feminist studies, the Cold War, and the history of public address. 

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Urban Renewal and Resistance: Race, Space, and the City in the Late Twentieth to the Early Twenty-First Century

Mary E. Triece
Lexington Books, 2016

Mary Triece’s book examines how urban spaces are rhetorically constructed through discourses that variously justify or resist processes of urban growth and renewal. This book combines insights from critical geography, urban studies, and communication to explore how urban spaces, like Detroit and Harlem, are rhetorically structured through neoliberal discourses that mask the racialized nature of housing and health in American cities. The analysis focuses on city planning documents, web sites, media accounts, and draws on insights from personal interviews in order to pull together a story of city growth and its consequences, while keeping an eye on the ways city residents continue to confront and resist control over their communities through counter-narratives that challenge geographies of injustice. Recommended for scholars of communication studies, journalism, sociology, geography, and political science.

Urban Renewal and Resistance is one of the winners of the 2017 NCA Diamond Anniversary Book Award.

Mary E. Triece is a professor in the School of Communication at the University of Akron. Her research focuses on women's protest rhetoric of the twentieth century. In 2008, Triece's book, On the Picket Line, won the Bonnie Ritter Award. She is a three-time recipient of the University of Akron Summer Faculty Fellowship. In March 2010, Triece was the Roseanne L. Hoefel Women’s Studies Scholar-in-Residence at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. Triece has twice been named a Favorite Faculty by the University of Akron's National Residence Hall.

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Abstinence Cinema

Casey Ryan Kelly
Rutgers University Press, 2016

From the perspective of cultural conservatives, Hollywood movies are cesspools of vice, exposing impressionable viewers to pernicious sexually-permissive messages. Offering a groundbreaking study of Hollywood films produced since 2000, Abstinence Cinema comes to a very different conclusion, finding echoes of the evangelical movement’s abstinence-only rhetoric in everything from Easy A to Taken.

Casey Ryan Kelly tracks the surprising sex-negative turn that Hollywood films have taken, associating premarital sex with shame and degradation, while romanticizing traditional nuclear families, courtship rituals, and gender roles. As he demonstrates, these movies are particularly disempowering for young women, concocting plots in which the decision to refrain from sex until marriage is the young woman’s primary source of agency and arbiter of moral worth. Locating these regressive sexual politics not only in expected sites, like the Twilight films, but surprising ones, like the raunchy comedies of Judd Apatow, Kelly makes a compelling case that Hollywood films have taken a significant step backward in recent years. 

Abstinence Cinema offers close readings of movies from a wide spectrum of genres, and it puts these films into conversation with rhetoric that has emerged in other arenas of American culture. Challenging assumptions that we are living in a more liberated era, the book sounds a warning bell about the powerful cultural forces that seek to demonize sexuality and curtail female sexual agency.   

Reviewer and Communication scholar Bonnie J. Dow says, “Smart textual analysis and informed feminist critique make Abstinence Cinema a welcome addition to scholarship that takes popular culture seriously for its participation in the struggles of contemporary public life."

Abstinence Cinema won the NCA 2016 Diane Hope Book of the Year Award, Visual Communication Division.

Casey Ryan Kelly is an associate professor of critical communication and media studies at Butler University, in Indianapolis, Indiana. His research has appeared in journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Text and Performance Quarterly, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and Communication, Culture and Critique, among others. Kelly’s scholarship focuses on critical rhetorics of race, gender, and masculinity in the U.S., and his next book project, tentatively titled Apocalypse Man: Toxic Masculinity and the Rhetoric of Doomsday Prepping, examines the recent mainstreaming of survivalist discourse - television, films, prepper conventions, news, manifestos - in US public culture and how its violent ethos of male warriorism stokes fantasies of the end times.

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Watching Women’s Liberation 1970

Bonnie J. Dow
University of Illinois Press, 2016

In 1970, ABC, CBS, and NBC -- the “Big Three” of the pre-cable television era -- discovered the feminist movement. From the famed sit-in at Ladies’ Home Journal to multi-part feature stories on the movement's ideas and leaders, nightly news broadcasts covered feminism more than in any year before or since, bringing women's liberation into American homes.

In Watching Women's Liberation, 1970: Feminism's Pivotal Year on the Network News, Bonnie J. Dow uses case studies of key media events to delve into the ways national TV news mediated the emergence of feminism's second wave. First legitimized as a big story by print media, the feminist movement gained broadcast attention as the networks’ eagerness to get in on the action was accompanied by feminists’ efforts to use national media for their own purposes. Dow chronicles the conditions that precipitated feminism's new visibility and analyzes the verbal and visual strategies of broadcast news discourses that tried to make sense of the movement.

Groundbreaking and packed with detail, Watching Women's Liberation, 1970 shows how feminism went mainstream--and what it gained and lost on the way.

Watching Women’s Liberation received the NCA 2016 Outstanding Feminist Book Award, Feminist & Women’s Studies Division.

Bonnie J. Dow is the College of Arts and Sciences divisional dean of humanities, professor and chair of communication studies, and professor of women's and gender studies at Vanderbilt University. She is the also the author of Prime-Time Feminism: Television, Media Culture, and the Women's Movement Since 1970. Dow’s research interests include the rhetoric and representation of the first and second waves of feminism in the United States. She is currently serving as NCA’s Publications Board Director.

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Reclaiming Queer: Activist and Academic Rhetorics of Resistance

Erin J. Rand
University of Alabama Press, 2014

Reclaiming Queer is an examination of the rhetorical linkage of queer theory in the academy with street-level queer activism in the 1980s and early 1990s. In Reclaiming Queer, Erin J. Rand examines both queer activist and academic practices during this period, taking as her primary object the rhetorical linkage of queer theory in the academy with street-level queer activism. Through this strategic conjuncture of activism and academia, Rand grapples with the specific conditions for and constraints on rhetorical agency in each context. She examines the early texts that inaugurated the field of queer theory, Queer Nation’s infamous “Queers Read This” manifesto, Larry Kramer’s polemic speeches and editorials, the Lesbian Avengers’ humorous and outrageous antics, the history of ACT UP, and the more recent appearance of Gay Shame activism. From these activist and academic discourses, Rand builds a theory of rhetorical agency that posits queerness as the very condition from which agency emerges.

Reclaiming Queer thus offers a critical look at the rhetoric of queer activism, engages the history of queer theory’s institutionalization and the politics of its proliferation, suggests a radically contextual understanding of rhetorical agency and form, and argues for the centrality of queerness to all rhetorical action.

Reclaiming Queer was winner of the NCA 2015 Book of the Year Award, Critical and Cultural Studies division.

Erin J. Rand is an associate professor of communication and rhetorical studies and affiliated with LGBT Studies at Syracuse University. Her research focuses on resistance and rhetorical agency in activist and social movement discourses. Her work has appeared in the Quarterly Journal of SpeechRhetoric and Public AffairsCommunication and Critical/Cultural Studies, the Western Journal of Communication, and Women’s Studies in Communication.

Of Remixology book cover

Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display

Jennifer Tyburczy
University of Chicago Press, 2015

In Sex Museums, Jennifer Tyburczy takes a hard look at the formation of Western sexuality—particularly how categories of sexual normalcy and perversity are formed—and asks what role museums have played in using display as a technique for disciplining sexuality. Most museum exhibits, she argues, assume that white, patriarchal heterosexuality and traditional structures of intimacy, gender, and race represent national sexual culture for their visitors. Sex Museums illuminates the history of such heteronormativity at most museums and proposes alternative approaches for the future of public display projects, while also offering the reader curatorial tactics—what she calls queer curatorship—for exhibiting diverse sexualities in the twenty-first century.

Reviewer Susan Stryker, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona, says of the book: “Tyburczy’s Sex Museums hits the sweet hot spot between sexuality studies and museum studies to offer a smart analysis of the politics of the erotic in the public sphere.”

Sex Museums was the winner of the 2016 NCA GLBTQ Studies Division Book of the Year Award, and is a 2017 Lambda Literary Awards winner (LGBT Studies).

Jennifer Tyburczy is Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on the display of visual, popular, and material culture in museums and the global flow of sexual objects across mapped and symbolic borders, particularly throughout North America, Latin America, and Western Europe. In addition to her work as a teacher and a writer, Tyburczy is also a performance artist and a curator.

Creating Conservatism book cover

Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words That Made an American Movement

Michael J. Lee
Michigan State University Press, 2014

Creating Conservatism charts the vital role of canonical post–World War II (1945–1964) books in generating, guiding, and sustaining conservatism as a political force in the United States. Dedicated conservatives have argued for decades that the conservative movement was a product of print, rather than a march, a protest, or a pivotal moment of persecution. Taking an expansive approach, the author documents the wide influence of the conservative canon on traditionalist and libertarian conservatives. By exploring the varied uses to which each founding text has been put from the Cold War to the culture wars, Creating Conservatism generates original insights about the struggle over what it means to think and speak conservatively in America.

In a review for American Studies Journal, Seth J. Bartee writes, “Michael J. Lee has written one of the most important books about the creation of the conservative movement in the United States to date. Creating Conservatism is a work that seeks to understand conservatism from the perspective of the canonical texts that defined it.”

Creating Conservatism received the 2015 NCA Diamond Anniversary Book Award, the NCA Winans-Wichelns Award, the 2015 Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism, and the 2015 Bruce E. Gronbeck Political Communication Research Award.

Michael J. Lee is an Associate Professor at the College of Charleston, where he teaches and researches in the areas of rhetoric and political communication. His essays have been published in such journals as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Feminist Media Studies, and the Journal of Applied Communication Research. Mike has also given frequent media interviews on a number of political topics.

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Of Remixology

David J. Gunkel

Remix—or the practice of recombining preexisting content—has proliferated across media both digital and analog. Fans celebrate it as a revolutionary new creative practice; critics characterize it as a lazy and cheap (and often illegal) recycling of other people’s work. In Of Remixology, David Gunkel argues that to understand remix, we need to change the terms of the debate. The two sides of the remix controversy, Gunkel contends, share certain underlying values—originality, innovation, artistic integrity. And each side seeks to protect these values from the threat that is represented by the other. In reevaluating these shared philosophical assumptions, Gunkel not only provides a new way to understand remix, he also offers an innovative theory of moral and aesthetic value for the twenty-first century.

Of Remixology received the NCA Communication Ethics Division’s 2016 Top Single-Author Book of the Year Award.

David J. Gunkel is Distinguished Teaching Professor and Professor of Communication Technology at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of Hacking Cyberspace, Thinking Otherwise: Philosophy, Communication, Technology and Of Remixology: Ethics and Aesthetics After Remix (MIT Press).

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Sexting Panic: Rethinking Criminalization, Privacy, and Consent

Amy Adele Hasinoff
University of Illinois Press, 2015

Sexting Panic illustrates that anxieties about technology and teen girls' sexuality distract from critical questions about how to adapt norms of privacy and consent for new media. Though mobile phones can be used to cause harm, Amy Adele Hasinoff notes that the criminalization and abstinence policies meant to curb sexting often fail to account for distinctions between consensual sharing and malicious distribution. Challenging the idea that sexting inevitably victimizes young women, Hasinoff argues for recognizing young people's capacity for choice and encourages rethinking the assumption that everything digital is public. Timely and engaging, Sexting Panic analyzes the debates about sexting while recommending realistic and nuanced responses.

In a review for Journal of Communication, Stephanie Patrick writes, "In an age of heightened concern over rape culture and sexualization in the media, Amy Adele Hasinoff's (2015) Sexting Panic is one of the most insightful, concise, and necessary works to emerge in recent feminist media studies.”

Sexting Panic received the 2016 NCA Diamond Anniversary Book Award.

Amy Hasinoff is Assistant Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado-Denver, where she conducts research and teaches in new media and media studies with an emphasis on gender and sexuality. Her work appears in Communication and Critical Cultural Studies, New Media & Society, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and Feminist Media Studies. Sexting Panic examines the construction of sexting as a social problem and the responses to it in mass media, law, and education.

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Making Photography Matter: A Viewer’s History from the Civil War to the Great Depression

Cara A. Finnegan
University of Illinois Press, 2015

Photography became a dominant medium in cultural life starting in the late nineteenth century. As it happened, viewers increasingly used their reactions to photographs to comment on and debate public issues as vital as war, national identity, and citizenship. Finnegan analyzes a wealth of newspaper and magazine articles, letters to the editor, trial testimony, books, and speeches produced by viewers in response to specific photos they encountered in public. From the portrait of a young Lincoln to images of child laborers and Depression-era hardship, Finnegan treats the photograph as a locus for viewer engagement and constructs a history of photography's viewers that shows how Americans used words about images to participate in the politics of their day. As she shows, encounters with photography helped viewers negotiate the emergent anxieties and crises of U.S. public life through not only persuasion but action as well.

Photography became a dominant medium in cultural life starting in the late nineteenth century. As it happened, viewers increasingly used their reactions to photographs to comment on and debate public issues as vital as war, national identity, and citizenship. Finnegan analyzes a wealth of newspaper and magazine articles, letters to the editor, trial testimony, books, and speeches produced by viewers in response to specific photos they encountered in public. From the portrait of a young Lincoln to images of child laborers and Depression-era hardship, Finnegan treats the photograph as a locus for viewer engagement and constructs a history of photography's viewers that shows how Americans used words about images to participate in the politics of their day. As she shows, encounters with photography helped viewers negotiate the emergent anxieties and crises of U.S. public life through not only persuasion but action as well.

"Finnegan's work offers an important addition to a growing body of scholarship on the impact of reading photography as a means of understanding the state of the nation."-- American Historical Review

Making Photography Matter received the 2016 NCA James A. Winans and Herbert A. Wilchens Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, and the 2015 Outstanding Book of the Year Award from the NCA Visual Communication Division.

Cara Finnegan is Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois. She holds affiliated appointments in the Center for Writing Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and Art History, and a Conrad Humanities Professorship in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Finnegan's research examines the role of photography as a tool for public life. Her book-length projects are best described as rhetorical histories of photography, in that she variously examines the production, composition, circulation, and reception of photographs at specific moments in U.S. history. Finnegan currently holds a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship in support of her book project, American Presidents and the History of Photography from the Daguerreotype to the Digital Age.

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The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation

Darrel Wanzer-Serrano
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015

The Young Lords was a multi-ethnic, though primarily Nuyorican, liberation organization that formed in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) in July of 1969. Responding to oppressive approaches to the health, educational, and political needs of the Puerto Rican community, the movement’s revolutionary activism included organized protests and sit-ins targeting such concerns as trash pickups and lead paint hazards. The Young Lords advanced a 13-point political program that demanded community control of their institutions and land and challenged the exercise of power by the state and outsider-run institutions.

In his "landmark history" of this movement, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano details the numerous community initiatives that advanced decolonial sensibilities in El Barrio and beyond. In The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, Wanzer-Serrano crafts an account of the Young Lords’ discourse and activism from archival research and interviews. He rescues the organization from historical obscurity and makes an argument for its continued relevance, enriching and informing contemporary discussions about Latino/a politics. As Wanzer-Serrano notes on the Temple University Press Blog (North Philly Notes). "I craft a critical-interpretive history of the Young Lords to help introduce them to a broader audience. Beyond the historical point, the book is also an effort to enrich our understandings of decolonial praxis and its potentials. Decolonial theory —especially as engaged by scholars from Latin American and Latin@ contexts — has evolved well over the last couple of decades. I believe it can be pushed further via engagement of particulars, of the grounded ways in which people and groups seek to delink from modernity/coloniality in their lived environments."

Calling The New York Young Lords "thoroughly documented" and "well-contextualized," Lehman College's Andres Torres notes that Wanzer-Serrano "draws from oral histories and memoirs to argue that the Young Lords, at their best, represented a creative and principled effort at uplifting society’s marginalized peoples. The writing attains eloquence and innovatively situates the Young Lords’ experience in recent social movements literature."

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The Material Gene: Gender, Race, and Heredity after the Human Genome Project

Kelly E. Happe
New York: NYU Press, 2013

In 2000, the National Human Genome Research Institute announced the completion of a “draft” of the human genome, the sequence information of nearly all 3 billion base pairs of DNA. Since then, interest in the hereditary basis of disease has increased considerably.    

In The Material Gene, Kelly E. Happe considers the broad implications of this development by treating “heredity” as both a scientific and political concept. Beginning with the argument that eugenics was an ideological project that recast the problems of industrialization as pathologies of gender, race, and class, the book traces the legacy of this ideology in contemporary practices of genomics. Delving into the discrete and often obscure epistemologies and discursive practices of genomic scientists, Happe maps the ways in which the hereditarian body, one that is also normatively gendered and racialized, is the new site whereby economic injustice, environmental pollution, racism, and sexism are implicitly reinterpreted as pathologies of genes and by, extension, the bodies they inhabit. Comparing genomic approaches to medicine and public health with discourses of epidemiology, social movements, and humanistic theories of the body and society, The Material Gene reworks our common assumption of what might count as effective, just, and socially transformative notions of health and disease.    

Writing in New Genetics and Society, Jorg Niewohner writes that "social inquiry has been concerned with the consequences of renewed vigor and depth with which biological knowledge has been shaping life itself." With this book, Niewohner concludes, Happe "carries forward this important set of concerns." Happe's book is "ground-breaking" says Julie Guthman in Society and Space; it is "wonderful to think with," and Happe makes a "significant contribution to the evolving literature on race, gender, biopolitics, and bioscience."

The Material Gene received the 2014 Diamond Anniversary Book Award from the National Communication Association as "the most outstanding scholarly book published during the previous two years."

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The Border Crossed Us: Rhetorics of Borders, Citizenship, and Latino/a Identity

Josue David Cisneros
Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2014

The Border Crossed Us explores efforts to restrict and expand notions of U.S. citizenship as they relate specifically to the U.S.-Mexico border and Latina/o identity.

Borders and citizenship go hand in hand. Borders define a nation as a territorial entity and create the parameters for national belonging. But the relationship between borders and citizenship breeds perpetual anxiety over the purported sanctity of the border, the security of a nation, and the integrity of civic identity.

In The Border Crossed Us, Josue David Cisneros addresses these themes as they relate to the U.S.-Mexico border, arguing that issues ranging from the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848 to contemporary debates about Latina/o immigration and border security are negotiated rhetorically through public discourse. He explores these rhetorical battles through case studies of specific Latina/o struggles for civil rights and citizenship, including debates about Mexican American citizenship in the 1849 California Constitutional Convention, 1960s Chicana/o civil rights movements, and modern-day immigrant activism.

Cisneros posits that borders—both geographic and civic—have crossed and recrossed Latina/o communities throughout history (the book’s title derives from the popular activist chant, “We didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us!”) and that Latina/os in the United States have long contributed to, struggled with, and sought to cross or challenge the borders of belonging, including race, culture, language, and gender.

The Border Crossed Us illuminates the enduring significance and evolution of U.S. borders and citizenship, and provides programmatic and theoretical suggestions for the continued study of these critical issues. Writing about Cisneros's work, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano notes that “The Border Crossed Usmakes a unique and significant contribution to rhetorical studies and Latina/o studies by advancing an inclusive theoretical focus on the border and the intersections between rhetoric, borders, belonging, and Latinidad. The specific case studies provide a welcome breadth of textual material that will appeal to Latina/o rhetorical and communication scholars from myriad methodological orientations.”

On the Frontier of Science book cover

On the Frontier of Science: An American Rhetoric of Exploration and Exploitation

Leah Ceccarelli
East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2013

“The frontier of science” is a metaphor that has become ubiquitous in American rhetoric, from its first appearance in the public address of early 20th century American intellectuals and politicians who aligned a mythic national identity with scientific research, to its more recent use in scientists’ arguments in favor of increased research funding.

In On the Frontier of Science: An American Rhetoric of Exploration and Exploitation, Leah Ceccarelli explores what is selected and what is deflected when this metaphor is deployed, its effects on those who use it, and what rhetorical moves are made by those who try to counter its appeal. In her research, Ceccarelli discovers that “the frontier of science” evokes a scientist who is typically male, a risk taker, an adventurous loner—someone separated from a public that both envies and distrusts him, with a manifest destiny to penetrate the unknown. It conjures a competitive desire to claim the riches of a new territory before others can do the same. Closely reading the public address of scientists and politicians and the reception of their audiences, this book shows how the frontier of science metaphor constrains American speakers, helping to guide the ends of scientific research in particular ways and sometimes blocking scientists from attaining the very goals they set out to achieve.

Calling Ceccarelli's book "an outstanding model of what the next generation of rhetorical criticism can contribute to society," the University of Georgia's Celeste Condit credits Ceccarelli with creating "a broad and deep understanding of the variegated potentials of this metaphor and [using] that understanding to offer alternatives for the rhetorical construction of the futures of science in the context of globalization.” Carolyn Miller says thatOn the Frontier of Science "shows us why the rhetorical nature of science matters, and how it works." For Miller, this study "is characteristically purposeful, meticulous, and lucid, with careful attention to the burden of proof [Ceccarelli] bears for a multidisciplinary readership in public address, rhetoric of science, and science studies.”

Repeatedly calling On the Frontier of Science "fascinating," Catherine Newell, writing in Science, notes that "One of the book's most powerful lessons is the possibility that the frontier metaphor creates a culture of science that 'sees science as a contest for territory' rather than a global and collaborative effort."

Leah Ceccarelli is Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on interdisciplinary and public discourse about science. She also explores metacritical issues surrounding rhetorical inquiry as a mode of research. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American Public Address, Public Debate, Rhetorical Criticism, Classical Rhetoric, and Rhetoric of Science. She helps coordinate Washington's Science Studies Network. She serves on the editorial boards of Rhetoric & Public Affairs and Philosophy & Rhetoric, is Vice Chair of the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association, serves on the Publications Committee of the Western States Communication Association, and is Co-Editor of Transdisciplinary Rhetoric (a book series sponsored by the Rhetoric Society of America and Penn State University Press).