NCA Bookshelf

Profiles of new and notable books written by Communication scholars

 

Laying Claim: African American Cultural Memory and Southern Identity

Laying Claim: African American Cultural Memory and Southern Identity

Patricia Davis
University of Alabama Press

This book identifies the Civil War as the central narrative around which official depictions of southern culture have been defined. Because that narrative largely excluded African American points of view, the resulting southern identity was monolithically white. Davis traces how the increasing participation of black public voices in the realms of Civil War memory—battlefields, museums, online communities—has dispelled the mirage of “southernness” as a stolid cairn of white culture and has begun to create a more fluid sense of southernness that welcomes contributions by all of the region’s peoples.

Laying Claim offers insightful and penetrating examinations of African American participation in Civil War reenactments; the role of black history museums in enriching representations of the Civil War era with more varied interpretations; and the internet as a forum within which participants exchange and create historical narratives that offer alternatives to unquestioned and dominant public memories. From this evolving cultural landscape, Davis demonstrates how simplistic caricatures of African American experiences are giving way to more authentic, expansive, and inclusive interpretations of southernness.

This book is the winner of the 2018 NCA Critical/Cultural Studies Division’s Outstanding Book Award.

Davis is an Associate Professor of Communication at Georgia State University.

Autoethnography and the Other Unsettling Power Through Utopian Performatives

The Bad Sixties: Hollywood Memories of the Counterculture, Antiwar, and Black Power Movements

Kristen Hoerl
University Press of Mississippi

This book explores the ongoing interest in the turmoil of the 1960s and clearly demonstrates how these social conflicts continue to affect contemporary politics. Hoerl focuses on fictionalized portrayals of 1960s activism in popular television and film, showing how Hollywood has perpetuated politics deploring the detrimental consequences of the 1960s on traditional American values. During the decade, people collectively raised fundamental questions about the limits of democracy under capitalism. But Hollywood has proved dismissive, if not adversarial, to the role of dissent in fostering progressive social change. Film and television are salient resources of shared understanding for audiences born after the 1960s because movies and television programs are the most accessible visual medium for observing the decade's social movements. Hoerl indicates that a variety of television programs, such as Family Ties, The Wonder Years, and Law and Order, along with Hollywood films, including Forrest Gump, have reinforced images of the "bad sixties." These stories portray a period in which urban riots, antiwar protests, sexual experimentation, drug abuse, and feminism led to national division and moral decay. Hoerl suggest these messages supply distorted civics lessons about what we should value and how we might legitimately participate in our democracy.

This book earned Kristen Hoerl the 2018 Best Book Award from NCA’s American Studies Division.

Kristen Hoerl is Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Public Culture in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

To Become an American Immigrants and Americanization Campaigns of the Early Twentieth Century

To Become an American: Immigrants and Americanization Campaigns of the Early Twentieth Century

Leslie A. Hahner
Michigan State University Press, 2017

Pledging allegiance, singing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” wearing a flag pin—these are all markers of modern patriotism, emblems that announce the devotion of American citizens. Most of these nationalistic performances were formulized during the early twentieth century and driven to new heights by the panic surrounding national identity during World War I. In To Become an American Leslie A. Hahner argues that, in part, the Americanization movement engendered the transformation of patriotism during this period. Americanization was a massive campaign designed to fashion immigrants into perfect Americans—those who were loyal in word, deed, and heart. The larger outcome of this widespread movement was a dramatic shift in the nation’s understanding of Americanism. Employing a rhetorical lens to analyze the visual and aesthetic practices of Americanization, Hahner contends that Americanization not only tutored students in the practices of citizenship but also created a normative visual metric that modified how Americans would come to understand, interpret, and judge their own patriotism and that of others.

In her review of the book, Cara A. Finnegan wrote, “This historically grounded, conceptually rich book will be welcomed by scholars across the humanities interested in exploring the often problematic ways that institutions seek to teach us who we are and what we should value as citizens.”

This book earned Leslie Hahner the 2018 NCA James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address.

Leslie Hahner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Baylor University. Her work explores how rhetoric shapes public culture, primarily by analyzing the ways visual artifacts and experiences constitute aesthetic values. Her work has appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Argumentation and Advocacy, among many other outlets.

Autoethnography and the Other Unsettling Power Through Utopian Performatives

Autoethnography and the Other: Unsettling Power Through Utopian Performatives

Tami Spry
Routledge, 2016

Challenging the critique of autoethnography as overly focused on the self, Tami Spry calls for a performative autoethnography that both unsettles the "I" and represents the Other with equal commitment. Expanding on her popular book Body, Paper, Stage, Spry uses a variety of examples, literary forms, and theoretical traditions to reframe this research method as transgressive, liberatory, and decolonizing for both self and Other. Her book:

  • draws on her own autoethnographic work with jazz musicians, shamans, and other groups;
  • outlines a utopian performative methodology to spur hope and transformation;
  • provides concrete guidance on how to implement this innovative methodological approach.

This book earned Tami Spry the 2018 NCA Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies.

Tami Spry is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at St. Cloud State University.

Manoucheka Celeste Race Gender and Citizenship in the African Diaspora

Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the African Diaspora: Travelling Blackness

Manoucheka Celeste
Routledge, 2017

With the exception of slave narratives, there are few stories of black international migration in U.S. news and popular culture. This book is interested in stratified immigrant experiences, diverse black experiences, and the intersection of black and immigrant identities. Citizenship as it is commonly understood today in the public sphere is a legal issue, yet scholars have done much to move beyond this popular view and situate citizenship in the context of economic, social, and political positioning. The book shows that citizenship in all of its forms is often rhetorically, representationally, and legally negated by blackness and considers the ways that blackness, and representations of blackness, impact one’s ability to travel across national and social borders and become a citizen. This book is a story of citizenship and the ways that race, gender, and class shape national belonging, with Haiti, Cuba, and the United States as the primary sites of examination.

This book received the 2018 NCA Diamond Anniversary Book Award.

Manoucheka Celeste is Assistant Professor of Women's & Gender and African American Studies at the University of Florida.

Laura Weinrib The Taming of Free Speech

The Taming of Free Speech: America’s Civil Liberties Compromise

Laura Weinrib
Harvard University Press, 2016

In this strikingly original history, Laura Weinrib illustrates how a surprising coalition of lawyers and activists made judicial enforcement of the Bill of Rights a defining feature of American democracy.

The Taming of Free Speech traces our understanding of civil liberties to conflict between 1910 and 1940 over workers’ right to strike. As self-proclaimed partisans in the class war, the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union promoted a bold vision of free speech that encompassed unrestricted picketing and boycotts. Over time, however, they subdued their rhetoric to attract adherents and prevail in court. At the height of the New Deal, many liberals opposed the ACLU’s litigation strategy, fearing it would legitimize a judiciary they deemed too friendly to corporations and too hostile to the administrative state. Conversely, conservatives eager to insulate industry from government regulation pivoted to embrace civil liberties, despite their radical roots. The resulting transformation in constitutional jurisprudence—often understood as a triumph for the Left—was in fact a calculated bargain.

America’s civil liberties compromise saved the courts from New Deal attack and secured free speech for labor radicals and businesses alike. Ever since, competing groups have clashed in the arena of ideas, shielded by the First Amendment.

This book earned Laura Weinrib the 2018 NCA Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression.

Laura Weinrib is a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Michael Osborn on Metaphor and Style

Michael Osborn on Metaphor and Style

Michael Osborn
Michigan State University Press, 2018

This volume features two dimensions of Michael Osborn’s work with rhetorical metaphor. The first focuses on his early efforts to develop a conception of metaphor to advance the understanding of rhetoric, while the second concerns more recent efforts to apply this enriched conception in the analysis and criticism of significant rhetorical practice. The older emphasis features four of Osborn’s more prominent published essays, revealing the personal context in which they were generated, their strengths and shortcomings, and how they may have inspired the work of others. His more recent unpublished work analyzes patterns of metaphor in the major speeches of Demosthenes, the evolution of metaphors of illness and cure in speeches across several millennia, the exploitation of the birth-death-rebirth metaphor in Riefenstahl’s masterpiece of Nazi propaganda Triumph of the Will, and the contrasting forms of spatial imagery in the speeches of Edmund Burke and Barack Obama and what these contrasts may portend.

“This book is Michael Osborn at his best,” according to Mary Stuckey, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University. “It’s a wonderful read that everyone interested in metaphor should have in their library.”

Michael Osborn is Professor Emeritus at the University of Memphis, and a past president of NCA (when it was known as the Speech Communication Association). He has been a recipient of the NCA's Golden Anniversary Monograph Award, the Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award, the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award, the Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award, the T. Earle Johnson–Edwin Paget Award, and the Distinguished Research Award from the University of Memphis.  

Gender Equality and Work-Life Balance

Gender Equality and Work-Life Balance

Sarah Blithe
Routledge, 2015

Gender Equality and Work-Life Balance describes the work-life practices of men in the United States. The purpose is to increase gender equality at work for all employees. With a focus on leave policy inequalities, this book argues that men experience a phenomenon called "the glass handcuffs," which prevents them from leaving work to participate fully in their families, homes, and other life events, highlighting the cultural, institutional, organizational, and occupational conditions which make gender equality in work-life policy usage difficult. This social justice book ultimately draws conclusions about how to minimize inequalities at work.

This book is the winner of the 2017 NCA Organizational Communication Division’s Book of the Year Award.

Sarah Blithe is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research interests focus on the role that discourse and communication play in shaping our social identities and organizational policies.

How Postmodernism Explains Football and Football Explains Postmodernism: The Billy Clyde Conundrum

How Postmodernism Explains Football and Football Explains Postmodernism: The Billy Clyde Conundrum

Robert Kerr
Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

American football and postmodernist theory are both objects of popular and scholarly interest that reveal remarkable sociological insights. Analysis of media-driven commercial football documents how narratives of sportsmanship/brutality, heroism/antiheroism, athleticism/self-indulgence, honor/chicanery, and chivalry/sexism compete and thrive.

This book is the winner of the 2017 NCA Communication & Sport Division's Outstanding Book Award.

Robert Kerr is Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor at Gaylord College, University of Oklahoma, where he focuses on the First Amendment, free speech, and related legal and public-policy issues.

Risky Rhetoric: AIDS and the Cultural Practices of HIV Testing

Risky Rhetoric: AIDS and the Cultural Practices of HIV Testing

J. Blake Scott
Southern Illinois University Press, 2003

Risky Rhetoric: AIDS and the Cultural Practices of HIV Testing is the first book-length study of the rhetoric inherent in and surrounding HIV testing. In addition to providing a history of HIV testing in the United States from 1985 to the present, J. Blake Scott explains how faulty arguments about testing’s power and effects have promoted unresponsive and even dangerous testing practices for so-called healthy subjects as well as those deemed risky. A new afterword to the paperback edition discusses changes in testing technology, treatments, and public health responses in the last ten years. The ultimate goal of Risky Rhetoric is to offer strategies to policy makers, HIV educators and test counselors, and other rhetors for developing more responsive and egalitarian testing-related rhetorics and practices.

This book is the winner of the 2017 NCA Health Communication Division's Distinguished Book Award.

J. Blake Scott is a Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Central Florida, where his research focuses on the rhetoric of health and medicine.

Health Communication & Breast Cancer Among Black Women: Culture, Identity, Spirituality, and Strength

Health Communication & Breast Cancer Among Black Women: Culture, Identity, Spirituality, and Strength

Annette D. Madlock Gatison
Lexington Books, 2016

This book addresses how the discourse of strength constructs the identity of Black women even during times of chronic illness through the lens of Black feminist thought and womanist ideology. In doing so, Madlock Gatison explores how the narratives surrounding pink ribbon awareness and survivorship culture, religion and spirituality, and the myth of the strong Black woman impact Black female breast cancer survivors’ self-perceptions, views others had of them, and their ability to express their needs and concerns including those involving their healthcare. This book will be of interest to scholars of public health, health communication, and sociology.

This book is the winner of the 2016 NCA African American Communication & Culture Division’s Outstanding Book Award.

Annette D. Madlock Gatison is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Networked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life in Tunisia

Networked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life in Tunisia

Mohamed Zayani
Oxford University Press, 2015

How is the adoption of digital media in the Arab world affecting the relationship between the state and its subjects? What new forms of online engagement and strategies of resistance have emerged from the aspirations of digitally empowered citizens in the Middle East and North Africa? Networked Publics and Digital Contention narrates the story of the co-evolution of technology and society in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab uprisings. It explores the emergence of a digital culture of contention that helped networked publics negotiate their lived reality, reconfigure power relations, and ultimately redefine the locus of politics. It broadens the focus from narrow debates about the role that social media played in the Arab uprisings toward a fresh understanding of how changes in media affect the state-society relationship over time. Based on extensive fieldwork, in-depth interviews with Internet activists, and immersive analyses of online communication, this book draws our attention away from the tools of political communication and refocuses it on the politics of communication. An original contribution to the political sociology of media, Networked Publics and Digital Contention provides a unique perspective on how networked Arab publics reimagine citizenship, reinvent politics, and produce change.

This book is the winner of the 2017 NCA Applied Communication Divisoin’s Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award.

Mohamed Zayani is Associate Professor of Critical Theory at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and Director of the Media and Politics Program. His works include The Al Jazeera Phenomenon: Critical Perspectives on New Arab Media and The Culture of Al Jazeera: Inside an Arab Media Giant.

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.

 

Prison Power book cover

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. 

Urban Renewal and Resistance book cover

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.

Reclaiming Queer book cover

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.

Watching Women's Liberation book cover

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.

Reclaiming Queer book cover

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.