Press Room

Celebrating Independence Day: Communication Scholars Available to Discuss the Evolving Meaning and Displays of Patriotism

June 27, 2018
Experts Available
Free Speech, Political

Flag Day has just passed and the Fourth of July approaches as the debate in the rages about what it means to be a U.S. patriot in turbulent and polarized times. The ongoing controversy over athletes kneeling during the National Anthem, the immigration crisis, geopolitical unrest, and a growing movement to #resist in the face of social injustice all present opportunities to reframe and redefine patriotism for the modern age. Several National Communication Association members are available to weigh in on this conversation.


Teresa Bergman, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Communication, University of the Pacific

Bergman’s research focuses on the changing representations of nationalism, patriotism, and citizenship in the exhibits and documentary films in public history sites and memorials. She is the author of the award-winning book, Exhibiting Patriotism: Creating and Contesting Interpretations of American Historic Sites (2013), and received the Pacific Fund Grant for research on “Commemorating Women: Contemporary Patriotic Memorials in the United States” in 2015. Her new book, Commemoration of Women in the U.S.: Remembering Women in Public Space, will be available in 2019.

Michael J. Steudeman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Director of Effective Communication, Penn State University

Steudeman’s research examines the history of American oratory and political campaigns with a focus on the rhetoric of public education. His current project explores the role of education policy in rebuilding American culture after the Civil War. His work has been published in Communication Quarterly, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and History of Education Quarterly. Steudeman has previously written about the history of July 4 as a day of resistance

Leslie A. Hahner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Communication, Baylor University

Hahner interrogates how rhetoric shapes public culture. She is the author of To Become an American: Immigrants and Americanization Campaigns of the Early Twentieth Century, a book that explores how Americanization lessons transformed patriotism during the early twentieth century in ways that continue to impact displays of national devotion. Based on research from this book, she penned newspaper articles on the changing symbolism of Flag Day. Hahner has also been published in Argumentation & AdvocacyCritical Studies in Media CommunicationThe Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies.

Kumi Silva, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Silva’s research is at the intersections of feminism, identity and identification, post-colonial studies, and popular culture. She is the author of Brown Threat: Identification in the Security State (2016) and co-editor of Feminist Erasures: Challenging Backlash Culture (2015). Her work has appeared in Social Identities, South Asian Popular Culture, and Cultural Studies, and she has also published book chapters on race, global media, and film.


To schedule an interview with any of these experts, please contact Jenna Sauber at or 202-534-1104.

About the National Communication Association

The National Communication Association (NCA) advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among our faculties, within our membership, in the workplace, and in the classroom; NCA supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion.

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