Press Room

Communication Scholars Available to Discuss Biden Inaugural Address

January 14, 2021
Experts Available

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States and will deliver his inaugural address. The National Communication Association can put reporters in touch with leading scholars of presidential rhetoric who are well-versed in the history of inaugural addresses and their role in U.S. politics. These experts are well-equipped to address a variety of questions about this year’s historic inauguration and swearing-in including: 

  • How does the January 6 Capitol insurrection change the context in which Joe Biden will speak? 
  • What might the new President hope to accomplish through his inaugural address? 
  • How does this inaugural address compare to such historical addresses as President Lincoln’s second address prior to the end of the Civil War?
  • How might the ongoing pandemic and pared-down ceremony affect how we remember this historic moment? 
  • How might President Biden address concerned publics outside the United States?  

These experts will also be featured on the January 28th episode of Communication Matters: The NCA Podcast, which will address some historical inaugural addresses, as well as President Biden’s address and Kamala Harris’ historic swearing-in. 


Stephen Browne, Ph.D. 
Liberal Arts Professor of Rhetoric, and Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Browne is a rhetorical critic with particular interests in public memory, social movements, and early America. Browne’s most recent book is The First Inauguration: George Washington and the Invention of the Republic. Browne is also the author of The Ides of War: George Washington and the Newburgh Crisis; Jefferson’s Call for Nationhood: The First Inaugural Address; Angelina Grimke: Rhetoric, Identity, and the Radical Imagination; and Edmund Burke and the Discourse of Virtue. Browne has been named an NCA Distinguished Scholar and was the recipient of NCA’s Diamond Anniversary Book Award and Karl Wallace Memorial Award.

Theon Hill, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor of Communication, Wheaton College

Dr. Hill’s research explores African American rhetoric, race and ethnicity, the Obama presidency, and political rhetoric, specifically the relationship between rhetoric and social change related to race, culture, and American politics. Hill has examined the role of radical rhetoric as a crucial form of civic engagement and public advocacy. Hill has also written on Barack Obama’s 2007 campaign speech in Selma, Alabama, as well as on Christian identity in the United States and American civil religion, including a chapter in the edited volume The Rhetoric of American Civil Religion: Symbols, Sinners, and Saints

John Murphy, Ph.D.
Professor of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Murphy studies the history of American Public Address and political rhetoric and is the author of John F. Kennedy and the Liberal Persuasion, a critique of President Kennedy's greatest speeches and the liberal tradition. Murphy studies the evolution of political language and also has written on Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King. Jr., George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Murphy’s commentary on the presidency and presidential rhetoric regularly appears in media outlets such as The Conversation, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and USA Today

Allison Prasch, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Prasch is a scholar of U.S. presidential rhetoric, foreign policy, and the Cold War. Prasch has authored book chapters and journal articles analyzing the rhetoric of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Currently, Prasch is completing a book manuscript entitled The Global Rhetorical Presidency: Cold War Rhetoric on the World Stage, which examines how U.S. presidents have used their rhetoric overseas to extend the United States’ global influence, expand the reach of presidential power in foreign affairs, and bolster their own image at home and abroad.


To schedule an interview with any of these experts, please contact Grace Hébert 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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