Beyond Poetry vs. Prose: The Rhetorical Primary


Program Description:

This presentation is a context-ualized a discussion of Presidential candidates Clinton and Obama’s rhetorical style/vision in a more historical accounting of the concept of the rhetorical presidency. The term rhetorical presidency is borrowed from Jeffrey Tulis’s book of the same name, in which he argues that the role of the presidency has changed dramatically in the last 100 years with the president’s role now very rhetorical and closely connected to the people. By considering the role of the presidency within the context of the relationship between presidential discourse, the media, and politics in a democratic society, the presidency then may be viewed as a rhetorical institution. This rhetorical perspective on this institution is significant because the president’s words and ideas have the ability to motivate people to action; to provide a rationale and justification for political decisions; to foster communities within the U.S. and the world; and to ethically set a moral tone for who we are as a nation.


Jennifer Borda

Jennifer L. Borda is Associate Professor of Communication, specializing in rhetoric, feminist studies, and online deliberation. She is author of Women Labor Activists in the Movies: Nine Depictions of Workplace Organizers, 1954-2005 (McFarland Publishers, 2010) and co-editor of the The Motherhood Business: Consumption, Communication, and Privilege (University of Alabama Press, 2015). Her scholarship has appeared in various academic journals and scholarly anthologies, including Text & Performance Quarterly, Feminist Media Studies, Women’s Studies in Communication, and Communication Quarterly. Her current research focuses on how discourse and ideologies about women, work, motherhood, and identity have been constructed and institutionalized through the mass media and more recently challenged and re-visioned through various sites of online deliberation.

Other topics offered by Jennifer Borda