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 an associate professor of communication at the University of New Hampshire. She received her Ph.D. in speech communication from Penn State University in 2002. Her research emphasizes the intersection of rhetorical scholarship, feminist studies, and media criticism, and is particularly concerned with how the media functions politically, socially, historically, and economically. Her scholarship has appeared in the Western Journal of Communication, Women’s Studies in Communication, the Anthology Rhetoric and Reform in the Progressive Era and the forthcoming collection The Rhetoric of the New Political Documentary.

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