Publications by the faculty of the Department of Communication Studies.
Places of Public Memory
Though we live in a time when memory seems to be losing its hold on communities, memory remains central to personal, communal, and national identities. And although popular and public discourses from speeches to films invite a shared sense of the past, official sites of memory such as memorials, museums, and battlefields embody unique rhetorical principles.
Places of Public Memory: The Rhetoric of Museums and Memorials is a sustained and rigorous consideration of the intersections of memory, place, and rhetoric. From the mnemonic systems inscribed upon ancient architecture to the roadside accident memorials that line America’s highways, memory and place have always been deeply interconnected. This book investigates the intersections of memory and place through nine original essays written by leading memory studies scholars from the fields of rhetoric, media studies, organizational communication, history, performance studies, and English. The essays address, among other subjects, the rhetorical strategies of those vying for competing visions of a 9/11 memorial at New York City’s Ground Zero; rhetorics of resistance embedded in the plans for an expansion of the National Civil Rights Museum; representations of nuclear energy—both as power source and weapon—in Cold War and post–Cold War museums; and tours and tourism as acts of performance.
By focusing on “official” places of memory, the collection causes readers to reflect on how nations and local communities remember history and on how some voices and views are legitimated and others are minimized or erased.
For the 1st time in Spanish Lawrence Grossberg gives his astounding opinion of the study of international cultural society. His thoughts are characterized by his communication with the modern world and the alternatives to today’s society including music, popular culture and North American Youth.
Virtual reality is in the news and in the movies, on TV and in the air. Why is the technology — or the idea — so prevalent precisely now? What does it mean — what does it do — to us? Digital Sensations looks closely at the ways representational forms generated by communication technologies — especially digital/optical virtual technologies — affect the “lived” world.
Virtual reality, or VR, is a technological reproduction of the process of perceiving the real; yet that process is “filtered” through the social realities and embedded cultural assumptions about human bodies, perception, and space held by the technology’s creators.
Through critical histories of the technology — of vision, light, space, and embodiment — Ken Hillis traces the various and often contradictory intellectual and metaphysical impulses behind the Western transcendental wish to achieve an ever more perfect copy of the real. Because virtual technologies are new, these histories also address the often unintended and underconsidered consequences — such as alienating new forms of surveillance and commodification — flowing from their rapid dissemination. Current and proposed virtual technologies reflect a Western desire to escape the body Hillis says.
Exploring topics from VR and other, earlier visual technologies, Hillis’s penetrating perspective on the cultural power of place and space broadens our view of the interplay between social relations and technology.
Online a Lot of the Time
A wedding ceremony in a Web-based virtual world. Online memorials commemorating the dead. A coffee klatch attended by persons thousands of miles apart via webcams. These are just a few of the ritual practices that have developed and are emerging in online settings. Such Web-based rituals depend on the merging of two modes of communication often held distinct by scholars: the use of a device or mechanism to transmit messages between people across space, and a ritual gathering of people in the same place for the performance of activities intended to generate, maintain, repair, and renew social relations. In Online a Lot of the Time, Ken Hillis explores the stakes when rituals that would formerly have required participants to gather in one physical space are reformulated for the Web. In so doing, he develops a theory of how ritual, fetish, and signification translate to online environments and offer new forms of visual and spatial interaction. The online environments Hillis examines reflect the dynamic contradictions at the core of identity and the ways these contradictions get signified.
Hillis analyzes forms of ritual and fetishism made possible through second-generation virtual environments such as Second Life and the popular practice of using webcams to “lifecast” one’s life online twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Discussing how people create and identify with their electronic avatars, he shows how the customs of virtual-world chat reinforce modern consumer-based subjectivities, allowing individuals to both identify with and distance themselves from their characters. His consideration of web-cam cultures links the ritual of exposing one’s life online to a politics of visibility. Hillis argues that these new “rituals of transmission” are compelling because they provide a seemingly material trace of the actual person on the other side of the interface.
Organizational Communication Studies
Bringing together prominent scholars in the field of organizational communication to examine the relationship between difference and organizing, this book explores the concept in a comprehensive and systematic way. Part I explores numerous ways in which difference can be critically examined as a communicative phenomenon; Part II addresses how best to teach difference, including pragmatic recommendations for explaining the topic and making it relevant to students’ lives; and Part III broadly examines difference as a central construct in applied organizational communication research. Ultimately, the book serves to carve out a new agenda for studies of difference and organization, and it challenges instructors and students alike to think about and explore difference in a more complex and productive manner.
Reworking Gender: A Feminist Communicology of Organization examines the place of gender and feminist scholarship in contemporary critical organization studies. Departing from the common view of gender as a specialized branch of organization scholarship, authors Dennis K. Mumby and Karen Lee Ashcraft reposition feminism in a communication-centered model that integrates recent developments in feminist, critical, and postmodern organizational studies. Linking theory to practical projects, the authors address many of the complex and often contradictory concerns of critical organizational scholarship, including issues of discourse, subjectivity, power, race, and class.
The University Against Itself
The essays in this book, written by people involved either involved in the strike (graduate students, faculty, organizers) or who are nationally recognized writers on academic labor, offers lessons on what the GSOC strike says about the current role of the university in public life, and how the pressure for universities to realign themselves along the lines of private corporations has broad implications for the future of higher education.
Communication of Hate
This book sets out to explore how hate comes alive in language and actions by examining the nature and persuasive functions of hate in American society. Hate speech may be used for many purposes and have different intended consequences. It may be directed to intimidate an out-group, or to influence the behavior of in-group members. But how does this language function? What does it accomplish? The answers to these questions are addressed by an examination of the communicative messages produced by those with hateful minds. Beginning with an examination of the organized hate movement, the book provides a critique of racist discourse used to recruit and socialize new members, construct enemies, promote valued identities, and encourage ethnoviolence. The book also examines the strategic manipulation of hatred in our everyday lives by politicians, political operatives, and media personalities. Providing a comprehensive overview of hate speech, the book ends by describing the desirable features of an anti-hate discourse that promotes respect for social differences.