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The Aesthetic Goes Down With The Ship: How the Volatile Music Industry Has Undermined an Established Indie Aesthetic

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The project analyzes the history of indie music and culture, and how the aesthetic has been undermined by the modern music industry. The project discusses rhetorical theory on the nature of publics, including group identification through rhetorical discourse as expressed through indie culture.

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2013-05

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Between Remembering and Forgetting: US Public Memory of the Frontier in Buildings, Objects, and Videogames

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This dissertation examines the “remembering-forgetting dialectic,” or a common assumption that remembering and forgetting are antithetical acts with opposing values in a public (Blair et al 18). More specifically, it examines this dialectic within the context of settler colonialism, which

This dissertation examines the “remembering-forgetting dialectic,” or a common assumption that remembering and forgetting are antithetical acts with opposing values in a public (Blair et al 18). More specifically, it examines this dialectic within the context of settler colonialism, which other scholars have noted is marked by the pervasive “forgetting” (Shotwell 37) and “erasure” (Stuckey 232) of the violent, genocidal acts that enabled a settler-colonial nation to develop. To examine this dialectic’s appearance and high stakes in that “forgetting” epistemic context, I analyzed US public memory of the Frontier, a historic space that references the United States’ settler-colonial westward expansion and a symbolic space that has lasting ties to hegemonic constructions of American civic identity. To do so, I ask, What does public memory of the Frontier suggest about the remembering-forgetting dialectic? To address this research aim, I analyzed three sites that engage in Frontier memory work: (1) the Foy Proctor Historical Park, an outdoor exhibit focused on ranching history at the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas; (2) Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience, an exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona that documents the experiences of American Indian students who attended off-reservation boarding schools; and (3) The Oregon Trail, a videogame that simulates a mid-nineteenth century pioneer’s journey across the Frontier. In my analysis, I identified the site’s public memory narrative, discussed how the site rhetorically builds that narrative, and considered the site’s efforts to encourage visitors to identify with the portrayed history. My results show that: (1) the Foy Proctor Historical Park perpetuates a settler-colonial narrative through its rhetorical invention of a Frontier landscape, (2) Remembering Our Indian School Days challenges the “forgetting” and “erasure” of settler-colonial memory through extensive documentation efforts, and (3) The Oregon Trail reproduces an interactive, settler-colonial narrative by positioning players into role-playing as pioneers. I ultimately argue common assumptions about the functionality of remembering and forgetting in a public do not account for the epistemic complexity shown within these sites; the remembering-forgetting dialectic thus remains a significant topic in public memory studies.

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2021

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The Rhetoric of Reasonableness: Hóf in Civic and Legal Rhetoric of the Medieval Scandinavians

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Rather than being the lawless barbarian society that history and popular culture have painted it, medieval Scandinavian culture was more complex and nuanced. This dissertation interrogates the use of a rhetoric of reasonableness (hóf) in the medieval Nordic society to

Rather than being the lawless barbarian society that history and popular culture have painted it, medieval Scandinavian culture was more complex and nuanced. This dissertation interrogates the use of a rhetoric of reasonableness (hóf) in the medieval Nordic society to give voice to this silenced tradition. Specifically, this research focuses on the use of rhetoric in civic and legal settings to show that medieval Scandinavians were more interested in reasonable solutions than unreasonable ones.

Civic rhetoric among the medieval Nordic people relied heavily on hóf to keep civic practice manageable. Working in small towns and villages without central bureaucracies, reasonableness became important to the functioning of the village. Large scale disruptions could mean the death of all inhabitants in the area due to social disruption if violence occurred, so finding reasonable means of dealing with social problems was of paramount importance to the Norse. Using readings and analysis from the Icelandic sagas, I show the mechanisms of their rhetoric were used to manage civic life.

Legal rhetoric was also based on reasonableness. If civic actions became violent or potentially violent, then the courts needed a way to redress and maintain the peace in the area. The practice of law was heavily influenced by the rhetorical stance of hóf. The Scandinavian tradition of court cases appears in their early laws and in several sagas which allows a picture to be created of their rhetorical stance of reasonableness in the law cases. Analysis of historical data and saga manuscripts give evidence of a rhetorical tradition of reasonable redress in the legal system.

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2020