Matching Items (9)

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Power in Memory: A study of American history and oral tradition in the Arizona Territory

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The history of Arizona is filled with ambitious pioneers, courageous Natives, and loyal soldiers, but there is a seeming disconnect between those who came before us and many of those who currently inhabit this space. Many historic locations that are

The history of Arizona is filled with ambitious pioneers, courageous Natives, and loyal soldiers, but there is a seeming disconnect between those who came before us and many of those who currently inhabit this space. Many historic locations that are vital to discovering the past in Arizona are both hard to find and lacking in information pertaining to what happened there. However, despite the apparent lack of history and knowledge pertaining to these locations, they are vitally present in the public memory of the region, and we wish to shed some much-needed light on a few of these locations and the historical takeaways that can be gleaned from their study. This thesis argues the significance of three concepts: place-making, public memory, and stories. Place-making is the reinvention of history in the theater of mind which creates a plausible reality of the past through what is known in the present. Public memory is a way to explain how events in a location affect the public consciousness regarding that site and further events that stem from it. Lastly, stories about a place and event help to explain its overall impact and what can be learned from the occurrences there. Throughout this thesis we will be discussing seven sites across Arizona, the events that occurred there, and how these three aspects of study can be used to experience history in a personal way that gives us a special perspective on the land around us. The importance of personalizing history lies in finding our own identity as inhabitants of this land we call home and knowing the stories gives us greater attachment to the larger narrative of humanity as it has existed in this space.

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2021-05

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Living relationships with the past: remembering communism in Romania

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In the countries of Eastern Europe, the recent history of the communist regimes creates a context rich in various and often times contradictory remembering practices. While normative discourses of memory enacted in official forms of memory such as museums, memorials,

In the countries of Eastern Europe, the recent history of the communist regimes creates a context rich in various and often times contradictory remembering practices. While normative discourses of memory enacted in official forms of memory such as museums, memorials, monuments, or commemorative rituals attempt to castigate the communism in definite terms, remembering practices enacted in everyday life are more ambiguous and more tolerant of various interpretations of the communist past. This study offers a case study of the ways in which people remember communism in everyday life in Romania. While various inquiries into Eastern Europe's and also Romania's official and intentional forms of memorializing communism abound, few works address remembering practices in their entanglements with everyday life. From a methodological point of view, this study integrates a grounded methodology approach with a rhetorical sensitivity to explore the discourses, objects, events, and practices of remembering communism in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. In doing so, this inquiry attends not only to the aspects of the present that animate the remembering of communism, but also and more specifically to the set of practices by which the remembering process is performed. The qualitative analysis revealed a number of conceptual categories that clustered around three major themes that describe the entanglements of remembering activities with everyday life. Relating the present to the past, sustaining the past in the present, and pursuing the communist past constitute the ways in which people in Romania live their relationships with the communist past in a way that reveals the complex interplay between private and public forms of memory, but also between the political, social, and cultural aspects of the remembering process. These themes also facilitate a holistic understanding of the rhetorical environment of remembering communism in Romania.

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Date Created
2014

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Re-incarnating an ancient, emergent superpower: the PRC's epideictic extravaganza, public memory, and national identity

Description

The People's Republic of China's inexorable ascendancy has become an epochal event in international landscape, accentuated by its triple national ceremonies of global significance: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2009 Beijing Military Parade, and 2010 Shanghai World Expo. At a momentous

The People's Republic of China's inexorable ascendancy has become an epochal event in international landscape, accentuated by its triple national ceremonies of global significance: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2009 Beijing Military Parade, and 2010 Shanghai World Expo. At a momentous juncture when the PRC endeavored to project a new national identity to the outside world, these ceremonial occasions constitute a high-stake communicative opportunity for the Chinese government and a fruitful set of discursive artifacts for symbolic deconstruction and rhetorical interpretation. To unravel these ceremonial spectacles, a public memory approach, with its versatile potencies indexical of a nation's interpretive system of social meaning, its normative framework of ideological model, and its past-present-future interrelationships, is contextually, conceptually, and analytically diagnostic of a rising China's sociopolitical constellations. Thus employing public memory as a conceptual-methodological matrix, my dissertation focuses on the prominent texts in these ceremonies, excavates their historico-memorial invocation and sociocultural persuasion, and plumbs their discursive agenda, rhetorical operation, and sociopolitical implication. I argue that the Chinese government deliberately and forcefully strove for three interrelated communicative objectives at these three ceremonies--re-imaging, re-asserting, and re-anchoring its national identity as an ancient, emergent superpower. Yet in contemporary Chinese context, its discursive (con)quest to recast its leadership as a historically continuous, culturally orthodox, and ideologically legitimate regime has always been compromised by its mythologized historical representation and hegemonic rhetorical reconfiguration, countervailed by its political and ideological fragility, and contested by domestic and global publics. Besides its contributions to the current conversation on the PRC's ceremonial phenomena, discursive formations, and communicative dynamics, this dissertation further offers its diagnosis and prognostication of this projected leading country in the 21st century.

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2012

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Assembling global (non)belongings: settler colonial memoryscapes and the rhetorical frontiers of whiteness in the US Southwest, Christians United for Israel, and FEMEN

Description

Scholars of rhetoric, critical intercultural communication, and gender studies have offered productive analyses of how discourses of terror and national security are rooted in racialized juxtapositions between "East" against "West, or "us" and "them." Less frequently examined are the ways

Scholars of rhetoric, critical intercultural communication, and gender studies have offered productive analyses of how discourses of terror and national security are rooted in racialized juxtapositions between "East" against "West, or "us" and "them." Less frequently examined are the ways that the contemporary marking of terrorist bodies as "savage" Others to whiteness and western modernity are rooted in settler colonial histories and expansions of US and Anglo-European democracy. Informed by the rhetorical study of publics and public memory, critical race/whiteness studies, and transnational and Indigenous feminisms, this dissertation examines how memoryscapes of civilization and its Others circulate to shape geopolitical belongings in three cases: (1) public memory places in the US Southwest; (2) pro-Israel rhetorics enacted by the US organization Christians United for Israel; and (3) the embodied and mediated protests of European feminist organization FEMEN. In bringing these seemingly unrelated cases together as elements of a larger assemblage, I draw attention to their symbolic and material connectivities, examining the racialized, gendered, national, and imperial logics that move between these sites to shore up the frontiers of whiteness. Specifically, I argue for conceptualizing whiteness as a global assemblage that territorializes through settler colonial memoryscapes that construct "modern" national and global citizen-subjects as those deemed worthy of rights, protection, land, and life against the threatening bodies of Otherness seen to exist outside of the shared times and places of normative democratic citizenship. In doing so, I also examine, more broadly, how assemblage theory extends current approaches to studying rhetoric, public memory, and intercultural communication in global, trans
ational, and (post)colonial contexts.

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Date Created
2016

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The March Continues: The Subversive Rhetoric of John Lewis's Graphic Memoir

Description

While the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s is one of the most famous and celebrated parts of American history, rhetoric scholars have illuminated the ways this subversive movement has been manipulated beyond recognition over time.

While the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s is one of the most famous and celebrated parts of American history, rhetoric scholars have illuminated the ways this subversive movement has been manipulated beyond recognition over time. These narrative constructions play a role in preserving what Maegan Parker Brooks calls the "conservative master narrative of civil rights history," a narrative that diminishes the work of activists while simultaneously promoting complacency to prevent any challenge to the white supremacist hegemony. This dissertation argues that the graphic memoir trilogy March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell challenges this conservative master narrative through visual rhetoric, in particular through the comics techniques "braiding" and "weaving."

Braiding occurs when authors create "webs of interrelation" (Miodrag 134) by repeating a technique throughout the text, which can sometimes involve a secondary narrative (Groensteen). Braids are associations in the network of panels of the comic that go beyond the parameters of strictly linear storytelling as panels echo those the reader has encountered before. The braids in March compare the past and present through a direct juxtaposition of January 20, 2009—the inauguration day of Barack Obama—with John Lewis' activism from 1959 to 1965. While this juxtaposition risks reinforcing a progress narrative that suggests racism is in the past, in fact, the braided inauguration scenes help the reader connect the moments of the past with their present, calling to mind the ways white supremacy endures in contemporary America. Weaving refers to the reader’s action of moving back and forth in the comics narrative to create meaning, and artists use techniques that facilitate this behavior, such as leaving out or minimizing significant cues and creating a sense of ambiguity that leads the reader to become curious about the events in the sequence. Weaving can disrupt an easy linear narrative of depicted events—such as Fannie Lou Hamer's testimony at the Democratic National Convention—as artists present several opportunities for the reader to interpret these stories in ways that challenge a conservative master narrative of the events in the trilogy.

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Date Created
2019

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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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Date Created
2021

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Remembering a Nation’s Historic Property: Ambiguities, Opportunities, and Poetries in the National Historic Preservation Act

Description

Since its implementation in 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) has greatly informed preservation practice in the United States. As a primary text for the professionalization of the field of preservation, it not only acts as a law,

Since its implementation in 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) has greatly informed preservation practice in the United States. As a primary text for the professionalization of the field of preservation, it not only acts as a law, but establishes an ideological framework that informs practices which impact public memory in the US by determining what places remain, how they are transformed (or not), and whose stories they tell. The objective of this study is to explore the communicative dimensions of the NHPA to better understand how its rhetoric informs practice, and thus, informs public memory in the US. This study employs a meta-method of crystallization which engages a range of analysis methods. First, I conducted a close rhetorical analysis of the NHPA’s text which provided insight into ideologies within the law, opportunities for practice, and limitations on practice through the law’s definitive conceptualization of public memory. Next, I completed a qualitative case study of a preservation organization. I participated in extended field observation, conducted interviews with organizational staff, and engaged in walking methods in the city. The analysis offered insight into local discourses (everyday talk) which built into Discourses (ideologies) and demonstrated how the NHPA informs d/Discourses of preservation, even when it is not required. Although local practice was informed by the NHPA, the analysis also revealed methods for challenging and resisting the NHPA. Finally, I engaged in arts-based methods to examine how National Register listings (products of the NHPA) provide aesthetic and narrative precedents for determining ‘significance’ and worth in preservation practice. Through a poetic exhibition entitled Mythed Places, I artistically analyzed the NRHP, arguing that by giving historic sites the quality of myths, the NHPA attempts to arrest multiple unfolding narratives of places in service of a national myth.
This project demonstrates that the NHPA communicatively constructs US preservation practice through its ambiguity, implied morality, and formation of a mythic national community. Although the current structure requires preservationists, even those not legally bound to the NHPA, to work within its framework, this study showcases ways to disrupt the discursive boundaries and practice preservation more critically.

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Date Created
2021

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Making space for women's history: the digital-material rhetoric of the National Women's History (cyber)Museum

Description

The struggle of the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) to make space for women’s history in the United States is in important ways emblematic of the struggle for recognition and status of American women as a whole. Working at the

The struggle of the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) to make space for women’s history in the United States is in important ways emblematic of the struggle for recognition and status of American women as a whole. Working at the intersections of digital-material memory production and using the NWHM as a focus, this dissertation examines the significance of the varied strategies used by and contexts among which the NWHM and entities like it negotiate for digital, material, and rhetorical space within U.S. public memory production. As a “cybermuseum,” the NWHM functions within national public memory production at the intersections of material and digital culture; yet as an activist institution in search of a permanent, physical “home” for women’s history, the NWHM also counterproductively reifies existing gendered norms that make such an achievement difficult. By examining selected aspects of this complexly situated entity, this dissertation makes visible the gendered nature of public memory production, the digital and material components of that production, and the hybrid nature of emerging public memory entities which operate simultaneously in multiple spheres. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach and guided by Carole Blair’s work on rhetorical materiality, this dissertation explores key aspects of the NWHM’s process of becoming, including an examination of the centrality of the interpellation of publics to the rhetorical materiality of public discourse; an analysis of the material state of public memory production in national history museums in the U.S.; and an exploration of the embodied engagement that undergirds all interaction with and presentation of historical artifacts and narratives, whether digital, physical or both at once. In a synthesis of findings, this dissertation describes a set of key characteristics through which certain hybrid digital-material entities (including the NWHM) enact increasingly complex variations of rhetorical agency. These characteristics suggest a need for a more flexible analytic framework, described in the final chapter. This framework takes shape as an heuristic of functions across which digital-material entities always already enact a situated, active, embodied, and simultaneous agency, one that can account fully for the rhetorical processes through which space is “made” for women in U.S. public memory.

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Date Created
2017

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Buried Under Dodger Blue: Racial Rhetorical Criticism, Public Memory, and Fernandomania

Description

In 1981, Fernando Valenzuela had one of the most unlikely rookie seasons for theLos Angeles Dodgers. Originally from a rural farm town in northern Mexico, he left an enduring legacy that persists within Mexican/American and Latinx fans and communities throughout

In 1981, Fernando Valenzuela had one of the most unlikely rookie seasons for theLos Angeles Dodgers. Originally from a rural farm town in northern Mexico, he left an enduring legacy that persists within Mexican/American and Latinx fans and communities throughout Los Angeles. Not only did Fernando help the Dodgers capture the World Series, he captured the hearts of the people and the communities who had shunned the Dodgers for decades. This act of protest was a response to the destruction of three neighborhoods—La Paloma, Palo Verde, and Bishop—that were destroyed amid a protracted legal battle with the city of Los Angeles throughout the 1950’s that culminated in coercion, violence, and a new baseball stadium. This project intends to remember the neighborhoods of La Paloma, Palo Verde, and Bishop and those who lost their homes alongside the public memory of Fernando Valenzuela’s unlikely rookie season, dubbed Fernandomania, and his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I illumine how the public memories of Fernandomania, a moment of communitas, and Fernando Valenzuela have facilitated the public forgetting of La Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop by making Chavez Ravine into a novel public idiom for American baseball rather than a site of violence and resistance. In the process of facilitating the public forgetting of these neighborhoods, the sports media commits a pernicious discursive violence upon Fernando Valenzuela’s hyper-visible brown body that reveals the workings of a white racial frame designed to protect American baseball’s white masculine ideology. Ultimately, the Los Angeles Dodgers benefit from Fernando’s unmistakably cultural and racial Mexican identity—the source of his otherization and incongruity with American baseball’s white heroism—as the transgressions of the past are slowly forgotten.

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Date Created
2020