The main reason behind this video recorded interview is to understand what today’s Jewish population believes about tattoos. There are many different rumors that are believed to be true by a larger portion of the Jewish population. This project will choose to focus on an array of different members of the Jewish community, and their differing opinions when it comes to tattoos. This documentary video will discuss the different aspects of who is “allowed” to get a tattoo, what the burial myth is, why it exists in the first place, etc. The people interviewed will range from Rabbi’s to Jewish kids in college. The reason why this project is being created is in order to better understand one religions viewpoint on body modification and what this means for future generations to come. Will also at one point discuss what the project meant to me personally, and also the implications of COVID-19. The video recorded interview will help to uncover opinions, and beliefs of Jewish people alive today.
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen entered Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL and shot and murdered 49 people and wounded over 50 more. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting ever to occur on U.S. soil. That particular evening, Pulse, a queer nightclub, was hosting a “Latin Night,” which resulted in over 90 percent of the victims being Latinx in descent and many that identified as Afro-Latinx or Black. Essentially, Pulse is the most lethal act of violence against queer and trans bodies of color in this country. Pulse reminds queer and trans people of color of the conditions of the world that position Brown and Black queer and trans death as mundane. That is to say, the lives of trans and queer bodies of color are lived in close proximity to death. And yet, Pulse was anything but mundane. In every practical sense, it was a fantastical event of radical violence. The tension between these and the implications found within is what this project seeks to engage. Utilizing critical/performance-based qualitative methods and data derived from the queer and trans of color communities in Phoenix, AZ, this project investigates the performative afterlife of Pulse. I apply and name the term performative afterlife to suggest that the events at Pulse are connected to material conditions and consequences that get performed by and through queer and trans bodies of color. Interlocutors share the afterlife is performed within the context of ubiquitous whiteness found in Phoenix, often manifesting as a survival mechanism. Additionally, many interlocutors express the mundane threat of violence everyday has prevented a thorough engagement of what it means to live in a world after the events at Pulse nightclub have occurred. Ultimately, the performative afterlife of Pulse gets performed by queer and trans bodies of color in Phoenix through a co-performance between one another. Much like the dancing that occurred at Pulse, the performative afterlife is a performance that moves the world towards queer or color futures not yet here.
There has been a robust and ongoing investment in demystifying the discursive and material conditions of neoliberalism. Scholars in communication have done much work to explore the various rhetorical effects and processes of neoliberal discourses and practices. Many of these case studies have tethered their concerns of neoliberalism to the conceptualization of the public sphere. However, most of this research rests on the absence of those that try to “make do.” By privileging rhetoric after the fact, such studies tend to provide more agency to ideology than everyday bodies that engage in their own rhetorical judgments and discernments. In addition, scholarship across the board tends to treat neoliberalism as something dangerously and uniquely new. This framing effectively serves to ignore the longer history of liberalism and liberal thought that paved the path of neoliberalism the United States is now on.
With these two broad concerns in mind, this study centers a case study of a charter school in South Phoenix to focus on the vernacular rhetorics of those on the ground. Guided by public sphere theory, critical race theory, and intersectionality, I take up rhetorical field methods to explore how those involved with this charter school navigate and make sense of school choice and charter schools in the age of neoliberalism. Within this context, field methods permit me to locate the various discourses, practices, and material constraints that shape running, being educated at, and selecting a charter school. These various rhetorical practices brought to the forefront an interest and concern with the school’s whole child approach as it is rooted within Stephen Covey’s (1989) seven habits. Additional qualitative data analysis brings about two new concepts of neoliberal scapegoating and dialectical vernacular complicity. Finally, I discuss the implications of these findings as they speak to how rhetorical field methods, supported by intersectionality and critical race theory, invites critics to center more agency on people rather than ideas, and how that makes for a more complicated and nuanced neoliberal reality and modes of resistance.
I center my analysis on Amazon’s recent foray into alternative history The Man in the High Castle premised on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name. Amazon Studio’s production The Man in the High Castle builds upon the premise of an alternative history where World War II ends differently. Here, the diegetic narrative depicts a United States split into three distinct regions: the east coast, now part of the German Reich; the Neutral Zone, or most of the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains; and the west coast, controlled by Japanese Empire. The film version debuted in 2015 as a series extending to four seasons of 10 episodes a piece by 2019. I argue that the show takes cues from modern political tensions, the rise of the alt-right and “post-truth” media manipulations, to intentionally destabilize viewers’ memories of the historical past. By blurring the boundaries between the diegetic reality of the show and our accepted version of history, The Man in the High Castle disrupts the facility in which the viewer assumes alignment with memory and past, opting instead for a complicated refiguring of the political present. Here I articulate how film as a medium tampers with the viewer’s ontological understanding of image by collapsing history and fiction together. Additionally, the capacity of film to provoke empathy from viewers complicates the universal condemnation of Nazism we are familiar with and permits viewers to see the banality of evil in this reimagined history. Finally, I discuss how film as a medium capitalizes on the incompleteness of memory and the loopholes of history to fabricate viewer memory.
This research works from in an institutional ethnographic methodology. From this grounded approach, it describes the dialectic between the individual and the discourse of the institution. This work develops a complex picture of the multifarious ways in which institutional discourse has real effects on the working lives of graduate teaching associates (GTAs) and administrative staff and faculty in Arizona State University's Department of English. Beginning with the experiences of individuals as they described in their interviews, provided an opportunity to understand individual experiences connected by threads of institutional discourse. The line of argumentation that developed from this grounded institutional ethnographic approach proceeds thusly: 1) If ASU’s institutional discourse is understood as largely defined by ASU’s Charter as emphasizing access and academic excellence, then it is possible to 2) see how the Charter affects the departmental discourse in the Department of English. This is shown by 3) explaining the ways in which institutional discourse—in conjunction with disciplinary discourses—affects the flow of power for administrative faculty and manifests as, for example, the Writing Programs Mission and Goals. These manifestations then 4) shape the training in the department to enculturate GTAs and other Writing Programs teachers, which finally 5) affects how Writing Programs teachers structure their courses consequently affecting the undergraduate online learning experience. This line of argumentation illustrates how the flow of power in administrative faculty positions like the Department Chair and Writing Program Administrator are institution-specific, entangled with the values of the institution and the forms of institutional discourse including departmental training impact the teaching practices of GTAs. And, although individual work like that done by the WPA to maintain teacher autonomy and the GTAs to facilitate individual access in their online classrooms, the individual is ultimately lost in the larger institutional conversation of access. Finally, this research corroborates work by Sara Ahmed and Stephanie L. Kerschbaum who explain how institutions co-opt intersectional terms such as diversity and access, and that neoliberal institutions' use of these terms are disingenuous, improving not the quality of instruction or university infrastructure but rather the reputation and public appeal of the university.
This dissertation theorizes Bad Faith Rhetorics, or, rhetorical gestures that work to derail, block, or otherwise stymy knowledge-building efforts. This work explores the ways that interventions against existing social hierarchies (i.e., feminist and antiracist interventions) build knowledge (that is, are epistemologically active), and the ways that bad faith rhetorics derail such interventions. This dissertation demonstrates how bad faith rhetorics function to defend the status quo, with its social stratification by race, gender, class, and other intersectional axes of identity. Bad faith argumentative maneuvers are abundant in online environments. Consequently, this dissertation offers two case studies of the comment sections of two TED Talks: Mellody Hobson’s “Color Blind or Color Brave?” and Juno Mac’s “The Laws that Sex Workers Really Want.” The central analyses deploy online ethnographic field methods and close reading to characterize bad faith rhetorical responses and to identify 1.) trends in such responses, 2.) the net effects on other conversational participants, and 3.) bad faith rhetoric mitigation strategies. This work engages Sartre’s work on Bad Faith, rhetoric scholarship on the knowledge-building affordances of argument, public sphere theory, critical race studies, and feminist scholarship. This dissertation’s theorization and case studies illustrate the pitfalls of specific counterproductive argumentative tactics that block progress toward more equitable ways of being (bad faith rhetorics), and makes several preliminary recommendations for mitigating such moves.
While there are many characteristics that make up a woman, femininity is one that is difficult to define because it is a communication and expression practice defined by culture. This research explores historical accounts of femininity in the 1950s as seen through the exemplar of the white, middle-class "happy homemaker" or "happy housewife." The 1950s is important to study in light of changing gender and social dynamics due to the transition from World War II to a period of prosperity. By using primary sources from the 1950s and secondary historical analyses, this research takes the form of a sociological accounting of 1950s' femininity and the lessons that can be applied today. Four cultural forces led to homemakers having an unspoken identity crisis because they defined themselves in terms of relationship with others and struggled to uphold a certain level of femininity. The forces are: the feminine mystique, patriotism, cultural normalcy, and unnecessary choices. These forces caused women to have unhealthy home relationships in their marriages and motherhood while persistently doing acts to prove their self-worth, such as housework and consuming. It is important to not look back at the 1950s as an idyllic time without also considering the social and cultural practices that fostered a feminine conformity in women. Today, changes can be made to allow women to express femininity in modern ways by adapting to reality instead of to outdated values. For example, changes in maternity leave policies allow women to be mothers and still be in the workforce. Additionally, women should find fulfillment in themselves by establishing a strong personal identity and confidence in their womanhood before identifying through other people or through society.
This dissertation examines contemporary issues that 18 (im)migrant university students faced during a time of highly militarized U.S.-Mexico border relations while living in Arizona during the time of this dissertation research. Utilizing critical race theory and public sphere theory as theoretical frameworks, the project addresses several related research questions. The first is how did (im)migrant university students describe their (im)migrant experience while they lived in the U.S. and studied at a large southwestern university? Second, what can (im)migrant university student experiences tell us about (im)migrant issues? Third, what do (im)migrant university students want people to know about (im)migration from reading their story?
Three conceptual constructs, each composed of three categories, that described the different (im)migrant experiences in this study emerged through data analysis. The first of these conceptual constructs was the racialized/ing (im)migrant experience that categorically was divided into systemic exclusions, liminal exclusions, and micro-social contextual exclusions. The second concept that emerged was the passed/ing (im)migrant experience where (im)migrant university students shared that they felt they had a systemic pathway to citizenship and/or that their immigration authorization gave them privilege. This concept was also categorically divided into systemic inclusions, liminal inclusions, and micro-social contextual inclusions. The last concept was the negotiated/ing (im)migrant experience, which described ways that (im)migrant university students negotiated their space/place in the public sphere while attending a large, public university in Arizona. As with the other two concepts, three categories emerged in relation to negotiated/ing (im)migrant experience: systemic negotiations, liminal negotiations, and micro-social contextual negotiations. It is (im)migrant university student experiences that give individuals a better understanding of the complexities that surround immigration. The (im)migrant narratives also highlight that inclusion and exclusion from the public sphere is a complex and dynamic process because all (im)migrant students, including U.S. citizens, experienced moments of inclusion and exclusion from the U.S. public sphere.
This dissertation explores the discursive construction of work and family identities in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulatory rulemaking process. It uses dramatism and public sphere theory along with the critical legal rhetoric perspective to analyze official FMLA legal texts as well as over 4,600 public comments submitted in response to the United States Department of Labor's 2008 notice of proposed rulemaking that ultimately amended the existing FMLA administrative regulations. The analysis in this dissertation concludes that when official and vernacular discourses intersect in a rulemaking process facilitated by the state, the facilitated public that emerges in that discourse is bounded by official discourses and appropriated language. But individuals in the process are able to convey and contest a range of work and family identities that include characteristics of public, private, abuse, accountability, sacrifice, and struggle. It further demonstrates that different circumferences for crafting work and family identities exist in the regulatory rulemaking process, including national, international, and time-bounded circumferences. Because the law is a discourse that has far-reaching rhetorical implications and the intersect between vernacular discourses and legal discourses is an underexplored area in both communication and legal studies, this dissertation offers a contribution to the ongoing work of scholars thinking about work and family identities, the material consequences of the intersect of work and family, and the rhetorical implications of legal discourse.
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.