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Workshop 23: Mediated Rhetorics of Crisis and Renewal

Primarily Asynchronous (June 1-4)

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Workshop Leaders:

Sarah Jackson, University of Pennsylvania:
Claire Sisco King, Vanderbilt University:
Marina Levina, University of Memphis:

Using an intersectional feminist lens to address the relationships between media and rhetoric, this workshop addresses the ongoing ways hegemonic and discursive structures (like whiteness, masculinity, and ableism) make frequent recourse to crisis rhetoric in order to manage populations, classify difference, and affirm their positions of privilege. As well as a focus on more acute moments of crisis (such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic) and its impacts on already precaritized people, we consider how rhetorics of crisis are used to justify current systems of inequalities and to silence larger efforts for social equity by framing activism and social unrest as threats to established order. In turn we consider how intersectional rhetorics of renewal can challenge and subvert weaponized crisis rhetoric. Special attention will be given to the affordances of media for constructing and circulating such rhetorics of crisis and renewal. For example, these considerations might include attention to the cinema’s capacity as an audio visual medium to approximate the affects of trauma, entertainment television’s frequent recourse to serialized narrative structure to enact ongoing patterns of disruption and reparation, news norms that police engagement with rhetorics of renewal, and digital networked media’s inclinations toward replication, spreadability, and virality. We also consider how mediated texts construct crisis and renewal in relationship to race, gender, ability, age, and sexuality.

Sarah J. Jackson A scholar of the public sphere, Sarah J. Jackson studies how media, journalism, and technology are used by and represent marginalized publics, with a focus on communication by and about Black and feminist activists. Her first book, Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press (Routledge 2014), examines the relationship between Black celebrity activism, journalism, and American politics. Her co-authored second book, Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (MIT Press 2020), focuses on the use of Twitter in contemporary social movements. Her work has appeared in a range of academic journals and she is frequently called on as an expert by media. Jackson is an associate editor of Communication Theory, the commentary and criticism editor of Women’s Studies in Communication, and serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies and the Social Science Research Council’s MediaWell initiative.

Claire Sisco King Claire Sisco King is associate professor of Communication Studies at Vanderbilt University, where she is affiliated with the Cinema and Media Arts Department and the Comparative Media Analysis and Practice Program. A feminist and critical cultural scholar of media and visual culture, King has published in such journals as Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Feminist Media Studies, Quarterly Journal of Speech, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, and Women’s Studies in Communication. She is the author of Washed in Blood: Male Sacrifice, Trauma, and the Cinema (Rutgers University Press, 2011) and is the current editor of Women’s Studies in Communication. King has recently completed a manuscript on celebrity culture, metonymy, and the networked politics of identity and is beginning a new book project on public art as a response to trauma in the city of Nashville, Tennessee.

Marina Levina Marina Levina is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the Department of Communication and Film at the University of Memphis. Her research is based in critical/cultural studies with the focus on feminist and intersectional theoretical frameworks. She is particularly interested in how mediated cultural landscape constructs bodies, subjectivities, and monstrosities as a part of affective, techno-scientific, medical, and political discourses. She is the author of Pandemics in the Media (Peter Lang, 2015). Her most recent publications include an edited collection Biocitizenship: The Politics of Bodies, Governance, and Power (NYU Press, 2018); special FORUM issue of Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies on “Cruelty in the Age of Trump” (March 2018); and a special issue of Television & New Media on “The Silicon Valley Ethos: Tech Industry Products, Discourses, and Practices” (September 2017). She is a co-editor of Horror and Monstrosity Studies book series (University Press of Mississippi) and a book and media review editor for Women’s Studies in Communication.

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