February Guest Lecture/Colloquium: G. Thomas Goodnight

“Alt-Rhetorics, Networks, and Criticism”

Thomas Goodnight, Ph.D. | Professor of Communication, USC Annenberg

February 13, 2018 | 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM | CMU 126

Abstract:   The rhetorical tradition is an enduring discussion generated from the problems encountered in satisfying complicated trade-offs among efforts to inform, persuade and entertain. Speaking and listening varies over time and place in the expectations, composition, and vulnerability of populations addressed. Traditionally, handbooks advise on the art of composition and oration. The do-it-yourself global inventive efforts of communication in the 21st century grow in variety and diversity.

In this presentation, Dr. Goodnight turns to contemporary criticism to address alt-rhetorics, those words and things that materialize and gather in surprising ways. His examples of critical response to these novel rhetorics include: Acts of resistance to Trump’s “nasty woman” claim, and the accidental instigation of a viral panic over Ebola. Dr. Goodnight asks: What are the opportunities and obligations for critical engagement with the networks of alt-rhetorics?

Bio: G. Thomas Goodnight served as Director of Doctoral Studies at the Annenberg School, USC, from 2003 to 2013.  During this time the program grew from 20 students in residence to over a 100. It became and remains a top ranked international communications program. For the spring of 2017, he serves as a visiting scholar at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the University of Pennsylvania. As a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Communication & Journalism, he met with communication faculty building a doctoral program at Católica University, Santiago Chile. In 2014 he received the NCA Distinguished Scholar Award, and in 2013, the Alta Argumentation Senior Scholar award. In 2006, the International Society for the Study of Argument accorded him recognition for lifetime contributions.  He has been named one of the top five scholars in the area of argumentation over the past fifty years.