At Divine Child, we have taken a deep dive into the philosophy of science as part of our AP Research class for juniors and seniors. We have relied on Karl Popper's The Logic Of Scientific Discovery and Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach, Jurgen Hahermas's Facts and Norms as well as Martin Heidegger's Discourse on Thinking to frame our conversation about truth and its correspondence to the facts. We have rooted our method in Popper's claim that "we are seekers for the truth but we are not its possessors." Guided by this humble insight, students have articulated novel research questions and composed 5,000 word mini-theses exploring a gap in our understanding of such contemporary and significant topics as Medicaid work requirements and Republican labor ideology, alienation and the sharing economy, exile and identity in the global Indian diaspora, mass communication theory and social media manipulation of financial markets, sexual politics of urban migration in the Niger Delta, and discursive practices in political installation art and guerrilla theater. In a post-truth era, their rigorous investigations give educators reasons to hope that disciplined shared inquiry will remain a hallmark of serious academic engagement for at least one more generation.
Beyond Understanding: Charity, Community, and Practical Usage for Invitational Rhetoric by YouTuber Markiplier. Anna J. Palm, Oakland University
The study of YouTube personality Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) shows that there's a practical usage for invitational rhetoric as it serves to build a community online and raise money for various charities. Sonja Foss and Cindy Griffin's invitational rhetoric is a communicative mode grounded in feminist principles of equality, immanent value, and self-determination. One of its goals is to invite free expression without an attempt at persuasion. The theory has mostly been regarded as unrealistic and disempowering. However, as seen in Fischhach's one-on-one videos where he uses emotion, humor and sharing to connect with people globally, it can be used as a method of relaying a message to a larger audience. Using feminist rhetorical criticism and assistance from Carol Gilligan's ethics of care, it becomes evident that Fischbach uses 1R by inviting the audience to consider his philosophy that everyone can change the world while still valuing their autonomy and power.
"Leggings Ain't Pants": Fox News' Rhetorical Containment of More than Just Women's Fashion. Courtney Stockman, Oakland University
Considering Fox News' millions of viewers, recent sexual harassment scandals and other sexist broadcasts, it is imperative that scholars interrogate how gender is (re)produced and is reinforced on this very popular network. Fox and Friends' 2015 segment "Getting a Leg Up: Proper Etiquette on Wearing Leggings" provides insight on the ideologies promulgated by Fox News regarding the female body and gender roles. Drawing on Judith Butler's (1988) theory of perform-ativity, and Susan Bordo's (1993) understanding of the body as a cultural text and site of social control, I uncover the particular ways Fox News contains and disciplines the female body in this segment. Utilizing a feminist rhetorical methodology I argue that Fox News, via fashion as a point of departure, contains women through three interconnected strategies: male authority over the female body, the infantilization of the adult female body, and the silencing of women.
A Generic Criticism of Andrews Response to #ItIsTimeAU. Listen. Dialogue. Change. Desrene Vernon-Brebnor and Debbie-Ann Francis, Andrews University
During Black history month (February 2017) concerned students and staff of Andrews University issued a PSA titled It Is Time. The three minutes and twenty-eight second video highlighted a list of concerns for which an apology was being sought from the university. Five days later, the institution released its own six minutes and fifty-five second response video, with the added subtitle Listen. Dialogue. Change. This critical essay focuses on the response video as the main artifact. In the tradition of generic criticism, Apologia theory is applied to evaluate whether the artifact is a representative sample of a successful generic application. Did Andrews University acknowledge, deny, rationalize, or accept responsibility in their publicized discourse? How did the university's response video reflect the characteristics of the public apology genre? The findings revealed that the university's response aligned with a conciliatory crisis communication approach. The university employed several rhetorical strategies that mirrored the original PSA, provided details for incidents that were only alluded to in the catalyst video, and outlined steps the university was prepared to take to address the issues raised. This generic application is significant as it provides insights into a form of generic criticism that is not often analyzed.
"A Total Political Witch Hunt": News, Language and Meaning after President Trump's Twitter War with "Fake News". Devan Bissonette, American College of Education
On December 10, 2016, President-Elect Trump first tweeted one of the defining catchphrases of his early presidency: "FAKE NEWS." Since then he has weaponized the phrase in an increasing barrage of attacks to undermine the truthfulness and motivation of negative news reports. Such behavior from a prominent public figure, especially with tensions among Americans already high, comes with consequences. In his analysis of language, Jacques Derrida points to a specific threat traditionally identified from political leaders who obfuscate language to their own ends. Eroding the claim to authority from experts, the public is left with growing numbers of interest groups claiming ownership over truth, fueling conflict between different factions over current and future policy choices. Thus, President Trump's growing cries of fake news serve a far more significant purpose than protecting his public image--it further destabilizes an already fractured body politic and weakens the legitimacy of a critical check on political power. This paper seeks to better understand the implications of President Trump's use of Twitter, not only to better assess Trump's use of language but to also consider the broader effects on American political culture that come from the erosion in the credibility of the Fourth Estate.
Using Twitter for Crisis Communications in a Natural Disaster. Catherine Vera-Burgos, Wayne State University
This article explores how social media, particularly Twitter, can be used in crisis communications. The case study presented here examines the usage of Twitter by the mayor of Houston, Texas, during Hurricane Harvey in August and September of 2017. Restorative rhetoric is used as the framework to analyze the Twitter posts from Mayor Sylvester Turner's official Twitter account before, during and after Hurricane Harvey. The analysis shows Mayor Turner's Twitter communications to be a successful example of restorative rhetoric in a natural disaster and confirms other researchers' assertions that the stages of restorative rhetoric overlap and the application of the theory may benefit from some variation based on the crisis type. Mayor Turner's tweets are also shown to exemplify best practices for using social media in crisis communications with a few opportunities for improvement. Through this research, this article offers suggestions on how Twitter can help crisis managers prepare for, communicate during, and move forward following a natural disaster.
The Significance of Mother-Daughter Communications in Influencing Daughters' Perceptions of Intimacy from Adolescence to Early Adulthood. Li Zhang, Western Michigan University
Single motherhood is a growing trend in the United States. Previous research has found that single mothers tend to have more child-rearing difficulties than cohahitating mothers due to stressful life events, limited emotional support, or financial support. More importantly, paternal involvement has been shown to affect children's later adulthood lives and the father's absence is a topic that involves connections to poor social competencies, insecurity, identity disorders, negative attitudes towards relationships, and marriages. It is also well studied that adolescence is the period during which intimate relationships become a major theme. Hence, the mother-daughter communication plays a vital role in influencing daughters' worldviews and understandings of intimacy. With this in mind, the current study aims to review previous findings and literature in regards to the communication pattern and the communication process between single mothers and daughters. Specifically, the current study explored the discussion of "memorable messages" under the communication study discipline. The study will also discuss the potential research directions and the importance of studying the communication process in single-mother families.
Metaphoric Criticism of Theodore Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic". Debbie-Ann Francis, Andrews University
The 1910 speech given by Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in France, entitled "Citizenship in a Republic," gained world renown for his scenic description of "The Man in the Arena." The focus of the speech sought to create a template of a noble citizen within a nation. The majority of analyses available on the speech mainly focus on the section of "The Man in the Arena" and its impact on society rather than on the speech in its entirety. The research question posed was: Would the progressive themes of Roosevelt's speech influence our present-day, postmodern society? To answer that question, a metaphoric critical analysis of the speech was applied in order to compare the metaphors used within Roosevelt's speech to metaphors used within current society. Metaphors were isolated and compared within the speech as a whole, then compared against current sayings and phrases of today. The findings resulted in the discovery of present-day metaphors that reflect the themes of Roosevelt's speech. The significance of this research comes from the lack of rhetorical analysis towards metaphoric criticism and Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic."
How to Man: A Rhetorical Analysis of Return of Kings' Policing of Masculinity. Evan O'Hara, Oakland University
Neomasculinity, defined by its focus on traditional beliefs of masculinity and patriarchy, is an ideology held by significant groups focused in Internet communities. This collection of websites and blogs, dubbed the "manosphere," contains many active participants who promote hegemonic patriarchal ideals, universally placing men as figureheads of the ideal, heterosexual family unit. An exemplar of this hurgeoning online trend is the blog, Return of Kings (ROK), which defines its collective as, "a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine." On September 2, 2016, ROK contributor A. M. Petros published the article "4 Types of Men within the Masculinity Matrix." This article contains a visual representation of a matrix defining characteristics of ideal masculinity. Using feminist rhetorical criticism and theories of containment, I investigate the strategies used by proponents of neomasculinity in this article, arguing that the author attempts to police men into traditional roles by devaluing any other form of masculinity. Further, I contend that the policing of masculinity and femininity are interlocked, specifically that the artifact's strategy aims to police men into a mindset from which domination and policing of women is the ultimate goal.
The Rhetorical Power of Maternal Appeals and Public Ethics of Care. Rita Hourani, Oakland University
Using feminist rhetorical criticism, I analyze UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Anne Hathaway's International Women's Day Speech from March 8, 2017, advocating for paid parental leave in the United States. I investigate the rhetorical strategies Hathaway employs as she uses her position as a mother and citizen--sharing her personal experiences of being a mother, daughter, and wife--to structure an argument and issue a call to action for equal care policies. I argue that she effectively deploys maternal appeals and an ethic of care to justify her cause and strengthen her argument. Along with her rhetorical choices, the politics of a public ethic of care is used to examine how policies can be enacted to help families balance childcare as women have moved from traditional private roles within the home to public roles within the workforce.
The Development of #ItIsTimeAU: A Look At Functional Group Communication Theory. Joy Chikwekwe, Andrews University
The ways in which groups communicate with one another can determine several things, including how successful they can be in fulfilling their mission. Specifically, the functional theory of group communication looks at the processes that take place as groups make decisions and measures how successful the communication of the group is based on the outcomes that are produced. The six-step decision making process within the theory involves expressing a difficulty, defining the problem, analyzing the problem, suggesting solutions, comparing alternatives and testing them against a set of objectives or criteria, and implementing the best solution. This paper will look at functional theory and its role in the development of the #ItIsTimeAU video, a viral video aimed at bringing about racial equality on the campus of Andrews University.
Relational Turning Point: An Analysis of How a Child Attending College Affects the Parent Child Relationship. Hannah Clark, Oakland University
This paper will explore the complexities of the parent-child relationship, paying special attention to the child's young adult years. Many individuals attend college during their young adult years. Attending college is a major turning point in the relationship, as many children are exploring a time of individualization and exploration. Emphasis is placed on the young adult child's self-esteem and affection levels, and how those variables impact the child's perceived level of satisfaction with their parents. A total of 25 undergraduate students from a large midwestern university were surveyed on their perceived affection, self-esteem, and satisfaction levels within their relationship with their parents. Results indicated a significant relationship between caring and celebratory parental affection for young adult children in terms of their relationship with their mothers, as well as with their fathers. Results indicated no significant relationship between self-esteem and satisfaction levels with the mother and the father. There was also no significant relationship between the sex of the child and satisfaction levels with the mother and the father.
On Bended Knee: An Analysis of the NFL's Response to the National Anthem Protests. Dave Pemberton and Joseph Abisaid, University of Detroit Mercy
What started with a single rogue player, Colin Kaepernick, kneeling during the national anthem to protest police mistreatment of African-American citizens quickly grew into hundreds of players on nearly every NFL team protesting during the anthem during the 2017 season. Player protests intensified when President Donald Trump called for owners to fire players who kneeled during the anthem.
The controversy thrust the NFL into political debate and a public relations crisis. The NFL markets itself to everyone so getting involved in politics is a no-win situation. Any course of action by the NFL would anger a section of its fan base. This paper examines the protests in-depth and analyzes the crisis communication response by the NFL.
Exploring Media Ecology through the Lens of McLuhan and Postman. Pamela Sherstad, Grace Bible College
Examining the views of two media ecologists, Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman, provides a foundation for understanding the importance of continued media ecology study. While McLuhan and Postman have much in common, their fundamental approach to media ecology was different. McLuhan avoided questions of morality regarding whether new media would make people better or worse. Postman, however, embraced such questions seeing media's moral effect on people and culture as the critical questions to address. The takeaway from McLuhan and Postman is that questions in general should be asked. The work of McLuhan and Postman is examined to identify how their observations prior to the ubiquitous presence of the Internet and smartphones continue to influence the conversation of media ecology amid rapidly changing technology. This paper explores what questions need to he asked to best discover answers to how media influences intellectual, moral, physical, social, and spiritual development.
Feminist Criticism: The US Women's National Soccer Team Protest. Liz Dominguez, Andrews University
The feminist criticism deals with further understanding the topic of oppression. Women experience oppression the most even today. Take for example, the US National Women's Soccer Team and its fight for equal pay. For my research, I analyze the chosen artifact: a video entitled, US Women's National Soccer Team: It's Our 'Responsibility' 'To Push For Equal Pay'. Clearly, the fight for equal pay between men and women is a constant battle. However, this fight for equal pay addresses an evident injustice because when it comes to the United States, it is the women's national team that is constantly outperforming its male counterparts. This is personally significant to me because in my own university, the men's soccer team is always favored over the women's team. Therefore, oppression is not only found in professional, higher settings, but also in minimal settings as well. It is necessary to dig deeper and understand why things are the way they are to accomplish the feminist criticism goal of understanding what to do to promote change. In this essay, I discuss the US Women's National Soccer Team's use of rhetorical strategies to disrupt hegemonic perspectives through the dissection of an interview video.