Agora Speaker Series: Department of Communication, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Summer Research Fellows

February 23, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

“‘Pretty Brilliant Too’: Oral Histories of the Advertising Rhetoric in and Creation of Verizon’s ‘Inspire Her Mind’ Commercial”

Location and Address

208B Cathedral of Learning

Garage and street parking available

While attending this event you may be captured on film, video, photo, etc. that could be used for marketing or recruiting purposes on brochures, social media, digital presentation, news story, website or any other digital electronic device.


Schedule of Events

“An exploratory investigation of secondary school administrators’ perspectives on digital communication technologies and rural school environments”

Youths lead complicated digital lives, and they sometimes engage in speech acts that push the boundaries of contemporary speech law. When these limits are challenged, school administrators are compelled (socially and legally) to intervene. While much critical, interpretational, and ethnographic research has been published on student experiences and legal controversies pertaining to youths’ digital communication practices, little has been published about how administrators understand their role in such situations. In this study, I performed semi-structured interviews with two administrators, each of whom worked at a different secondary school in a small, rural school district in Southern California. I sought to illuminate the relationships between their understanding of their rhetorical situations, their interpretation of California Education Code, and the school policies they implemented and enforced. While I gained a sense of this relationship through the way they rhetorically framed and dramatized their situation, the relationship between the two administrators also produced an unexpected rhetorical colloquy. That is, the administrator’s voluntary disclosure of their interview status to the other allowed for an implicit dialogue to emerge between two administrators with vastly-different rhetorical perspectives. While one focused on broad public issues through a morally-tinged binary frame that relied on ultimate terms, the other emphasized local issues that complicate the digital scene. This study has significant implications for understanding the role and implementation of anti-cyberbullying and sexting legislation.


Alvin Primack
“Expecting the Unexpected: Kairotic Moments and Rhetorical Intervention in Birth Narratives”

Qualitative research on birth narratives can provide insight into the complex factors that go into decision-making at crucial points in pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This project, which traces the temporal flow of two women’s birth narratives, highlights the rhetorical nature of shared decision-making in a hospital setting and the potential for midwives or other patient advocates to rhetorically intervene at moments when patients are rhetorically disabled.  


Robin Zwier