Making history: Rhetoric, historiography, and the television news media

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/290635
Title:
Making history: Rhetoric, historiography, and the television news media
Author:
Borrowman, Shane Christopher
Issue Date:
2001
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Drawing on work in communications, media studies, and history, I argue that the historiographical methods of rhetoric and composition need to move beyond written discourse to consider the use of visual historical representations of the past. To explicate my argument, I analyze multiple examples of local and national television news coverage of the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the recent fighting in Kosovo. Based upon these examples, I argue that the television news media work within a dysfunctional, narrative-driven genre that is entirely inadequate in its attempts to analyze current world events, particularly warfare, because of heavy reliance upon culturally recognizable images of the past drawn from both fictional and non-fictional sources. Ultimately, my argument demonstrates the need for a critical methodology in rhetoric and composition for examining texts that are visual--such as photographs, video tapes, and multimedia documents on the Web. I begin with an examination of the history and historiography of rhetoric and composition. Using Susan Jarratt's Rereading the Sophists as an extended example, I analyze how history is both written and critiqued in this field--drawing heavily on such sources as Rhetoric Review's Octalogs and the work of James Berlin, Thomas P. Miller, and Robert J. Connors. To move the historiographical methods into the analysis of visual history, I draw on the work of a wide range of scholars in communications, media studies, and history: Walter Lippmann, Thomas E. Patterson, W. Lance Bennett, Noam Chomsky, Jean Baudrillard, H. Bruce Franklin, and others. After applying the methodology I develop to several texts--from both television and the Web--I extend my arguments beyond historiography to American culture. I argue that the ways in which the past is constructed have direct consequences for the ways in which Americans understand the past and present. Specifically, superficial constructions of history limit the ability of viewers/readers to think critically about the past and thus limit the complexity of arguments on which decisions in the present can be based. In this sense, visual history is an example of deliberative rhetoric limited by the constraints under which forensic rhetoric is constructed.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
History, Modern.; Mass Communications.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Enos, Theresa

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleMaking history: Rhetoric, historiography, and the television news mediaen_US
dc.creatorBorrowman, Shane Christopheren_US
dc.contributor.authorBorrowman, Shane Christopheren_US
dc.date.issued2001en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractDrawing on work in communications, media studies, and history, I argue that the historiographical methods of rhetoric and composition need to move beyond written discourse to consider the use of visual historical representations of the past. To explicate my argument, I analyze multiple examples of local and national television news coverage of the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the recent fighting in Kosovo. Based upon these examples, I argue that the television news media work within a dysfunctional, narrative-driven genre that is entirely inadequate in its attempts to analyze current world events, particularly warfare, because of heavy reliance upon culturally recognizable images of the past drawn from both fictional and non-fictional sources. Ultimately, my argument demonstrates the need for a critical methodology in rhetoric and composition for examining texts that are visual--such as photographs, video tapes, and multimedia documents on the Web. I begin with an examination of the history and historiography of rhetoric and composition. Using Susan Jarratt's Rereading the Sophists as an extended example, I analyze how history is both written and critiqued in this field--drawing heavily on such sources as Rhetoric Review's Octalogs and the work of James Berlin, Thomas P. Miller, and Robert J. Connors. To move the historiographical methods into the analysis of visual history, I draw on the work of a wide range of scholars in communications, media studies, and history: Walter Lippmann, Thomas E. Patterson, W. Lance Bennett, Noam Chomsky, Jean Baudrillard, H. Bruce Franklin, and others. After applying the methodology I develop to several texts--from both television and the Web--I extend my arguments beyond historiography to American culture. I argue that the ways in which the past is constructed have direct consequences for the ways in which Americans understand the past and present. Specifically, superficial constructions of history limit the ability of viewers/readers to think critically about the past and thus limit the complexity of arguments on which decisions in the present can be based. In this sense, visual history is an example of deliberative rhetoric limited by the constraints under which forensic rhetoric is constructed.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectHistory, Modern.en_US
dc.subjectMass Communications.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorEnos, Theresaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest3023517en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b41957805en_US
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