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Rhetorics of Display

Edited by Lawrence J. Prelli

Groundbreaking case studies mapping the rhetoric inherent in acts of presentation and concealment

Rhetorics of Display is a pathbreaking volume that brings together a distinguished group of scholars to assess an increasingly pervasive form of rhetorical activity. Editor Lawrence J. Prelli notes in his introduction that twenty-first century citizens continually confront displays of information and images, from the verbal images of speeches and literature to visual images of film and photography to exhibits in museums to the arrangement of our homes to the merchandising of consumer goods. The volume provides an integrated, comprehensive study of the processes of selecting what to reveal and what to conceal that together constitute the rhetorics of display. Surveying major historical transformations in the relationship between rhetoric and display, this book also identifies the leading themes in relevant scholarship of the past three decades.

Seventeen case studies canvass a representative and diverse range of displays—from body piercing to a civil rights memorial to a Titanic exhibition to imagery found in gambling casinos—and examine the ways that phenomena, persons, places, events, identities, communities, and cultures are exhibited before audiences. Collectively the contributors shed light on rhetorics that are nearly ubiquitous in contemporary communication and culture.

Lawrence J. Prelli is an associate professor of communication, chairperson of the Department of Communication, and an affiliate associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of A Rhetoric of Science: Inventing Scientific Discourse, which received the 1990 Eastern Communication Association's Everett Lee Hunt Award.

"To develop a sustained argument that rhetorics of display have become the dominant communication practices of our time, Larry Prelli presents wide-ranging case studies concerning symbolic actions from around the globe. Well grounded in the history of rhetoric and visual communication, the introduction and the ensuing seventeen essays concentrate on concealment and appearances ranging from the bodily presentation of self and social identity to the material culture of landscapes, statuary, and gravestones. Rhetorics of Display is a valuable resource for communication scholars and an exceptional invitation for further study."—Lester C. Olson, University of Pittsburgh, and author of Benjamin Franklin's Vision of American Community: A Study in Rhetorical Iconology



book jacket for Rhetorics of Display


7 x 10
443 pages
44 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-57003-619-4
paperback, $29.95s

Studies in Rhetoric/Communication
John C. Adams
Jerry Blitefield
Phebe Shih Chao
Gregory Clark
John Nguyet Erni
James Michael Farrell
Victoria J. Gallagher
S. Michael Halloran
Robert Hariman
Gerard A. Hauser
Beverly James
Cheryl R. Jorgensen-Earp
John Louis Lucaites
Joshua Meyrowitz
Richard Morris
Lawrence J. Prelli
Lawrence W. Rosenfield
John Shotter
Mari Boor Tonn

Winner of the 2007 Golden Anniversary Monograph Award, National Communication Association


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