Kirt Wilson

Kirt Wilson


Expert in the Rhetoric of Civil Rights Movements and Race to Speak Oct. 24

Kirt Wilson, associate professor at Penn State, coming to Wooster in two weeks

10 October, 2017 by Sarah Stanley

WOOSTER, Ohio – Kirt Wilson, associate professor in the communication arts and sciences department at Pennsylvania State University, will present “Confronting America’s Racial Paradox: The Civil Rights Movement in Popular Film and Political Imagination” on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at The College of Wooster. The lecture, which is free and to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. in McGaw Chapel (340 E. University St.). A reception will follow in the Freedlander Theatre lobby (329 E. University St.).

Wilson is a scholar of political communication, rhetorical criticism, and contemporary theories of race and society. His research moves from African-American public discourse to presidential rhetoric and from the political history of the Civil War era to the symbolic construction of memory in the late 20th century.

He has published widely in the areas of African-American public discourse, the civil rights movement, collective memory, and U.S. presidential communication. In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, he is the author of “Reconstruction’s Desegregation Debate: The Politics of Equality and the Rhetoric of Place, 1870-1875” (2002), associate editor for “The Sage Handbook of Rhetorical Studies” (2009), and, most recently, co-editor of “Making the Case: Advocacy and Judgment in Public Argument” (2012). Wilson is currently writing two book-length manuscripts, one on the theory and practice of mimesis (imitation) in public messages about U.S. race relations between 1780 and 1940, and the other on how rhetoric about the contemporary civil rights movement uses sentimentality in a way that both recognizes and legitimizes black oppression.

Wilson is the president-elect of the Rhetoric Society of America and the 2016 Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecturer for the National Communication Association. In addition, he was the 2017 recipient of The Malvin and Lea Bank Outstanding Teaching Award for the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University, master’s degree from Purdue University, and Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

This Wooster Forum event is sponsored by the departments of communication, Africana studies, history, political science, and sociology/ anthropology, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Arthur Bambridge Wyse Endowed Lectureship. Additional information is available by phone 330-263-2030 or email.