June 24, 2024

Ohl Publishes Book Chapter

Jessy Ohl, assistant professor of communication, has had his essay “Rhetorical Field Methods in the Tradition of Imitatio,” co-authored with Josh Ewalt and Damien Pfister, included in Field + Text: Innovations in Rhetorical Method, edited by Sara L. McKinnon, Robert Asen, Karma R. Chávez, and Robert Glenn Howard and published by Pennsylvania State University Press.

In that chapter, Ohl and his cowriters contend that one way to retain a distinctively critical-rhetorical dimension to field methods is through the tradition of imitatio. Imitatio presumes that certain rhetorical exemplars—historically, public addresses by the privileged—are worthy of study and emulation in order to improve the civic habits of a citizenry. Rhetorical field methods, with its emphasis on studying the live rhetoric of vernacular communities, offers an opportunity to craft texts suitable for imitatio beyond the subjects and contexts historically authorized for emulation. Drawing from their experience with Occupy Lincoln, they argue that crafting rhetorical scenes appropriates one of rhetoric’s oldest and most dexterous traditions—the use of imitatio in rhetorical training and practice—toward more democratic ends.

Ohl Publishes Essay on Visual Rhetoric of Drone Imagery

Jessy-J-OhlThe latest essay by Jessy J. Ohl, assistant professor of communication, has been published in The Quarterly Journal of Speech 101.4 (2016): 1-21. That essay, titled “Nothing to See or Fear: Light War and the Boring Visual Rhetoric of U.S. Drone Imagery,” theorizes a transformation in 21st-century war rhetoric in which obstructions in public sensation insulate war from opposition.

In contrast to overt persuasive appeals for the mass mobilization of society characteristic of “total war,” “light war” is a mode of violence that operates more freely by placing fewer demands on public reception, participation and approval. Through an analysis of U.S. drone imagery between 2008 and 2011, Ohl argues that light war cultivates social acquiescence to violence through boring visual rhetoric that subverts the capacity to sense the material consequences of war.

In the process of theorizing the anesthetizing force of boring rhetoric, the essay assesses the prospects of peace and outlines future directions for rhetorical scholarship in a post-9/11 landscape.

See http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00335630.2015.1128115 for the full essay.