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What comes to mind when you hear words like “freedom,” “justice,” or “liberty”? Whether they conjure feelings of patriotism and pride or just sound like overused, empty buzzwords, rhetoricians call terms like these ideographs – words and phrases that serve as the building blocks of our ideologies and identities.

On today’s re:blurb mini-episode, Colleen, Alex, and Calvin break down the history of the ideograph in rhetorical scholarship and demonstrate how it can be a useful concept for analyzing buzzwords and slogans in political discourse.

Text Analyzed in this Episode

Bruni, F. (December 19, 2017). Democrats are the new Republicans. The New York Times.

Works Referenced

Cloud, D. L. (1998). The rhetoric of <family values>: Scapegoating, utopia, and the privatization of social responsibility. Western Journal of Communication, 62(4), 387-419.

Cloud, D. L. (2004). “To veil the threat of terror”: Afghan women and the⟨ clash of civilizations⟩ in the imagery of the US war on terrorism. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 90(3), 285-306.

McGee, M. C. (1980). The “ideograph”: A link between rhetoric and ideology. Quarterly journal of speech, 66(1), 1-16.

McGee, M. C. (2001). Ideograph. In T. O. Sloane (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Rhetoric (378-381). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Winkler, C. (2012). In the name of terrorism: Presidents on political violence in the post-World War II era. SUNY Press.

Recommended Readings

Condit, C. M., & Lucaites, J. L. (1993). Crafting Equality: America's Anglo-African Word. University of Chicago Press.

Edwards, J. L., & Winkler, C. K. (1997). Representative form and the visual ideograph: The Iwo Jima image in editorial cartoons. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 83(3), 289-310.

Farrell, T. B. (1995). Norms of rhetorical culture. Yale University Press. [Chapter 1 includes a discussion of the Joseph N. Welch / Joseph McCarthy interaction that Calvin references in his analysis of the ideograph <decency> in this episode.]

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