Hiram College Fall 2011 : Page 24

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS (AND ANSWERS) w 24 When Zachary Sunderman ’12 , a social science major in Hiram’s Weekend College, turned in his final essay for his “Political and Popular Representations of War,” class, he didn’t realize he was also about to take his rhetoric beyond the printed page. But Assistant Professor of Communication Cynthia Willis-Chun was impressed by what she read, and she wanted Sunderman to do more with his paper than simply turn it in for a grade. His paper, “Rhetorical Justice: Bush Administration Fear Appeals and the Justification of Human Rights Violations Committed by the United States,” analyzed speeches given by former President Bush and Vice-President Cheney concerning the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The paper focused on the rhetorical choices the Bush administration used to persuade the American people that the questionable treatment of terrorists was necessary for the safety of the nation. Willis-Chun recommended that he submit his final paper to the Ohio Communication Association (OCA), a state-wide group of communication researchers which holds a conference every year. The conference consisted of a variety of panels and group work-shops which focused on a wide range of rhetorical topics from healthcare to Facebook. Zachary Sunderman Sunderman says that his participation in the conference was a big moment for him; for the first time, he realized academic experience could transcend the classroom, that what he wrote wasn’t just an assignment, but that he “might have something to offer this field.” HIRAM MAGAZINE

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