Maegan Parker Brooks, Assistant Professor of Civic Communication and Media
Title: Emmett’s Life Matters: Enthymematic Reasoning and Memetic Representation in Contemporary Public Discourse
The name, the face, and the story of Emmett Till, the black teenager who was lynched in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman, are reemerging in America’s collective consciousness. This presentation will consider how the figure of Till figures within contemporary verbal and visual media. I will examine popular newspaper and magazine articles, as well as widely-circulated memes, explicating their implicit social knowledge premises in relation to three audience groups. For contemporary activists, establishing connections between Till, the mid-twentieth century Black Freedom Movement, and America’s current racial climate offers direction to a nascent movement. For experientially external yet sympathetic audiences, evoking the Till tragedy provides form and substance to the abstract condition of mourning endured by blacks in America. For those external and previously disinterested audiences, memes visually linking Till to the contemporary deaths of unarmed black youth create dialectical tensions which hold the affective capacity to stimulate an acknowledgment of how post-racial inaction perpetuates entrenched patterns of injustice.
Please feel free to invite students to attend this talk.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Doreen Simonsen and Daniel Rouslin
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators