The Making of Barack Obama: The Politics of Persuasion (Paperback)
THE MAKING OF BARACK OBAMA: THE POLITICS OF PERSUASION provides the first comprehensive treatment of why Obama's rhetorical strategies were so effective during the 2008 presidential campaign, during the first four years of his presidency, and once again during the 2012 presidential campaign. From his "Yes We Can" speech, to his "More Perfect Union Speech," to his Cairo "New Beginnings" speech, candidate-Obama-turned-President-Obama represents what a skilled rhetorician can accomplish within the public sphere. Contributors to the collection closely analyze several of Obama's most important speeches, attempting to explain why they were so rhetorically effective, while also examining the large discursive structures Obama was engaging: a worldwide financial crisis, political apathy, domestic racism, Islamophobia, the Middle East peace process, Zionism, and more. THE MAKING OF BARACK OBAMA will appeal to politically engaged, intelligent readers, scholars of rhetoric, and anyone interested in understanding how the strategic use of language in highly charged contexts-how the art of rhetoric-shapes our world, unites and divides people, and creates conditions that make social change possible. For those new to the formal study of rhetoric, editors Matthew Abraham and Erec Smith include a glossary of key terms and concepts. Contributors include Matthew Abraham, Ren Agustin De los Santos, David A. Frank, John Jasso, Michael Kleine, Richard Marback, Robert Rowland, Steven Salaita, Courtney Jue, Erec Smith, and Anthony Wachs. "From the inspiring slogans and speeches of his campaign to the eloquent successes and failures of his presidency, Barack Obama has been extravagantly praised and sarcastically criticized for the distinctive power of his rhetoric. The essays in this collection persuasively analyze that rhetoric in all its specific tactics and general strategies, in its idealist yearnings and its pragmatic compromises, in its ambitious strivings and its political obstacles. THE MAKING OF BARACK OBAMA is a must read for anyone interested in how political rhetoric works-and doesn't-in twenty-first-century America." -STEVEN MAILLOUX, President's Professor of Rhetoric, Loyola Marymount University "A readable yet critically engaging collection, THE MAKING OF BARACK OBAMA offers a robust look at the deft rhetorical strategies deployed by the first African American President. Moving beyond sentimental, hypercritical or otherwise dismissive readings of his oratory, these essays explore how Obama's speeches have addressed substantive issues, such as globalization, the American dream, political gridlock, the legacy of racism and religious bigotry. This book will appeal to rhetorical scholars and laypersons alike." -DAVID G. HOLMES, Professor of English, Pepperdine University "By confronting topics often avoided in politically correct discourse-including religious identity, racial belonging and the cultural politics of difference- THE MAKING OF BARACK OBAMA doesn't hesitate to engage divisive and difficult issues; producing some of the most challenging, insightful and provocative perspectives to date." -RHEA LATHAN, Assistant Professor of English, Florida State University.