2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

A Proto-theory for Understanding and Appreciating Midwestern Public Address
Dan Green♦*, Melissa Bradford, and Jillian Kirwan
Dr. Barry Poyner, Faculty Mentor

Communication seminar students were challenged to consider, Is there a distinctive Midwestern outlook and ethos evidenced in American public address? Several lines of inquiry were raised. First, geographically, which states comprise the domain of the Midwest? Second, historically, what sectional issues, movements, and themes define and distinguish the region? Third, rhetorically, which speakers have emerged from the Midwest? Fourth, analogically, what public address research in other regions has been conducted that might offer guidance? Geographical and historical texts were consulted as well as bio-critical source books (Brigance, Hockmuth, Nichols, Ryan, Duffy, Reid). The researchers compared the speaker compilation to speeches included in a noted anthology, Words of a Century: The Top 100 American Speeches 1900-1999 by Lucas and Medhurst. Southern Public Address studies (Braden, Logue, Dorgan) were used as an analogue. The researchers offer a tentative framework for understanding and appreciating Midwestern public address and discuss implications for future research.

Keywords: Midwestern, public address, Great Plains states, central states, regions, sections, Heartland, ethos

Topic(s):Communication

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 402-2
Location: VH 1010
Time: 2:45

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* Indicates the Student Presenter
♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student

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