Vanderbilt University Divinity School announces the 2019 Mafoi Carlisle Bogitsh Lecture
to be delivered by
Vanessa B. Beasley, Ph.D.
Associate Provost and Dean of Residential Faculty
Associate Professor of Communication Studies
February 21, 2019
Vanderbilt Divinity School Room 124
Enough: Imagining a Political Culture of Worthiness in the United States
As a scholar of political rhetoric, Beasley's research has focused on how U.S. presidents have used their public discourse--the "bully pulpit," as it were--to make or break real and imagined bonds of community within the nation since its founding. Sadly but perhaps not surprisingly, it can seem easier to find examples of community-breaking than community-making in these moments. Nevertheless, there are real lessons to be learned from these texts. In this lecture, she will discuss a few of them with specific attention to what the historic discourse of the presidency can teach us about how to create a future in which all people are imagined as worthy of belonging, inclusion, and care.
Vanessa Beasley, a Vanderbilt University alumna and expert on the history of U.S. political rhetoric, is associate provost and dean of residential faculty and an associate professor of communications studies.
Beasley attended Vanderbilt as an undergraduate and earned a bachelor of arts in speech communication and theatre arts. She also holds a Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin.
Following stints on the faculty of Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Georgia, she returned to Vanderbilt in 2007 as a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies. Active in the Vanderbilt community, she has served as chair of the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, director of the Program for Career Development for faculty in the College of Arts and Science, and as a Jacque Voegeli Fellow of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
In May 2015, she led a new Maymester course she created in partnership with Queen’s University, Belfast that explored the comparative, transnational understanding of the civil rights movements in the southern United States and in Belfast in the 1950s and 1960s.
Beasley’s areas of academic expertise include the rhetoric of American presidents, political rhetoric on immigration, and media and politics. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and other publications, and is the author of two books, Who Belongs in America? Presidents, Rhetoric, and Immigration and You, the People: American National Identity in Presidential Rhetoric, 1885-2000.