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January 23 talk to analyze Trump’s inaugural speech

image of Vanessa Beasley

Vanessa Beasley

President-Elect Donald Trump will soon give his inaugural address. Researcher Vanessa Beasley will give an analysis and talk on the address at 7 p.m. Monday, January 23, in Capen Auditorium (Edwards Hall) on the Illinois State University campus.

Beasley, the director of the Program of American Studies at Vanderbilt University, has researched and published about political communication throughout her career in academia. Her work includes the study of every inaugural address from 1885-2000–as well as other presidential rhetoric.

The free event is presented by the ISU School of Communication Promotion and Development team (SoC PD) and sponsored by the ISU Student Government Association, the ISU Women and Gender Studies Program, Harold K. Sage Foundation Fund, and the Illinois State University Foundation.

An associate professor of communication studies, Beasley is the author of the books You, The People: American National Identity in Presidential Rhetoric, published in 2004; and Who Belongs in America? Presidents, Rhetoric and Immigration, published in 2006. Her areas of expertise include the history of the rhetoric of American presidents, political rhetoric on immigration, and the relationship between politics and the media.

“I am interested in the U.S. presidency as an institution; that is, what happens if, instead of focusing only on the individual person in the office, we start to focus on the institution itself,” she said. “What happens to people when they become U.S. president; what does ‘the job’ mean that you can and cannot say or do? Sometimes we refer to the president as the most powerful person in the world, but I’m very interested in the paradoxes of power and the ways in which the U.S. presidency has historically been designed to constrain individual power(s).”

Illinois State’s Professor of Politics and Government Lane Crothers, believes that understanding an inaugural address assists in understanding an upcoming presidency. “One of the keys to effective leadership is the ability to convince people to think about issues and problems the same way that you do,” said Crothers. “Often called ‘framing,’ this ability to frame debate of preferred terms was certainly one of Donald Trump’s strengths and is likely to remain a key part of his governing strategy as president. As a consequence, understanding framing in general, and Donald Trump’s framing of political life in particular, will be crucial to understanding the Trump presidency going forward.”

For more information, contact Anna Cachares at aecacha@ilstu.edu.

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