Study, practice, and pedagogy of idea formation in rhetoric and professional communication
The collapse of traditional epistemology, which began in the nineteen hundreds in Europe, removes many of the traditional distinctions between philosophy and rhetoric and significantly expands the scope of the latter. This dissertation explores some aspects of the new definition of rhetoric that emerges from this collapse. This definition emphasizes how we form ideas (decisions, judgments, theories, but also names and images) by communicating as we work together to solve problems and to decide courses of action by examining social/cultural, institutional, and individual values. "How Professionals Form Their Ideas: An Urgent Research Direction for Rhetoric and Professional Communication" argues that this shift in the definition of rhetoric invites the discipline of professional communication to study how professionals arrive at their ideas, instead of studying how professionals communicate once they have formed their ideas. Noting the growing influence of professionals and the shrinking public sphere, the paper argues that this research direction should be prioritized. "Limits of Countering Stereotypes Through the Use of Visual Rhetoric: A Study of Photographs of Iran" studies how a specific type of idea---known as stereotype---is formed and explores ways of countering the effects and processes of stereotyping in ways that do not merely reverse those effects and processes. "Revisiting the Poststructuralist Turn in Critical Pedagogy" argues that the poststructuralist inflections of critical pedagogy have introduced elements of objectivism into critical pedagogy, which despite its venerable roots in 19th century philosophy is much more in keeping with the shift in the definition of rhetoric than what poststructuralism has to offer.