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Rhetorical Studies Reading Group

at the university of illinois

Thanks for sharing your insights!

Some #OWS Highlights:

• Theme of occupying, inhabiting, performing in public space. Cara: This is a movement about cities, centers of power. Action takes place in cities.

• Is this a movement? A meme? A protest?

•We are the the 99% blog: tension between individual faces and the collective. What is highlighted / missed? Can we identify with the faces? Rohini: Why can’t our students identify / empathize with the faces? Cara: Low tech images with high tech (web cams) media-highlights privilege.

• Ned: “We are the 99%” is an anti-class discourse. Universalizing, but also self-defeating- Ned: won’t confront real class issues. Arie: analogue to colorblindness, but for class. You can see people staking claims in terms of class status on the Tumblr site (“I am homeless and on food stamps” vs. “I am doing just fine”)

• Declaration of the Occupation: How does it fit the Declaration genre? Cara: this is more like the Declaration of Sentiments than Declaration of Independence.

• Is this movement about about creating a space for alternative to America? Ned: How can the movement free itself from the context of America? — Bercovitch.

• Courtney: Movement’s use of “Union-Speak” (i.e. solidarity). Vernacular speaks to a certain audience? Is that legitimizing or divisive?

• OWS vs. the Tea Party: (How) Will the movement gain effectual power in American politics? Or is it just a rejection of American political system (i.e. rebuking Democratic Party endorsements)

• Marie: Can our analytical tools as rhetoricians address this? What tools can we use?

• How can / will the movement evaluate “success”? Proliferation of OWS talking points in American politics (i.e. congressional committee hearings, etc.?)

• How can we engage our students on OWS / politics in general?


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