Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



The study of southern rhetoric and public address remains important to the study of American rhetoric and public address. However, recent years indicate a decline in the amount and variety of scholarship in this area of study. This project provides a meta-critical analysis of the history of southern rhetorical scholarship, focusing mainly on southern public address. By tracing ideology from the Agrarians, Richard Weaver, Dallas Dickey, Waldo Braden, Stephen Smith, and Stuart Towns, clear attitudes and definitions of the South, southern identity and southern rhetoric evolved to create an area of study in much need of revision. The remainder of the project suggests theoretical approaches such as Maurice Charland’s use of constitutive rhetoric and Linda Hutcheon’s theory of parody as just a sample of possible ways southern rhetorical studies may be further developed. These theoretical views are used in light of three case studies a grassroots organization known as the League of the South, a southern politician Senator Zell Miller’s speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention, and a 1919 African American education activist Charlotte Hawkins Brown. These case studies show the need for re-conceptualizing southern rhetoric and re-evaluating the limited canon now facing southern public address.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Laura Sells



Included in

Communication Commons