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Appraising Our Investments in Youth: Rhetorical Education in the Age of Neoliberalism

  • Author(s): Lee, Jasmine
  • Advisor(s): Alexander, Jonathan F
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

In this dissertation, I trace the figure of youth through three sites of rhetorical education since the mid-twentieth century, analyzing how our investments in youth are “always already” infused with political economic logics and values. I explore how we engage youth in our disciplinary conversations, what we rely on it to do, what it does unbeknownst to us, and how it both facilitates and limits our critical pedagogical ambitions. Through this inquiry, I intervene in ongoing discussions about how capitalism has changed and threatened the work we do in higher education by considering some of the smaller, more slippery ways that neoliberalism moves through our academic and intellectual spaces. As I track the depth and breadth of capitalism’s influence in rhetorical education, I tune in to affect, a powerful pedagogical medium in the neoliberal age and, I ultimately argue, a vital and capacious creative mode through which we might locate new possibilities for rhetorical education and rhetorical agency in this moment.

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