Three Wooster students present papers at online communications conference

headshots of three students from The College of Wooster

Three students from The College of Wooster recently presented papers at an undergraduate online communication conference hosted by Ball State University. Sam Caley ’23, Hannah Nguyen ’22 and John Waterhouse ’24 each shared their research with their colleagues from other institutions.

A Communications Studies and Theatre & Dance double major, Caley presented a paper titled, “The AIDS Crisis: Modern Collective Memories of the Epidemic in the Queer Community.” The paper was selected as the top presentation in Caley’s session.

The abstract for their paper follows:

This literature review utilizes the framework of collective memory to examine how AIDS and its effects are remembered nearly thirty years after the height of the disease in the United States. I analyze a variety of scholarship on the epidemic and assemble a picture of the national memory of AIDS in our current collective consciousness. From there, I provide an overview of past and current AIDS activism, with a particular focus on the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt, global AIDS awareness, and the methods by which new generations are learning about the AIDS crisis. This final category leads into my analysis of the Internet as a vital source of AIDS-related information for young queers, particularly focusing on messages related to the crisis that are conveyed through social media.”

Nguyen, a Communications Studies major, presented a paper titled, “Exposing Socialism: Secrecy and Disclosure as Rhetorical Forms in Vietnamese Americans for Trump Again’s ‘Open Letter to Vietnamese Youth.’”

The following was the abstract for Nguyen’s paper:

This paper explores how first-generation Vietnamese Americans, who were refugees of the Vietnam War, campaigned for Donald Trump’s presidency during the 2020 election. One representative Vietnamese American pro-Trump organization is the Vietnamese Americans for Trump As President Again (TAPA). Through conspiratorial language disseminated through their blog, TAPA cautioned Vietnamese Americans, especially young people, against liberal institutions that they believe to be socialist. Specifically, their use of secrecy and disclosure as rhetorical forms in an open letter to Vietnamese youth reveal how they perceives communism as a dangerous secret that has infiltrated the United States through liberal movements. Their application of this rhetoric further mystifies the true definition of communism, exacerbates the tension in political ideology among Vietnamese American generations, and facilitates distrust in the government. A critical examination of TAPA’s rhetoric might shed light on the intricacies of Trumpism in similar minority groups in America, informing legislators and political activists of appropriate responses to these messages.

Waterhouse presented a paper at the conference called, “Revolution at the Press: The Rhetoric of the GI Underground Press.” He is a prospective Communications Studies major, but is officially undecided.

The abstract for Waterhouse’s paper follows:

During the Vietnam War, the GI Movement was a collective of GIs who protested the war and military itself, which included the GI Underground Press as an assortment of largely uncredited newspapers, journals, and other artistic media intended to spread dissent against the war among GIs. The GI Underground Press expressed anti-war and countercultural messages in three particular ways. Firstly, the GI Press was consistent with New Left ideology in anti-war sentiments and social beliefs in writings for anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and feminist goals. Next, the morbidity of the GI Press fostered empathy for both Vietnamese and US Americans with explicit anti-war sentiments found within these messages. Finally, the movement was actively defiant in its insistent criticism of the brass and military, along with its encouragement of various degrees of insubordination against the war. These rhetorical characteristics successfully communicated the messages of the GI Movement and transformed the war in Vietnam and the military itself.

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Related Areas of Study

Theatre and Dance

Scholarship and artistry in theatre and dance for those who are passionate about performance in all its forms

Major Minor

Communication Studies

Be an effective listener, writer, and speaker who can think critically and connect with audiences

Major Minor

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