Davis & Elkins College Conference to Explore Propaganda | News, Sports, Jobs


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ELKINS — The Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy at Davis & Elkins College will present a public lecture on the nature and limits of popular propaganda at 5 p.m. on Monday, September 19 at the Myles Center for the Arts in the Senate.

Dr. Nathan Crick, Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University, will deliver the talk titled “Machiavelli, Savonarola and the Propaganda of Appearances.”

In this lecture, Crick will explain appearance propaganda, a form of popular rhetoric that responds to catastrophe by interpreting appearances through myth. The conference will explore the nature of popular propaganda to show its limits in the face of a crisis.

Crick studies the role of rhetoric in the dynamic relationship between permanence and change. His recent work has explored the contemporary relevance of Italian Renaissance philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli to modern politics and the rhetorical challenges presented by climate change and technology.

Drawing on knowledge of classical, pragmatic, and continental philosophy, it investigates the rhetorical character of the arts, sciences, religion, and journalism in specific moments in history characterized by disruptions in power structures.

“I am delighted to welcome Crick to campus,” Dr. Andrew Jones, acting director of the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy, said. “He is a dynamic and engaging speaker, and his work covers topics ranging from the drama of classical Greece to contemporary social movements.”

A native of Massachusetts, Crick studied environmental science and journalism at the University of Massachusetts before working as a journalist in upstate New York, then as an educator at a science museum in Portland, New York. Oregon.

After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, he taught for seven years at Louisiana State University before joining Texas A&M in 2013. His early work explored the rhetorical character of American pragmatism and the work of John Dewey, focusing specifically on the how rhetoric informed by the aesthetics, logic and ethics of pragmatism can enrich democratic practice. A later reading of history led to more specialized works that explored the relationship between rhetoric and power in classical Greek thought, American transcendentalism, and the Italian and Irish Renaissance periods. These landmark investigations have inspired increased interest in media ecology, social movements, the rise of fascism, propaganda methods, and the practice of democratic pedagogy and self-construction.

Opened in 2016, the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy provides an open space where students, faculty, visiting scholars, and others can explore issues of faith and social and public policy. It is named after D&E Trustee and alumnus David Morrison ’79 and his wife, Phebe Novakovic.

For more information about the conference, email Jones at [email protected]



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Angela C. Hale