The Rhetoric of American Exceptionalism: Champions and Challengers

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2010

Project Description/Abstract

Since its founding, America’s politicians, pundits, and policymakers have rhetorically constructed a vision of the United States that it is a “New Israel” and a “shining city upon a hill.” However, how the United States enacts this exceptional nature has been under constant debate. Recently, military missteps in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well has high levels of deficits and debts, have even led some to question America’s exceptional status. This edited book examines the rhetorical tension between America’s exceptionalist champions and its challengers. By rhetorical this book means that the chapters in this text seek to interrogate how symbols—speech texts, television programming, print advertisements, letters, and memorial sites—are used to define, construct, persuade, and teach audiences about the various contours of American exceptionalism. Those contours are explored by junior and senior scholars who have composed chapters about presidential rhetoric, foreign policy discourse, religion, the Olympics, as well as others. This text marks the first comprehensive examination of American exceptionalism from a rhetorical perspective and is the first book on this subject in the field of communication studies. The funding for this project will help to complete an introduction for the book, formatting the individual chapters, and an index for this text to be sent to my publisher in the fall.

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