2004 Lecture

On March 17, 2004, Professor G. Thomas Goodnight of University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication presented the inaugural lecture entitled “Rhetoric and Risk: Problems, Puzzles and Paradoxes.” He argued that the concept of risk structures public argument in the modern age. Professionals have to communicate with the client, institutional, and public levels to help people and institutions avoid, cope with, or change the nature of hazards. Before we can “manage” risk, Goodnight said, we must understand the role and flexibility of “risk” in contemporary public discourses. His presentation explored the communication strategies of initiative and containment and the challenges that they present. The examples used to illustrate centered on post-9/11 proof standards in discourse regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorist attacks.

Professor Goodnight publishes widely on argumentation and the public sphere, rhetorical theory, history and criticism, and argumentation and foreign policy debates. He has won the National Communication Association’s prestigious Woolbert and Golden Anniversary Monograph Awards for his scholarship. In 1999, the American Forensic Association named him one of the top five scholars in argumentation for the latter half of the 20th century. He has edited the journal Argumentation and Advocacy.

Some photos from the event: