Interactive Panel Presentation to be Held on Obama and Change for America

Jan. 14, 2009

by Lauren Venegas, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

The Baylor University community will have the opportunity to participate in an interactive discussion panel on, "Barack Obama: American Politics at a Moment of Change" at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, in the Castellaw Communications Center, room 101, with a reception to follow in the Castellaw Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

"The main goal of the event is to involve the campus community in this historic event and to utilize the expertise that we have here at Baylor to help us all better appreciate this event from historical, political, rhetorical and governmental perspectives," said Dr. Martin J. Medhurst, a Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication and professor of political science, who will lead one of the discussion panels.

"I think we all hope that the audience will gain some knowledge and perspective on what is happening and that the event will broaden their appreciation for this truly historic moment," Medhurst said.

The panel discussion, hosted by the department of communication studies, will be moderated by Dr. David Schlueter, chair of the department. After four 7-10 minute panel discussions with Baylor professors, the panelists will then take questions from the audience. Topics include:

• Dr. James M. SoRelle, professor of history: "The Obama Election: Political Anomaly or Symbolic Conclusion to the African-American Freedom Struggle?"

• Dr. Joseph Brown, associate professor of political science: "The Obama Presidency and African-American Politics: Change We Can Believe In?"

• Dr. David Nichols, associate professor of political science: "President Obama and the End of Divided Government?"

• Dr. Martin J. Medhurst, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication and professor of political science: "The Inaugural Address in Times of Crisis: What Will Obama Say?"

"This will be an opportunity to celebrate the significance of Obama's election as the first African-American President of the United States," Schlueter said. "Additionally, we hope that audience members will become more knowledgeable about the rhetorical and political complexities confronting President-elect Obama, and how he will begin to manage these complexities in his inaugural address."

"Barack Obama's election is a rhetorically powerful and politically and socially meaningful event for the United States and the world," Schlueter said. "This panel discussion will be an opportunity for audience members to reflect on, talk about, and fully engage the significance of Obama's election to America's politics and society in general. It is our hope to make this event as interactive as possible."

For more information, contact the department of communication studies at (254) 710-1621.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?