Baylor’s Department of Communication Hosts “Mapping the Stars: Celebrity and the Politics of Metonymy” Lecture

March 2, 2015
Claire Sisco King

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (March 2, 2015) - Baylor University’s Department of Communication in the College of Arts & Sciences will welcome Claire Sisco King, Ph.D., to present a lecture titled “Mapping the Stars: Celebrity and the Politics of Metonymy” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in Castellaw Communications Center Room 101.

King, an assistant professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University, will discuss how celebrities invite interpretation and communicate social norms to the public. According to her, they play a key role in shaping society’s beliefs about categories of identity, such as race and gender. King also will examine the rhetorical methods that celebrities use to communicate and challenge cultural expectations. She will focus her lecture on Will Smith, a celebrity whose public persona illustrates a number of key tensions in American culture.

“Dr. King will be examining how the public uses celebrities as a resource to work through concerns they may have with society,” said Leslie Hahner, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication.

A celebrated author, King has published a number of essays on film and rhetoric in leading national journals. She was recently awarded Book of the Year from the Critical/Cultural Studies Division of the National Communication Association for her book “Washed in Blood: Male Sacrifice, Trauma and the Cinema.” She also received the New Investigator Award in Rhetoric and Communication Theory for the National Communication Association and has been recognized for her exemplary teaching at Vanderbilt University.

“If you start paying attention to pop culture and how the public treats celebrities, you can gain a better understanding of how we act towards each other,” Hahner said. “Dr. King will examine that in her lecture. She is an amazingly engaging lecturer.”

The event is free and open to the public. Castellaw Communications Center is located at 219 Baylor Ave.

For more information about the department of communication in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, call 254-710-1621 or click here.

by Ashton Brown, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 24 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit

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