Barack Obama’s meteoric rise from a little known Illinois state Senator in 2004 to President of the United States in 2008 was made possible in large part by his exceptional media strategies and rhetorical performances.
President Obama’s image, words, and family have all become a part of the world-wide phenomenon that is Barack Obama. This conference brought together rhetoric, media, and political science scholars to explore and analyze Barack Obama’s image politics, communication practices, and rhetorical strategies. Scholars presented papers on such topics as the visual politics of Obama, Obama and leadership, Obama and civil rights, Obama’s rhetorical style, and other topics relevant to the Obama phenomenon.
Bonnie Dow delivered Texas A&M’s annual Kurt Ritter Lecture in Political Rhetoric during the conference on the image politics/media coverage of Michelle Obama. One goal of the conference was to draw together both established and junior scholars (including graduate students) interested in the Obama phenomenon. Thus, the conference featured both plenary speakers and contributed paper presentations. A second goal of the conference was to draw together a group of interdisciplinary scholars interested in the Obama phenomenon. Plenary and contributed papers and responses were competitively selected to appear in a planned edited conference volume.