Dr. Brian Amsden of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Clayton State University recently debuted the fourth episode of his podcast titled Rhetorical Questions. In Episode 4, “The First Rule of Free Speech,” Amsden looks at a January 2015 incident in which three high school students in Maine were publicly assailed for adding the words “if you’d like to” to the morning announcement asking their peers to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Rhetorical Questions is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and at www.rhetoricalquestions.org, and offers listeners the opportunity to consider “how humans come to believe all the impossible things we believe.” Through narrative explorations, in each episode, Amsden examines a moment in human history through rhetorical analysis, giving subscribers new perspectives on issues and events that are noteworthy for historical or contemporary reasons.
“Through this podcast, my aim is to bring discussions about persuasion that may take place in an academic setting and connect them with everyday stories from our lived experience,” notes Amsden. “In the classroom, students come to life when they learn the value of public debate over issues as complex as civil rights, gender violence, privilege, and free speech, and how this intersects at a practical level with their personal experiences. The podcast aims to take those sorts of realizations to a wider audience.”
Previous episodes of Rhetorical Questions cover a diverse range of topics from the origin of rhetoric to a notable and humorous moment during a 2007 presidential debate, to the controversy created by a 2014 article in Rolling Stone Magazine that reported the alleged gang rape of a University of Virginia student.
Amsden is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Clayton State, where he teaches and conducts research in rhetoric, argumentation, cultural studies and law.