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Dr. Allison Prasch

Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Politics & Culture, University of Wisconsin, Madison

My research and teaching focuses on U.S. presidential rhetoric, public address, foreign policy, space/place, and rhetorical history, theory, and criticism.

I am currently completing a book manuscript on Cold War U.S. presidential rhetoric. Entitled The Global Rhetorical Presidency: Cold War Rhetoric on the World Stage, this book examines how U.S. presidents used their rhetoric abroad as a persuasive strategy. As chief executives and other governmental officials faced the urgent task of enlarging the United States’ role in the Cold War world, they proactively deployed the physical presence of the U.S. president abroad—and the mediation, transmission, and circulation of these visits—as a political and psychological weapon. Drawing on archival research from five presidential libraries, the Department of State, and the United States Information Agency and fieldwork in Europe, I examine how Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan used their international tours—and, importantly, the widespread media coverage of such tours—as a way to extend the United States’ global influence, expand the reach of presidential power in foreign affairs, and bolster their own image at home and abroad. Ultimately, this book argues that Cold War U.S. presidents took their rhetoric abroad in an attempt to constitute an imagined community of peoples and nations who, although separated by physical distance or national allegiance, were united in their shared opposition to Soviet communism.

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State Expertise: National
Speaks: English

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