Guest Lecture at the Curb Center
This year, the Communication Studies department moved to the Curb Center. I am not going to lie. When I first heard that my classes were neither going to be on main campus nor on commons, but rather in a totally separate location, I was pretty upset. I had no desire to walk almost a mile each way to and from class. I also feared that I would always be late for lunch plans. But, the new space is definitely worth it. In addition is new classrooms, the Communications office suite actually houses the entire department. There is also a great auditorium where the department can host speakers, which brings me to the point of this post.
The Curb Center is actually attached to the First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt is basically trying to integrate the entire campus, and this sometimes results in random departments in the same space. Anyway, the auditorium itself is in the First Amendment Center. It was one of the nicest auditoriums on campus, and the chairs were quite comfortable. CMST majors and professors gathered to listen to Dr. Leslie Hahner, a professor of Communications Studies at Baylor University.
Professor Hahner studies visual rhetoric, which was especially interesting because at Vanderbilt there are very few opportunities to study this sort of rhetoric. We focus on verbal rhetoric- predominantly speeches. The specific topic of the discussion was yarn bombing. I had no idea what yarn bombing was. Apparently, it is a form of artistic expression that Hahner compared to paint graffiti. Yarn bombers adorn public places with their creations. Technically, it is illegal, as is paint graffiti.
In a nutshell, Hahner argued that yarn bombing is no different than paint graffiti. Thus, yarn bombers should be punished in a way that mirrors the way that paint graffiti artists are punished. I actually left the talk unsettled for a number of reasons, which I will refrain from sharing to spare you all. When I got to class this morning, my professor and many of the other students were similarly unsatisfied. We were instructed to analyze her argument in terms of rhetorical strength, and adherence to the guidelines we follow when we make analytical arguments about rhetorical purpose. Of course, Professor Hahner is infinitely more qualified than I am, but I was able to find certain flaws in her argument using the skill set I have developed over the past three years.
Professor Hahner was incredibly engaging. I loved her talk, even if I disagreed with some of her arguments.