Linguistics Speaker Series: Ruth Wodak, Davis Chair Fellow, Georgetown University

Resemiotizing politics – Old wine in new bottles?
Politics has become increasingly innovative, and a strategic understanding of traditional and new media and its effects is now an essential aspect of being a politician and performing politics. An increasingly complex world is reduced to political personalities, their perceived power and ‘charisma’. There is an obvious need to understand how these changes linked to the mediatisation, personalisation, and marketisation of politics affect the ways of ‘doing politics’ in everyday life, and their perception by citizens, in different national contexts. Moreover, it is important to develop innovative pragma-linguistic, discourse-analytical, rhetorical and argumentative approaches to be able to theorize and analyze the new developments in the political arena. 
By combining multimodal analysis with the discourse-historical approach in critical discourse analysis, I illustrate the ways in which new modes and new genres (such as Rap Songs) or visuals (such as comic books) enable the conveying of contradictory meanings in political campaigning through a discursive strategy of calculated ambivalence by blurring past and present, fiction and reality. 
Ruth Wodak has been Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University, UK, since 2004. Her research interests focus on discourse studies; language and/in politics; identity politics and prejudice and discrimination.  She is co-editor of the journals Discourse and Society, Critical Discourse Studies, and Language and Politics, and co-editor of the book series Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture (DAPSAC).  She has held visiting professorships in University of Uppsala, Stanford University, University Minnesota, University of East Anglia, and Georgetown University; she is member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and member of the Academia Europaea.  Her awards include the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996, the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament (at University Örebrö) in 2008, an Honorary Doctorate from University of Örebro in Sweden in 2010, and the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2011. She is Past President of the Societas Linguistica Europaea.  
Wodak has published 8 monographs, 27 co-authored monographs, over 50 edited volumes and ca 400 peer reviewed journal papers and book chapters. Recent book publications include The discourse of politics in action: ‘Politics as Usual’ (Palgrave), revised edition (2011); Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty, P. Jones, 2011); The Discursive Construction of History. Remembering the German Wehrmacht’s War of Annihilation (with H. Heer, W. Manoschek, A. Pollak, 2008); The Politics of Exclusion. Debating Migration in Austria (with M. Krzyżanowski, 2009); The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with Barbara Johnstone and Paul Kerswill, 2010); Analyzing Fascist Discourse. Fascism in Talk and Text (with John Richardson, 2013), and Rightwing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse (with Majid KhosraviNik and Brigitte Mral, 2013). 

Friday, January 31, 2014 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Poulton Hall, 230
1421 37th St., N.W., Washington

Event Type

Academic Events


Linguistics, Georgetown College


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