St. Lawrence University Professor named Rhetoric Society of America Book Award finalist

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“Zoetropes and the Politics of Humanhood,” Allison Rowland

CANTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — St. Lawrence University Associate Professor of Performance and Communication Arts Allison Rowland has been named a finalist in the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2021 book awards for her her book, “Zoetropes and the Politics of Humanhood.”

According to St. Lawrence University, Rowland studies rhetoric and public discourse. Her book explains how the way people talk about living beings impacts their perceived value.

“We have some instances where public discourse is actively working to promote the value of people’s lives and then there are moments in public discourse where the value of people’s lives is demoted,” said Rowland. “My book looks at both of those things together, the raising and the lowering, as two sides of the same coin. I really want to attune people to these moments of evaluation, or these moments of changing the value of someone’s life.”

Rowland’s book focuses on specific zoetrope’s through a series of case studies. This includes microbial life at the American Gut Project, fetal life at the National Memorial for the Unborn and vital human life at two fitness centers.

She also proposes different practices that set terms for inclusion through theories of race, gender, sexuality and disability.

The RSA Book Award selection committee reviewed over 30 books covering a number of topics and a range of methods.

Rowland’s book was one of three honorable mentions.

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