Fabricating Origins - Russell T. McCutcheon

Fabricating Origins - Russell T. McCutcheon

17. Coloring Columbus

Fabricating Origins - Russell T. McCutcheon

Leslie Dorrough Smith [+-]
Avila University
Dr. Dorrough Smith's most recent research focuses on the cultural significance of American Conservative Protestant rhetoric, with special emphasis on the Christian Right. Many scholars who study the Christian Right (NCR) often account for the movement's popularity and distinction by pointing to its absolutist moral positions, its religious fervor, and its selective embrace of seemingly anti-modernist platforms. Unlike other theories of conservative power that focus on the allure of such moral absolutes, Dr. Dorrough Smith's work shows how these absolutes are really not the defining quality of the movement. Rather, they are the byproduct of a certain type of rhetoric (which she calls "chaos rhetoric") that uses chaos, rather than order, imagery to induce persuasion and thereby secure social power. Her work focuses on the linguistic engineering involved in producing chaos rhetoric, and how such movements depend on the strategic manipulation of specific cultural symbols to naturalize and "sell" their political interests.

Description

I am the parent of three children, two of whom are elementary school-aged. As such, I have now twice been handed an line-drawn image of Christopher Columbus that they each have dutifully colored, which appears to be a requisite kindergarten activity at our local public school. Because of the historical evidence that details Columbus’s systematic torture and murder of the peoples whose lands he colonized, I have always found this exercise something akin to coloring a picture of Saddam Hussein or some other such figure.

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Citation

Dorrough Smith, Leslie . 17. Coloring Columbus. Fabricating Origins. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 60-62 May 2015. ISBN 9781781791752. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24339. Date accessed: 23 Sep 2017 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24339. May 2015

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