Associate Professor of English
CEP Faculty

John Oddo

My research draws on theories of rhetoric, discourse, and multimodality to critically examine how powerful agents use language (and other symbols) to generate support for war. The focal point of my research is "intertextual rhetoric"—that is, rhetoric that operates across texts and across time. For a long time, I have been interested in how U.S. presidents rearticulate generic rhetorical strategies to manipulate the public and draw the country into hostilities. Recently, I have also focused on the ways that media institutions recontextualize and modify the claims of political leaders during the run-up to war—often enhancing the "call-to-arms message." My first book, Intertextuality and the 24-Hour News Cycle, examines how Colin Powell's 2003 address to the United Nations was reported (and reformulated) by newspapers, internet news outlets, and television news networks. Currently, I am working on a new research monograph that examines propaganda in the Persian Gulf War and the "War on Terror." When I am not studying the mystifying language of war, I find some much-needed peace—at home with my wife and two daughters.

Recent Publications

Oddo, J. (2014). Intertextuality and the 24-hour news cycle: A day in the rhetorical life of Colin Powell's U.N. address. Michigan State University Press. Rhetoric & Public Affairs Series.

Oddo, J. (2014). Variation and continuity in intertextual rhetoric: From the 'war on terror' to the 'struggle against violent extremism.' Journal of Language and Politics, 13(3),513-538.

Oddo, J. (2013) Discourse-based methods across texts and semiotic modes: Three tools for micro-rhetorical analysis. Written Communication, 30(3), 236-275. (Special Issue on Methodology)

Oddo, J. (2013). Precontextualization and the rhetoric of futurity: Foretelling Colin Powell's U.N. address on NBC News. Discourse & Communication, 7(1), 25-53.

Oddo, J. (2011) War legitimation discourse: Representing 'Us' and 'Them' in four U.S. Presidential addresses. Discourse & Society 22(3), 287-314.