Affiliate(s): Southwestern Social Science Association

Southwestern Social Science Association President Salli Vargis is pleased to announce that Dr Jennifer R Mercieca will deliver the Presidential Keynote Address at the 2023 Annual Meeting in Fort Worth.

Her presentation for the Annual Meeting is entitled “Communicating for the Democratic Way of Life.”

Our public sphere is dominated by the widespread use of information warfare techniques that normalize the idea that “politics is war and the enemy cheats.” Over the past decade we’ve seen political leaders use anti-democratic communication strategies like ad hominem attacks, conspiracy theory, and stochastic terrorism to position others as “hate-objects” to be destroyed. Using communication as a weapon is a winning strategy judged by the metrics of attention and engagement, but it’s a losing strategy for democracy. Weaponized communication is “treason to the democratic way of life,” that threatens democracy itself.

Dr Mercieca is Professor of Communication and Journalism at Texas A&M University. She has multiple publications in a wide variety of journals, including Presidential Studies Quarterly and The Quarterly Journal of Speech, among others. She has written for USA Today and Washington Post. Her journalistic contributions been translated into dozens of languages and republished in newspapers and online worldwide. Her 2020 book, Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump, received positive reviews in Washington Post and was compared directly to Orwell’s Politics and the English Language and Frankfurt’s On Bullshit.