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Carole Blair discusses the function of war memorials

Apr 12, 2012

It is not uncommon for families and friends of veterans to become emotionally upset when they visit a war memorial. War memorials are established to remember the fallen and commemorate the efforts of those who fought tirelessly. But what do these memorials say about society and the time in which they were constructed? Carole Blair, a professor of communication studies who will speak at Pacific will explain how war memorials speak to us and how we are influenced by their design.

Blair has studied war memorials internationally, and analyzed the meanings and politics of these sites. She will speak at Pacific at Noon on April 20 in the Classroom Building room 231 to discuss the rhetorical symbolism of war commemorations.

War commemorations come in many forms from museums to military cemeteries to monuments. While many will initially see these sites simply as statues, historical landmarks or graveyards, the way they are designed is often meant to draw an emotional reaction from visitors, though the memorials often are designed to "sanitize" the war being remembered, while still honoring the deceased.

Blair was educated in communication and awarded her Ph. D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1983. She is a professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Blair's research has taken her in many directions, but it has had a central focus in rhetoric and how of certain art forms, such as memorials, "speak."

Blair's latest work looks at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, a small village in eastern France destroyed during the First World War.  Its location is now a commemorative site marked by the French government. Blair's research in Fleury focuses on the creative rhetorical aesthetic, imagining a life in the absence of the war that took place on its grounds.

For more information on Blair, visit http://comm.unc.edu/facstaff/facultyprofile/Blair. For more information of Pacific's Communication department visit http://www.pacific.edu/Academics/Schools-and-Colleges/College-of-the-Pacific/Academics/Departments-and-Programs/Communication.html

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