Dr. Teresa Grettano, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric & Composition and Director of First-Year Writing, helped facilitate the 12th Annual Rhetoricians for Peace Special Event at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention in Tampa, Florida, over Spring Break. This year’s event explored the risks and rewards of building capacity for the future of peace. In Part 1 of the event, participants discussed the following questions, “What might peace look like in the 21st Century? What are the greatest threats to peace? Where are the greatest opportunities for peace? What is the role of rhetoric and writing in peace building?” In Part 2, participants discussed, “How might we create shared historical narratives that ground conversations about peace? How might we listen to underrepresented voices and support marginalized voices to be heard? How might we speak truth to power? What might we say to someone on the extreme end of a political ideology to open conversation about peace? How might we forge alliances for peace through finding common ground among difference?”
During the event, Dr. Grettano presented “The Role of Social Media in Movements toward Peace,” during which she analyzed social media as a tool to organize populations, compose shared cultural narratives, speak truth to power, and develop dialogue within protest movements. She used recent cases like the Turkish Gezi Park demonstrations and Occupy Wall Street movement to interrogate how peace and protest movements are both fostered and hindered by social media culture and tools, and offered ways to leverage the power of the people on social media to drive movements toward peace and to prepare students and other citizens to participate in the culture of social media peace and protest movements more productively.