Associate Professor of Speech Josh Compton and Daniel Lam '22, Speech Policy Rhetoric special minor, will co-present at this year's Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) Conference. Held virtually from September 24-26, 2021, CARP will host presenters who approach character assassination and cancel culture from a variety of disciplinary and cultural angles. Compton and Lam look forward to presenting their work, "Mixing Metaphors: The Analogics of Inoculation Theory and Character Assassination."
"The names of inoculation theory and character assassination are doing so much work. They're naming the theories and, for better or worse (and as we argue in our paper, both), explaining the theories," Compton notes. "Daniel and I are thinking through what these analogics mean for persuasion and image research, which has implications on theory development and applications to such areas as fake news, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and more."
This year's CARP presentations will cover other topics like the weaponization of cancel culture, framing wars in policy debate, and legal aspects of libel, slander, and defamation.
"It's an exciting time to be writing, researching, and thinking about inoculation theory and character assassination," Lam explains. "With misinformation and social media cancel culture becoming hallmarks of the late 2010s and early 2020s, it's more important than ever to understand from a systematic, scientific perspective how and why these forces can shape our interactions online and in person. In recent months we've witnessed the repercussions of misinformation undermining confidence in a presidential election and we've seen how the public face of a national public health effort can be attacked ad hominem by prominent national figures."
CARP 2021 will be Lam's first academic conference. Lam's presentation at CARP will coincide with his independent study with Professor Compton this fall.
Lam's interests in rhetoric led him to create a minor of his own design: Policy Rhetoric. Lam's special minor combines public policy courses from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center with Speech courses from the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric into a cohesive course of study based on the science and informed by the art of political communication.
Lam has interned and is now freelancing for NPR's National Desk. Follow Lam's ongoing work here.