Dr. Kenneth S Zagacki
Professor & Department Head
Ken Zagacki is a Professor of rhetoric and public address and Head of the Department of Communication at NC State University. His research includes the study of Presidential speeches about American foreign policy, the rhetoric of scientific argumentation, the rhetorical dimensions of visual communication, and the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric. He has published numerous articles in major scholarly journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy & Rhetoric, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Ken joined the faculty at NCSU in August 2001, before which he was an associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University for 16 years
His current research projects include co-authored works with his colleague Dr. Victoria Gallagher. They are exploring what they call a "commemorative experience " in the popular "Titanic: An Artifact Exhibit, " which appeared in Raleigh, at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in 2005. Recently they had published in the Quarterly Journal of Speech a paper examining what they refer to as "rhetorical depiction " to demonstrate how the "material rhetoric " of the Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art creates spaces of attention wherein various approaches to the human-nature interface are depicted.
He has an article with Dan Grano soon to appear in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, which analyzes visual and spatial contrasts between the reported post-Katrina apocalypse and the New Orleans' Superdome's cleansing on Monday Night Football to identify a complex tangle of motivations surrounding guilt and absolution, whereby Katrina's victims were both blamed for their own suffering and elevated as a population demanding national atonement. They argue that, as a visually-grounded purification ritual, the Superdome reopening demonstrates the extent to which concentrated African American poverty remains a powerful symbolic reserve for pollution archetypes that disproportionately shape Americans' perceptions of race and class otherness, while at the same time evoking public guilt over the visually concretized sins of structural racism. As a response to profound national trauma, the Superdome reopening throws light upon the implications of absolving racial guilt through visual and spatial purification rituals.