Date of Award


Degree Name

Communication Studies


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Stephen Cooper

Second Advisor

Camilla Brammer

Third Advisor

Cynthia Torppa


Many scholars have called the utility of the generic method of rhetorical criticism into question. Adopting a situational approach to generic rhetorical criticism increases the value of the method considerably. By analyzing situational constituents (scene, purpose, agent, act, agency, and audience) surrounding a discourse, a critic gains a holistic understanding of that text. When coupled with generic comparisons - whether the critic proceeds inductively or deductively - he or she can then trace the recurrent rhetorical strategies across time and place and, simultaneously, highlight the elements unique to the particular rhetor and discourse. I demonstrate this approach through an analysis of President Barack Obama's March 28, 2011 Address to the Nation on Libya, in which he explained the U.S. military intervention in the Libyan Revolution that unfolded during the Arab Spring uprisings.


Rhetoric - Political aspects.

Communication - Social aspects.

Obama, Barack - Oratory.