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Empowering Public Speaking

A Critical/Cultural Introduction (First Edition)
Deanna L. Fassett and Keith Nainby
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With emphasis on using public speaking as a means for social justice, Empowering Public Speaking: A Critical/Cultural Introduction helps students develop the communication skills necessary to successfully effect change. Readers learn about public speaking as a means of personal, social, economic, and cultural power, and how communication shapes social relations, identity development, and public awareness. Through examples and discussions, the book demonstrates how public speaking is a significant act that inspires social transformation.

Over the course of 12 chapters, students learn how communication creates our social reality and shapes interpersonal relationships. They discover the importance of critical, compassionate listening, careful attention to power, and adapting speeches to a specific time, place, and purpose. Dedicated chapters address the craft required for effective public speaking, the responsibility of finding and sharing reputable sources of information, and strategies for delivering an impassioned address. The closing chapters discuss speaker accountability, the constant evolution of public speaking, and its ability to empower.

Dr. Deanna L. Fassett is a professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at San José State University. She is the author of Critical Communication Pedagogy and Coordinating the Communication Course: A Guidebook (both with John T. Warren). Her published research has appeared in an array of communication studies journals, including Basic Communication Course Annual, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Communication Education, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, and Text and Performance Quarterly.
Dr. Keith Nainby is a professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. His publications include chapters in The SAGE Handbook of Communication and Instruction and The Invisibility Factor: Administrators and Faculty Reach Out to First-Generation College Students, as well as journal articles in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, Language and Intercultural Communication, and Educational Foundations.
Other Cognella titles by Deanna L. Fassett:

Other Cognella titles by Keith Nainby:

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“Fassett and Nainby are creating a text that I think is missing in the market and the way my course is designed attends to so much of what they are doing in this text but I’ve been missing a text to complement it save for writing one myself which I don’t have time to do at the moment. … The book provides contemporary examples, a focus on advocacy, meets students where they are and is written in a voice that they can identify with and relate to. This will also be good for other and younger teachers alike which makes balancing needs across multiple sections and instructors helpful.”
Angela M. Hosek, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Public Speaking Course Director, Ohio University

“The deep focus on and analysis of current social issues facing audiences today is the most impressive aspect of this material. … I believe the students at my institution would benefit from this text as it would show them value for public speaking skills beyond classroom preparation.”
Christina E. Saindon, Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

“Obviously, the social justice focus [is the most impressive aspect of the work] – it is strong, sustained, and it absolutely shows public speaking as a consequential communicative activity that we are all a part of as speakers and audiences. …. I also think it is excellent that, there is a consistent and persistent return to and reminders of the constitutive model of communication – I think one of the great challenges and opportunities for our discipline as a whole is to shape and enrich public thinking on what communication is and does and this book goes a long way in accomplishing this! … Students will benefit from a critical, performance, social justice lens that consistently moves them/us to think of communication as more than transmission/representation; students will benefit from clear and relevant examples that they are familiar with and that show public speaking as a necessitated, timely communicative act; students will benefit from the expanded understanding of 'political' that this book offers – as critically engaged and influencing society.”
Liliana L. Herakova, Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism, The University of Maine, Orono

“I currently don’t like any textbook. I think they are boring, overwritten, and detached from students. I think this book’s approach is unique and I would strongly consider using it. … I enjoy the tone and quality of the writing. I also like the framing openings and extended examples.”
C. Kyle Ruddick, Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director of Communication Studies, University of Northern Iowa

“I LOVE the use of contemporary issues such as Black Lives Matter to dissect rhetoric moves used by politicians. This feeds into students’ desires to engage present day issues.”
Robert J. Razzante, Graduate Teaching Associate, Hugh Down School of Human Communication, Arizona State University