Bradford Vivian


Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences,
Director of the Center for Democratic Deliberation in Penn State's McCourtney Institute for Democracy


  • Politics & Policy

Focus Areas:

  • American Politics
  • Ethics Education
  • Historical Commemoration
  • Politics


  • Vivian's honors and awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend and, from the National Communication Association, the James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, the Critical/Cultural Studies Division Book of the Year Award, and the Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award

Bradford Vivian’s research focuses on theories of rhetoric and public controversies over collective memories of past events. Vivian is the author of “Commonplace Witnessing: Rhetorical Invention, Historical Remembrance, and Public Culture” (Oxford University Press), “Public Forgetting: The Rhetoric and Politics of Beginning Again” (Penn State Press) and “Being Made Strange: Rhetoric beyond Representation” (SUNY Press). He is also co-editor, with Anne Teresa Demo, of “Rhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form: Sighting Memory” (Routledge). Vivian’s work has also appeared in such journals as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, History and Memory, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly.

In The Media

To Appreciate Black History, Let Go of Confederate Nostalgia

from The Daily Beast February 8, 2019

"As I’ve shown in my research, sometimes communities decide that previously beloved narratives of the past have become divisive and deserve to be set aside. People often attempt to resolve conflicts rooted in history by adopting an attitude of forgetting. " - Bradford Vivian

"Lincoln's description of the Union as a house divided is well-remembered today. But many Americans fail to heed its deeper lessons about equality and the moral foundations of popular government." - Bradford Vivian

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