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
  • Campus Free Speech
  • Ethics Education
  • Historical Commemoration
  • Politics


  • Vivian can speak to how people debate and appeal to the collective memory of past events, such as September 11, 2001.
  • Can speak about the debate over free speech on campus, how misinformation and other factors fed into the current "crisis" narrative and what the impact might be not only on academic freedom but also civil liberties and democracy.

Bradford Vivian’s research focuses on theories of rhetoric and public controversies over collective memories of past events. Vivian is the author of “Campus Misinformation” (Oxford University Press), “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

Campus Misinformation: An Interview with Dr. Bradford Vivian

from Politics Considered with Bill Gallagher podcast January 27, 2024

"Then, as now, education was a gateway to membership in society."

"The quality of public debate over free speech in higher education matters. Government interference with colleges does not punish elites. It rewards deeply cynical views of higher education and restricts a freedom that should be available to all Americans."

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

"Media fixation on politicians' statements and punditry following the Unite the Right rally overshadowed more difficult and substantive discussions about its meaning."

"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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