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The Rhetoric of Inclusiveness

On our phones during class. On the computers in the library. On the bulletin boards in the Russell Union. We come into contact with a myriad of texts and images in these and so many more places, but what impact are they having on us? Some might consider this question too big to pursue, but senior honors writing and linguistics student Hannah Sincavage has turned her passion for the pursuit of these answers into projects and presentations throughout her undergraduate academic career to help shed light on an increasingly important topic.

Hannah Sincavage presenting her research.

Through her focus on rhetoric and composition, Sincavage has been able to devote countless hours of work into studying these examples of written, spoken, and visual rhetoric in an attempt to bring awareness to the impacts they are having on our opinions, ideas, and ways of life. Graduating this fall, Sincavage has spent the past three semesters researching the intersectionality and representation of female bodies with disabilities in still image advertising, such as activewear, swimwear, and lingerie advertisements for her honors thesis. “I saw an advertisement from Aerie featuring a girl with an insulin pump that made me realize how abled I am and how much of a privilege it is to be able to walk up the stairs, to digest my own food, to see,” Sincavage said. With this understanding, she has centered her research around the forms of language, rhetoric, and visual rhetoric and has focused on the topics of the historical representation, language, and representation of disability. 

By incorporating the rhetorical theory and research methods she has been using for her thesis project, Sincavage has been able to take a similar approach in researching and analysing other forms of rhetoric found in the public realm.

Last April, Sincavage presented at the Center for Undergraduate Research and Intellectual Opportunities (CURIO) Conference here at Georgia Southern, a conference that offers the opportunity for arts and humanities students to showcase their work and research. Her presentation focused on her blog, “Your Privilege is Showing,” a multimodal piece created for her Cultural Rhetoric class that incorporates theory and texts from the course to highlight the themes of invisible privilege and the perpetuation of oppression and discrimination that spurs from the refusal of some to recognize the existence of privilege in both themselves and others. 

Being able to combine classroom concepts and personal passions is a skill every student strives to achieve. Through her hard work and dedication, Sincavage has been able to use her time in college to research topics and issues that interest her in an academically appropriate way that not only increases her knowledge of the theories and concepts taught in her classes but also makes her better informed on the issues that she cares about. Sincavage reflected on her summer by saying, “This research helps to remind me that I’m writing about people, that these things matter, and that I can make a difference.” For the remainder of her time at Georgia Southern and in her future endeavors, Sincavage will continue to work to address the issues of representation, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia in her writing by combining all that she has learned with all that she is passionate about. 


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