- Via Podcast: Communication Studies Professor Celeste Condit
University of Georgia professor Celeste Condit knows a thing or two about switching gears. Her background and interests were varied as a college student--biology, chemistry, economics, humanities---and her professional studies continue to take on many different disciplines. Some of her research has focused on science communication and genetics, some has focused on international communications and health and many disciplines and topics in between. Her CV describes her research interests:
The use of rhetorical analysis to explore the role of discourse in processes of social change and stability, with particular focus on issues of human reproduction and the impact of genetic technologies. My current research focuses on understanding how the individual/biological inputs to communication interface with the social/material inputs, especially with regard to emotion ("pathos").
Her research provides some perspective on how media and our use of words affects our ability to understand one another, the world around us and even ourselves. As we continue on through this election season, how we use our words and how we understand each other seems more important than ever.
Recently featured in a Wabash College podcast, she also had the honor of giving the Brigance Forum Lecture on campus there this Spring. Her lecture there was entitled "How Human Anger Routines Shaped '9/11’” and is worth listening to as well.
The podcast begins with a discussion about how technology and media have changed over the years, and have changed the way that we understand and communicate with one another. As Condit puts it, while it may seem that new media provides challenges in the way that we communicate, this has been true throughout time. When the Gutenberg press came out, for example, there were changes in how we communicated in that medium. We stopped trying to mimic speech via text in headlines and instead learned to use our words. She’s hopeful that we will become better at using our technology, as has been the case throughout history.
“When the media throws us curve balls, we eventually learn how to hit them,” she notes in the podcast. We changed how we communicated intensity in print. We also developed a kind of cooler capacity of judgement in print [...] We actually became better at linear thought.
“I think there’s a hope that we will adapt to the new media,” she adds.
The podcast also provides some perspective on how she became interested in the field of communication studies, her career path and why research of human communication is so important. Take a listen, if you’ve got the time. This podcast was a great means for reflection on this rainy day in Athens. Enjoy!