Commonplace witnessing: Rhetorical invention, historical remembrance, and public culture

Research output: Book/ReportBook

14 Scopus citations


Commonplace Witnessing examines how citizens, politicians, and civic institutions have adopted idioms of witnessing in recent decades to serve a variety of social, political, and moral ends. It does so by exploring the rhetoric of witnessing in especially influential idiomatic forms, including survivor testimony, popular memoirs, political speech, civic memorials, and public rituals of forgiveness. The book thus argues that witnessing now constitutes a prevalent mode of address in which many different subjects participate, and not only individuals who possess extraordinary historical experiences of injustice or tragedy. Commonplace Witnessing maintains that reconsidering normative assumptions about which historical subjects bear witness, and how they do so, enhances our understanding of the numerous ways in which rites of witnessing influence public perceptions of historical injustice or tragedy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages234
ISBN (Electronic)9780190611088
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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