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Northwestern School of Communication

Robert Hariman

Current work includes continuing although spotty involvement in the history of rhetoric and the study of modern visual public culture, and a new, long-term project that attempts to reboot formalism as a post-critical method for engagement with the existential problems of the Anthropocene.

Area(s) of Expertise

Public Discourse, Rhetoric, Visual cultures
Robert Hariman

Robert Hariman joined the Northwestern faculty in 2004. His scholarship focuses on the role of public art and artistry in human affairs, particularly with regard to political judgment and the discursive constitution of modern society. Hariman teaches courses in rhetorical theory and the critical study of public culture. In addition to his book publications, Hariman has numerous book chapters and journal articles in several disciplines, and his work has been translated into Arabic, Chinese and French.


  • PhD, Communication Studies, University of Minnesota
  • BA, Communication, Macalester College

Selected Publications

  • The Public Image: Photography and Civic Spectatorship, co-authored with John Louis Lucaites (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016)
  • Culture, Catastrophe, and Rhetoric: The Texture of Political Action, co-edited with Ralph Cintron, Studies in Rhetoric Culture, vol. 7 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2015)
  • No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy, co-authored with John Louis Lucaites (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007)
  • Prudence: Classical Virtue, Postmodern Practice, edited volume, (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003)
  • Post-Realism: The Rhetorical Turn in International Relations, co-edited with Francis A. Beer (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1996)
  • Political Style: The Artistry of Power (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995)
  • Popular Trials: Rhetoric, Mass Media, and the Law, edited volume (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990)
  • “Finding the Yes in No: Persistence, Astonishment, Resonance, and Abundance in Ivo’s World,” Anthropology as Homage: Festschrift for Ivo Strecker, ed. Felix Girke, Sophia Thubauville, and Wolbert Smidt, (Cologne: Rüdiger KöppeVerlang, 2018), 189-198
  • “Image Appropriation and the Co-production of Meaning,” with John Louis Lucaites, in Rhetorical Audience Studies and Reception of Rhetoric: Exploring Audiences Empirically, ed. Jens E. Kjeldsen (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018), 285-308
  • “Love in the Ruins? Or, Photography’s Radical Promise,” Explorations in Media Ecology 17 (2018): 491-497
  • “Predicting the Present: Iconic Photographs and Public Culture in the Digital Media Environment,” with John Louis Lucaites, Journalism & Communication Monographs 20 (2018): 318-324
  • “Public Culture,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication, ed. Jon Nussbaum (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017),
  • “Photography: The Abundant Art,” with John Louis Lucaites, Photography and Culture 9 (2016): 39-58
  • “What is a Chiasmus? Or, Why the Abyss Stares Back,” in Chiasmus and Culture, ed. Boris Wiseman and Anthony Paul (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 45-68
  • “Political Parody and Public Culture,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 94.3 (2008): 247-272
  • “Allegory and Democratic Public Culture in the Postmodern Era,” Philosophy and Rhetoric 35 (2002): 267-296


  • 294: The Public Image
  • 310: Rhetoric, Democracy, and Empire in Classical Athens
  • 404: Classical Rhetoric and Its Afterlives
  • 412: Modern Rhetorical Theory
  • 453: Visual Rhetoric