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Lifting 'the Long Shadow': Kategoria and Apologia in the Legacy of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Boyer, Autumn R. (2011) Lifting 'the Long Shadow': Kategoria and Apologia in the Legacy of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The U.S. Public Health Service Study at Tuskegee, conducted from 1932-1972, is widely considered a paradigm of bioethics failure in American history. Twenty-five years after the end of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, no member of the U.S. government had yet offered an official apology to the victims. Entreated by an interdisciplinary committee of scholars and community members to help lift "the long shadow" of distrust and fear caused by the Study, President Clinton offered words of apology on May 16, 1997 for the deeds of government officials committed decades earlier. This dissertation examines Clinton's address within the broader context of the Tuskegee legacy. Following the critical method proposed by Ryan, the request for an apology and Clinton's speech are paired and criticized as a kategoria/apologia speech set, allowing for richer yields than analyzing the texts in isolation. The ethical and rhetorical implications of treating Clinton's speech as apologia, interpersonal apology, or institutional apology are considered. Finally, the dissertation follows the rhetorical path of the Tuskegee legacy by analyzing a body of empirical research by public health scholars about the possible effects of lingering memories and attitudes about the Tuskegee Study on individuals' willingness to participate as medical research subjects in the present day. The rhetorical situation, as conceptualized by Bitzer and modified by Vatz and Consigny, and McGee's 'ideograph' also serve as critical tools in the analyses of the key rhetorical artifacts of the Tuskegee legacy.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Boyer, Autumn R.arp18@pitt.eduARP18
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMitchell, Gordon Rgordonm@pitt.eduGORDONM
Committee MemberLyne, Johnjlyne@pitt.eduJLYNE
Committee MemberOlson, Lester Colson@pitt.eduOLSON
Committee MemberParker, Lisa Slisap@pitt.eduLISAP
Date: 30 January 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 9 November 2010
Approval Date: 30 January 2011
Submission Date: 7 December 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: apologia; apology; Clinton; kategoria; rhetorical criticism; Tuskegee
Other ID:, etd-12072010-221138
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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