Mary McVee: The Chinese Professor

You are invited to the following presentation which is part of the  Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction (CLaRI) 50th Anniversary Research Talk Series. 

TITLE: A Multimodal Analysis of Storyline in “The Chinese Professor”: Narrative Construction, Neoliberal Discourse, and Positioning in Economic Hard Times

WHEN: April 18, Thursday.  Noon-1:30pm

WHERE:  In CLaRI 17 Baldy Hall (basement level), UB North Campus

KEYWORDS: critical discourse studies, China-US relations, design, ideology, multimodality, narrative, positioning theory, social semiotics

ABSTRACT: This presentation is based on a paper co-authored by Mary McVee and Colette Gunther. The paper explores a political video advertisement typically referred to as “The Chinese Professor.”  This advertisement first aired in the midst of the worst economic downturn the US had experienced since the 1930’s and recently aired again during the Presidential elections of 2012. In the ad, which is set twenty years in the future, a fictional Chinese Professor delivers a lecture about the reasons why the US became a fallen empire. Using perspectives from social semiotics, multimodality, and positioning theory, the authors identify storylines implicit within the advertisement. The presentation demonstrates how micro level design choices position viewers within particular storylines and ultimately reflect the macro discourses and ideologies framing “The ChineseProfessor” video.