Posters for Peace: Visual Rhetoric and Civic Action

Paperback | November 5, 2015

byThomas W. Benson

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By the spring of 1970, Americans were frustrated by continuing war in Vietnam and turmoil in the inner cities. Students on American college campuses opposed the war in growing numbers and joined with other citizens in ever-larger public demonstrations against the war. Some politicians—including Ronald Reagan, Spiro Agnew, and Richard Nixon—exploited the situation to cultivate anger against students. At the University of California at Berkeley, student leaders devoted themselves, along with many sympathetic faculty, to studying the war and working for peace. A group of art students designed, produced, and freely distributed thousands of antiwar posters. Posters for Peace tells the story of those posters, bringing to life their rhetorical iconography and restoring them to their place in the history of poster art and political street art. The posters are vivid, simple, direct, ironic, and often graphically beautiful. Thomas Benson shows that the student posters from Berkeley appealed to core patriotic values and to the legitimacy of democratic deliberation in a democracy—even in a time of war.

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By the spring of 1970, Americans were frustrated by continuing war in Vietnam and turmoil in the inner cities. Students on American college campuses opposed the war in growing numbers and joined with other citizens in ever-larger public demonstrations against the war. Some politicians—including Ronald Reagan, Spiro Agnew, and Richard N...

Thomas W. Benson is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric at The Pennsylvania State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.5 inPublished:November 5, 2015Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271065877

ISBN - 13:9780271065878

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Posters for Peace: Visual Rhetoric and Civic Action

The Berkeley Peace Posters in the Penn State University Collection

Notes

Sources

Editorial Reviews

“Thomas W. Benson's Posters for Peace examines numerous political posters that circulated in Berkeley, California, in 1970 during intense controversies over the Vietnam War and racism. Benson’s critical approach features close examination of the posters in combination with creative comparisons in order to explore their visual rhetoric in the national scene. To develop his central argument, he traces earlier sources of consequence pertaining to posters as a rhetorical medium with an international history. Benson's book offers his readers a wealth of previously unstudied primary materials, which are featured and catalogued in the course of his careful history and criticism of the protest rhetoric.”—Lester C. Olson, University of Pittsburgh