Luke Winslow

Jun 10, 2020

American Catastrophe

Fundamentalism, Climate Change, Gun Rights, and the Rhetoric of Donald J. Trump

Ohio State University Press 2020

On this episode of the New Books Network, Lee M Pierce (s/t) interviews Luke Winslow of Baylor University on the book Luke Winslow, American Catastrophe: Fundamentalism, Climate Change, Gun Rights, and the Rhetoric of Donald J. Trump (Ohio State University Press, 2020), which offers a fresh, provocative, and insightful contribution to our most pressing social challenges by taking an orientation toward catastrophe. On the face of things, argues Winslow, most of us would agree that catastrophe is harmful and avoiding it is key to human survival and progress. And yet, the planet warms, 30,000 more Americans are killed by guns each year, and Donald J. Trump creates political chaos with his rage tweets. American Catastrophe explores such examples to argue that, in fact, we live in an age where catastrophe not only functions as a dominant organizing rhetoric but further as an appealing and unifying force for many communities across America. Winslow introduces rhetorical homology as a critical tool useful for understanding how catastrophic appeals unite Americans across disparate religious, ecological, cultural, and political spheres. More specifically, the four case study chapters examining Christian fundamentalism, anti-environmentalism, gun rights messaging, and the administration of Donald Trump reveal a consistent formal pattern-oriented toward catastrophe. Ohio State University has been gracious enough to provide temporary free access to books such as American Catastrophe through their Bibliovault Scholarly Repository.
We’d love to connect with you about the ideas in this interview and others from the New Books Network. Find your hostess with the mostess, Lee Pierce, on LinkedIn @leempierce and @rhetoriclee on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail. Connect with today’s author, Luke Winslow, at and read his recent Op-Ed about the COVID-19 pandemic for the Waco Tribune.

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Lee Pierce

Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking.
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