Writing Samples


Title: Communication in the Ruins: Walker Percy and the Art of Symbolic Mediation

Excerpt: "Everyone has had that awful sensation of knowing the right word for something and yet struggling to utter it aloud. And everyone knows the glorious release from having discovered the right word hitherto at the tip of their tongue. Scientists, for example, patiently observe natural phenomena looking to name what lies before them. Try to imagine the feeling felt by the first marine biologist to have identified that elongated slimy thing as an “eel.” “What is that? An eel!” Authors, too, must grope their way through a manuscript, stretching for the appropriate noun or verb, participle or adjective. All too often, writers describe the sensation of being moored in the sea of language, writer’s block, unable to take flight and articulate themselves. A terrible tension follows from the inability to remember names, even (and perhaps especially) of other people. Imagine a group of students sitting before you early in the semester, undifferentiated by their names. Who is who? Recall the embarrassment of someone who has called you by the wrong name. In my own case, I have been called “Jason” on many occasions by priests, relatives, and acquaintances alike, even though my real name is “Justin.” I do not hold this against them. If anything, I am usually embarrassed by their embarrassment. Why might anxiety follow from the inability to name something? Why does embarrassment follow from using the wrong word? And why might pronouncing the right word (or hearing another find the right word) lead to elation and a sense of release? Such questions, which exemplify the crossing of the semiotic and the existential, lie at the heart of Walker Percy’s investigation into the symbol’s capacity to mediate existence, the subject of my dissertation."

Published Articles

Bonanno, Justin N. “Introduction.” Listening/Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture, vol. 54. no. 2, 2019, pp. 76-77.

Bonanno, Justin N. “The rhetoric of secularization: Irving Babbitt and the idyllic imagination.” Listening/Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture, vol. 54. no. 2, 2019, pp. 111-128.

Bonanno, Justin N. “Capital as the lens that Bourdieu Pierres through: Public relations, social theory, and rhetoric.” Public Relations Review, vol. 44, no. 3, 2018, pp. 385-392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2018.04.008.

Sample of Essays Presented at Conferences

“Violence and the Primacy of Action: Reading Del Noce Alongside Han,” National Communication Association 105th Annual Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, November 14-17, 2019.

“The Analogy of Proper Proportionality in McLuhan’s Media Ecology,” The 20th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association, Toronto, CA, June 27-30, 2019.

“Veni, Vidi, Vico: An Exploration of the Predicative and Proverbial in Sensus Communis,” National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 8-11, 2018.

If you are interested in obtaining copies of these essays, please contact me on LinkedIn.