Home

Kenneth S. Zagacki, Ph.D. Kenneth Zagacki is a Professor and Department Head of the Communication Department at NC State University. His research interests include foreign policy communication, visual rhetoric, environmental communication, and philosophy and rhetoric. He has published numerous articles in major scholarly journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy & Rhetoric, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs. He joined the faculty at NCSU in August 2001.

His current research project is a co-authored work with his colleague Dr. Victoria Gallagher and with Jeff Swift, a doctoral student in the CRDM Ph.D. program. They are exploring a little-known sit-in at the Royal Ice Cream store that took place in 1954 in the city of Durham, N.C. The authors argue that the protestors, who became known as "The Royal 7" drew upon and reinterpreted an emerging tradition of protest and dissent, what rhetorical scholars have called "rhetorical trajectory" or a "discursive field". The authors argue that the Royal Ice Cream Company sit-in and the controversy surrounding it represent pivotal moments in the development of an emerging rhetorical trajectory and the (re)constitution of an evolving discursive field, the larger part of which they see as forming the rhetorical texture of the Civil Rights movement itself. More specifically, the authors suggest that, by protesting as they did the Royal 7 made visible the sorts of qualities, motivations, and state of mind necessary to challenge the racial status quo and helped to shape the context in which civil rights were beginning to be understood by many different audiences in Durham, and perhaps in other places as well. The Royal 7 drew upon existing rhetorical measures, some of which had been tested and others that were still in the making. Like earlier advocates for civil rights and those protesting at roughly the same time, the Royal 7 spread the seeds of dissent, locally, so that a larger movement could eventually take hold and, as the rhetorical scholar Michael McGee might have argued, a particular kind of human consciousness could be enacted. More recent efforts by surviving members of the Royal 7 and other spokespersons to have the Durham sit-in commemorated are yet further developments in the rhetorical trajectory and the discursive field, the paths of which wax and wane but nevertheless play critical roles in how societies and individuals move forward into the future and simultaneously preserve the past.

Ken also is working with faculty in the Department of Communication and in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to create a Collaborative on Public Science and Technology at NC State. The Collaborative would capitalize on three critical assets: Our pre-eminence as STEM-intensive research university; exceptional faculty and graduate programs in humanities and social science disciplines that engage in cutting-edge scholarship and research on public understanding of science and technology; and extensive partnerships with organizations outside our campus committed to promoting public understanding of science and technology.

Ken joined the faculty at NCSU in August 2001, before which he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University for 16 years.

Download a copy of Dr. Zagacki's Curriculum Vitae


© 2009 Kenneth S. Zagacki. The material located at this site is not endorsed, sponsored or provided by or on behalf of North Carolina State University.