This essay discusses the affordances of using an affect-based approach to 9/11 discourses that facilitates teaching civic engagement. Representations and rhetoric about 9/11 are found in a range of modes—film, documentary, literature, news coverage, and official government documents. Asking students to analyze these representations using a variety of rhetorical strategies highlights the way that various sources of (competing) knowledge about the national tragedy disrupt the notion that there is an accepted, uniform way of understanding this event. Furthermore, this approach demonstrates how varied sources of meaning making construct our public sphere.

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