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John Louis Lucaites
Department of Communication and Culture

Mark Fernando
National Communications Association

Last modified: Thursday, November 20, 2008

IU professor honored for his book on icons in popular culture

Nov. 20, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- John Louis Lucaites, professor of rhetoric and public culture and adjunct professor of American studies at Indiana University, is the co-recipient of the 2008 James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, as well the Diamond Anniversary Book Award.

Both awards are for the book, No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture and Liberal Democracy (University Of Chicago Press), which Lucaites wrote with Robert Hariman of Northwestern University. The book was published in 2007.

"Robert and I could not be more pleased than to be honored by our peers with this award. We hope that it will encourage other scholarship on the relationship between rhetoric, visuality and public culture," Lucaites said.

Addressing the dilemmas and opportunities of this new world, No Caption Needed offers the reader a series of observations on how our ways of seeing and being seen have become crucial elements of how we practice various modes of consumer withdrawal, historical re-fashioning, cultural amnesia and civic engagement.

More than just an examination of the intricacies of visual culture, however, No Caption Needed also offers readers a sweeping overview of 20th century U.S. history and culture, thus showing how rhetorical criticism, visual analysis and critical cultural studies may be combined to form a powerful new genre of scholarship.

Lucaites and Hariman also produce a blog, No Caption Needed, which is available at

The James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichlens Memorial Award honors distinguished scholarship in rhetoric and public address. Nominations are reviewed by a selection committee comprised of college professors from around the United States.

The Diamond Anniversary Book Award is given to the author of the most outstanding scholarly book published during the last two years. Nominees' works are read and reviewed by a selection committee comprised of communication professionals from around the country.

Lucaites will accept the awards in San Diego during the annual convention of the National Communication Association, the oldest and largest association dedicated to the communication discipline. More than 5,500 communication scholars and professionals will be in attendance.