Georgia State University

Georgia State University


Stephen J. Heidt, Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric & Politics

Stephen Heidt Stephen Heidt (B.A. Emory University, Political Science, 1998; M.A. Webster University London, International Relations, 2005) is a presidential doctoral fellow affiliated with the Transcultural Violence Initiative. His research relates to discourses of war and peace, presidential rhetoric, rhetorical circulation, constitutive rhetoric, democracy and its promotion, and the role of political discourse in the conduct of international relations, particularly as it relates to concluding conflicts and establishing the conditions for peaceful foreign relations. He has presented his research at the National Communication Association, the ALTA Argumentation Conference, the Rhetoric Society of America Biennial Conference, and the Southern Communication Association Annual Convention. In his tenure at Georgia State, Stephen has published an essay in the Proceedings of the ALTA Argumentation Conference describing the role of analogy in Congressional debates, an essay in Rhetoric & Public Affairs identifying the contours of the circulation controversy as it relates to presidential discourse, and most recently, an essay explaining the evolution of metaphorical constructs utilized to construct the democracy promotion industry appeared in the Southern Communication Journal.

Stephen is currently working on his dissertation, a project that undertakes to identify and analyze the discursive strategies utilized by presidents to end wars. These strategies, he suggests, enable presidents to escape the rhetorical legacy of savage imagery, convert defeated foes into friends, and resolve concerns about the effectiveness of war. This research posits that presidential peace discourse facilitates the continuation of war by other means and, in doing so, shifts the balance of war power toward the presidency, normalizes public attitudes about the necessity of war, and lays the foundation for the next war.

Publications and Research


  • Stephen J. Heidt, “Presidential Rhetoric, Metaphor, and the Emergence of the Democracy Promotion Industry,” The Southern Communication Journal 78:3 (Summer 2013), 233-255.
  • Stephen J. Heidt, “The Presidency as Pastiche: Atomization, Circulation, and Rhetorical Instability,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 15:4 (Winter 2012), 623-633.
  • Stephen J. Heidt, “Drugs, Borders, and the Merida Initiative: Analogy and Policymaking,” in Robert C. Rowland (ed), Reasoned Argument and Social Change (Washington, DC: National Communication Association, 2011).
  • Stephen Heidt, “From One Enemy to Another: James K. Polk, Mexico, and the Reinvigoration of the Indian Wars.” National Communication Association Annual Conference, Public Address Division, Washington, DC, November 2013.
  • Stephen Heidt, “Internationalizing the Ideograph: Ronald Reagan in Latin America.” National Communication Association Annual Conference, Public Address Division, Orlando, FL, November 18, 2012.
  • Stephen Heidt, “Going to Dover: Casualty Shyness and the Framing of Fallen Soldiers Returning¬† Home from Iraq and Afghanistan.” National Communication Association Annual Conference, Political Communication Division, New Orleans, LA, November 18, 2011