Ph.D. Northwestern University
Tomasz Tabako's research centers on the general theme of rhetoric and social change, with emphasis on various forms of state-sponsored distorted communication and, especially, numerous modes of resistance, including social movements. One aspect of this research orientation is the topic of violence through language, such as propaganda and newspeak; a complementary aspect is the topic of resistance through language, such as literary dissent and public protest. Of special interest to Tomasz is the role and function of metaphor and other tropes in framing political discourse. In the region he is originally from, Eastern Europe, a special kind of sensibility toward communication opportunities and communication distortions has developed over time, one with lessons in authoritarianism. It is in this context that, as an observer equipped with an outsider’s perspective, he is experienced in listening even more carefully to various types of language in post-9/11 America.
Prof. Tabako has taught a variety of courses, including Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Criticism; Seminar on Metaphor; Argumentation; Persuasion in Society; Political Communication; and The Rhetoric of Protest.
Tabako is the editor of 2B: A Journal of Ideas and has contributed to various other periodicals and magazines, including Chicago Review and Gazeta Wyborcza. A former journalist, he is the author of Strajk '88 [Strike '88], a study of the rhetorical and political history of worker leaders from the pro-democracy underground Solidarity movement and the sit-ins they organized in Poland in 1988. His other books include 7 volumes of documentary studies of Poland's Solidarity.
His most recent project is a book (to be published by Peter Lang Publishers next year) entitled Globalization and the Arts of Resistance (co-authored with Prof. Michael Bruner). Framed by contemporary rhetorical theories of language, identity, and power, the book's argument is being built upon its initial survey of historical forms of political oppression and popular forms of resistance against that oppression to discuss political oppression today and the crucial role that resistance does, can and should play. Tabako's another project, a book manuscript in progress entitled Tropes in Action, presents a tropological theory of social movements that explores how the rhetoric of a movement tends to develop over time. In this work, he suggests that a movement's "formation-fragmentation" biography can be read as a chronicle of the movement of rhetorical tropes, which perceptually "edit" the movement's accounts of reality in a sequential way, from metaphor through metonymy and synecdoche to irony.
Rhetoric & Politics, Human Communication & Social Influence
Editor of 2B: A Journal of Ideas.
Articles published in Chicago Review, Gazeta Wyborcza, and various other publications
Books: Strajk '88(Strike '88), Globalization and the Arts of Resistance (co-authored with Prof. Michael Bruner)
Office: 1028 One Park Place
Phone: (404) 413-5606