Student in The City: Ally at the Giants Parade!

An thought came to me at 3:00 in the morning a few months ago. Well, two thoughts really. One, of course, was that I really should be sleeping at 3:00 am (a baby at home makes that impossible sometimes), but the other, relevant to our blog, was a new blog category idea. Behold “Student in The City!”

We all know that in addition to the Jesuit education education you receive, another big draw of attending USF is the “SF” part! We are the University of SAN FRANCISCO, or as our new marketing campaign proclaims, we are the “University of the best city ever!” So I thought it would be fun to have students blog about different experiences they have had in The City. Experiences that you only really get by being in This City. As happenstance would have it, something recently happened that fits this category perfectly! What was it? Oh, a little thing called The San Francisco Giants Winning The World Series. I also happen to have a major Giants fan in my class. How major? She wore the same Giants jersey during the entire World Series as a superstition. Who is this major Giants fan? Communication Studies major Ally Spillane. Ally agreed to write our inaugural “Student in the City” blog post about attending the parade in honor of the World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants! Here’s Ally…

Communication Studies major and Giants fan Ally!

“Giants baseball: Torture. It is a phrase that Giants fans have become accustomed to hearing over the past few years. The team we all love has a habit of pushing fans to the point of insanity before coming back to win it big. I have been a Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I have childhood memories of family and friends gathering around the TV after dinner to watch the team play at Candlestick. I went to my first game at AT&T park (then Pac Bell) in May of 2000, just over a month after the ballpark opened in downtown SF. I watched as the Giants won the national league pennant in 2002, and was devastated when we lost in game 7 of the World Series to the Anaheim Angels. I cheered along with tens of thousands of Giants fans as Barry Bonds hit his record setting home run number 756 in 2007. Despite the team’s accomplishments throughout the years, and the torture they would put us through every September, it seemed the Giants always fell short at the end of each season.

San Francisco never stopped believing.

The self-proclaimed “best fans in baseball” continued to don their orange and black and head out to AT&T to cheer on the Giants. Then came 2010, where we watched as the giants won the NL west division title, go on to beat the Braves in the division series, and clinch the pennant against the Phillies in the championship series. They were back in the World Series once again and for the first time since the move to San Francisco in 1958, the Giants became World Champions after defeating Texas in Game 5. I couldn’t make it to the parade in 2010 and made a promise to myself that if the Giants were to win the World Series again, I wouldn’t miss the next one.

Ally waiting for the Giants to arrive

I didn’t have to wait long. The 2012 Giants season was one for the record books. For the first time in my life as a Giants fan, I watched as 25 men worked together as one, and as outfielder Hunter Pence said, played “for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.” I was there for opening nigh on April 7th, I watched all 14 strikeouts in Matt Cain’s perfect game on June 13th, and I cheered on as Melky Carbrera won MVP of the All-Star Game on July 10th. Giants fans could not contain themselves. The Giants once again clinched the NL west division after an incredible September filled with talk of “magic numbers.” They came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Reds in the Division Series, and went on to torture us once more by losing 3 out of the first 4 games in the Championship Series against the Cardinals. Facing 6 elimination games in the postseason didn’t faze the Giants. They won the NL Pennant and then were slated to face the “unstoppable” Detroit Tigers. Giant’s owner Larry Baer said it best when he noted that, “Detroit didn’t know what they were in for.”

Orange ticker tape at the parade

They did it again. With a lot less torture than the previous two playoff series, the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in 4 Games. Back in San Francisco, as Giants players were boarding their plane home from Detroit, planning had already begun for the 2012 World Series Parade. I kept my promise to myself and cleared my schedule for Wednesday October 31st; I was going to the Parade. I left my house bright and early and made my way down to Civic Center Plaza. The place was already packed that Halloween morning, with thousands of fans donning orange and black for another reason. We were all there to welcome back and cheer on the 2012 World Champion Giants. Those of us in front of the civic center waited patiently for hours as we anticipated the arrival of the team we all love. At last they arrived in their convertible cars and made their way to the stage. One by one the players were introduced: the Freak, the Panda, the Baby Giraffe, MVPosey, the Perfect Cain, El Mechon, Barry Z, the Preacher. At each introduction, the crowd went insane, everyone chanting, screaming, and high fiving each other. Players came up in groups to give speeches, thanking the fans and thanking the city of San Francisco for all of the support they received this season. During a particularly touching speech, some might say they saw tears welling up in Manager Bruce Bochy’s eyes when he spoke of how proud he was of his teams accomplishments this season. It was a day I will never forget.

Crowds waiting for the Giants to arrive at Civic Center

I must admit that this generation of Giants fans is particularly spoiled, for there were Giants fans who lived their whole lives without witnessing a World Series Championship for their team. In the past three years, we have been blessed enough to witness two, and call it a hunch, but I don’t think that the Giants are finished quite yet. To what can we attribute this success? The players? The coaches? The Fans? Fate? I cannot answer that question, but I would like to believe that everyone had a part in this win. Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said it best when he closed out his speech in front of the civic center that day. He looked to the players on the stage, looked out over the million screaming fans and said, “We are the Giants, we are San Francisco, and we are the World Champions.”

Ally’s point of view at the Civic Center

Giants Fans


Class Notes: "Rhetorical History of the U.S." with Professor Sery

Last week we profiled our new class “Environmental Communication” with Professor DeLaure. This week, we are profiling an as-good-as-new class! Why is it as-good-as-new? Because although this class has been taught in the past, it has been so long that it is like new! What class is as-good-as-new? COMS 373: Rhetorical History of the U.S. with Professor Sery! If you are still a little bleary-eyed from watching the election returns and speeches last night, this just might be the course for you! I asked Professor Sery to give us the details…

“This course is a survey of some of the great discourses and rhetorical moments of U.S. history. Beginning with the Colonial period and ending with the new social movements of the 20th century, we will work our way through U.S. history examining the moments that have defined and redefined American identity. Puritan sermons, the American Revolution, the debates around the Constitution, the westward expansion, the abolitionist movement and their states’ rights counterparts, the Civil War and national reconstruction, the ratification and enduring influence of the Civil War Amendments, the emergence of the only distinctly American philosophy: Pragmatism, the Progressive movement, unionization and worker’s rights, two world wars, and an array of civil rights movements (new and old) – these moments elicited some of the most powerful discourses and heroic characters that continue to shape our shared political, economic, social, cultural, and moral lives. Our task is to unpack these rhetorical moments and examine the ways in which the rhetors shape their arguments in order to motivate judgment or action. Moreover, we will also examine the ways in which these discourses are continuously evoked and serve as complex rhetorical memories that continue to shape American identity.

We will approach American national identity and U.S. history as contingent and evolving rhetorical constructions.  In other words, we will examine how American identity and U.S. history have been shaped through persuasive, public discourse.  This may seem an odd focus for a course—part historical and part rhetorical; yet we will come to realize, throughout the course of this semester, that understanding American society is impossible to do without turning our ear to the echoes of historical American public address. Throughout the course, we will consider recurring arguments that continue to reverberate throughout U.S. history. Who is a person? Who is an “American”? What is the role of faith? What are the limits of individualism? Who judges the law? How do we negotiate between local and national authority? What can we do about war and diplomacy? How can we form a “more fair and perfect union”? With a panoramic view and a humbled sense of self-awareness, we will trace these recurring rhetorical themes throughout U.S. history. Some of these themes include:

  • Tracing several influential and enduring rhetorical and ideological lineages in the history of American political, social, and cultural discourse, including puritan millennialism, civic humanist republicanism, early federalism, manifest destinarianism, classical liberalism, social Darwinism, pragmatism, etc.
  • Understanding the rhetorical situations contextualizing important moments throughout US history including colonial Puritanism, the American Revolution, ratifying the Constitution, western expansion, the abolition movement, the Civil War and reconstruction, the progressive movement, women’s suffrage, WWI, early socialism and anarchism, the Great Depression, WWII, and the various civil rights movements in the latter half of the 20th century.
  • Examining the role of rhetorical theory and practice in the constitution, maintenance, expression, criticism, transformation, suppression, and decimation of various American cultural and ideological forms over time.
  • Investigating the “American Exceptionalism” dispute and some of its social/political implications.
  • Investigating several traditional and contemporary “paradoxes” (dilemmas, dialectics, bipolarities, etc.) of complex American culture and speculate upon their origins and social functions.
  • Comparing the rhetorical/cultural structure and relative efficacy of several types of historical and mass-mediated rhetorical and ideological interventions into traditional and contemporary American society and culture.

In the tradition of a liberal arts education, this course has both a practical element and a broader focus.  You will develop skills for the critical reading, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of public discourse.  You will also gain a broader knowledge and appreciation of U.S. history and the very important role of rhetoric within it.”

Wow! All of this in one semester! Yes!

COMS 373: Rhetorical History of the U.S. counts as an upper-division Communication Studies major course and has a pre-req of COMS 202.


Dons' Doings: Franco Berardi Lecture 11/7

This is a busy week for the Communication Studies Department! Monday was our Career Night (very successful!), and we have two more events coming up this week.First up, a lecture from Italian political philosopher Franco “Bifo” Berardi tomorrow evening, November 7th, 6:00-8:00 in McLaren 251. His lecture is entitled “The Rise of the Cognitariat: Cognitive Labor in Search of a Body.”

I asked our own Professor Jacquemet about why this event may be of interest to our majors: “The interest for our Communication Studies majors is in his analysis of the communicative economy and its cognitive workers  (people writing codes, copy, adverts) which is an area that many of our majors will end up working in.”

Take a look at the flyer below for some additional information about Professor Berardi’s lecture:

We hope to see many of you at this event!


Dons' Doings: Career Night 11/5!

This coming Monday, November 5th, we are excited to host our 6th Annual Career Night! This is a joint production by the Department of Communication Studies and Lambda Pi Eta. We are thrilled to welcome seven distinguished alumni back to campus to talk with our majors about the job search, the working world, and life after graduation. If you have ever wondered what you can do with your Communication Studies major, you will get answers on Monday! Here are the details:

What? The 6th Annual Career Night

When? Monday November 5th, 6:30-8:00 pm

Where? Kalmanovitz Hall 111

 The following alumni will be our featured panelists:

Claire Bentley, ’10: Public Relations Account Manager, Andrew Freeman & Co.:

Claire Bentley, ’10: Public Relations Account Manager, Andrew Freeman & Co.

Cayden Berkmoyer, ’11: Communications Coordinator, Goodwill Industries:

Cayden Berkmoyer, ’11: Communications Coordinator, Goodwill Industries

Amanda Christoff, ’07: Managing Director, Premier Staffing:

Amanda Christoff, ’07: Managing Director, Premier Staffing

Jessica Elkus, ’10: Account Executive, Mindshare PR:

Jessica Elkus, ’10: Account Executive, Mindshare PR

Kylie Li, ’11: Project Coordinator, Global Initiatives & Economic Institute, Bay Area Council:

Kylie Li, ’11: Project Coordinator, Global Initiatives & Economic Institute, Bay Area Council

Heather Scott, ’07: Founder & CEO, Purple Plant Smoothies:

Heather Scott, ’07: Founder & CEO, Purple Plant Smoothies

Lindsay Sutherland, ’09: Marketing Manager, DPEM Event Marketing:

Lindsay Sutherland, ’09: Marketing Manager, DPEM Event Marketing

This is a great opportunity to learn from and network with Communication Studies alumni! We hope you are able to join us! Special thanks to Claire, Cayden, Amanda, Jessica, Kylie, Heather, and Lindsay!