Keeley-Jonker and Mattson Publish Article in Christian Scholar’s Review

Bethany Keeley JonkerIn an article published in the new issue of Christian Scholar’s Review, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts Dr. Bethany Keeley-Jonker and Professor of Communication Arts, Honors Program Director, and Department Chair Dr. Craig Mattson take on the topic of helping students avoid “zombie” speech and learning to speak in their own voices through the human speech of Christ.

The article, “Stop Talking That Way! An Affective Approach to Uncanny Speech in the Christian College Classroom,” focuses on addressing issues in the speech classroom, drawing on Christian thought.

The beginnings of the article started in 2012, when Keely-Jonker first joined the faculty at Trinity. Previously, she was at a public university, and she was looking for ways to bring the Christian perspective to her syllabus. “So I asked Craig, what can I do to make it unique to Trinity?” she said.

“I had three or four ideas,” said Mattson. Thanks to summer research grants from Trinity, the two were able to write a draft and finalize the article that was recently published.

Craig MattsonAmong the ideas the two discuss in the article is how “affect” differs from emotion. Keeley-Jonker and Mattson’s article also describes “uncanny” speech, and its different types such as “vampire” and “zombie.” This type of speech is animated but also undead in a way. They also explore how Christian theology can help both teachers and students find their voices in speech classes.

One way to achieve this is to allow more speaking in speech classes, in part by replacing written answers with oral ones. “Asking students to deliver responses to reading assignments orally in two-minute prepared remarks would make the work of finding their own voices an ongoing project,” the authors conclude. “Instead of concentrating an individual’s anxiety on ‘presentation days,’ students would come to see speech as a communal activity whose expressiveness spans a broad range of affects. A delivery-oriented classroom might become a place where new voices develop.”

Christian Scholar’s Review is a quarterly journal which studies the integration of Christian faith and learning on both the intra- and inter-disciplinary levels. Members of the Trinity community can access the article through the Jennie Huizenga Memorial Library.