Carnegie Mellon University

John Oddo

Associate Professor of English

  • BH 245 R


My research draws on theories of rhetoric, discourse, and multimodality to critically examine how powerful agents use language (and other symbols) to generate support for war. The focal point of my research is "intertextual rhetoric"—that is, rhetoric that operates across texts and across time. In past publications, I have examined how different U.S. presidents have rearticulated generic rhetorical strategies to manipulate the public and draw the country into hostilities. More recently, I have focused on the ways that media institutions recontextualize and modify the claims of political leaders during the run-up to war—often enhancing the "call-to-arms message." Currently, I am preparing a monograph that examines how Colin Powell's 2003 address to the United Nations about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction was reported (and reformulated) by newspapers, internet news outlets, and television news networks.


Ph.D., Kent State University

M.A., Kent State University

B.A., Canisius College


Oddo, J. (2011) "War Legitimation Discourse: Representing 'Us' and 'Them' in Four U.S. Presidential Addresses." Discourse & Society 22.3, 287-314.