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Visiting scholar talks on bioterrorism

March 27, 2006

KALAMAZOO--An internationally renown scholar will address the issue of terrorism in a free, public talk from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in Room 3512 Knauss Hall at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Austin S. Babrow, a professor of communication at Purdue University, will present "Constructing the Uncertainties of Terrorism: A Case Study of Bioterrorism and a Meditation on Self-Defense."

The talk is part of WMU's Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. While on campus, Babrow also will be meeting with communication students and faculty.

According to Babrow, the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001 posed a great threat to public health and safety, but also were an opportunity to understand and enhance broad public deliberation on such risks.

His public talk will focus on a case study he did of press coverage of uncertainties related to the anthrax attack against the United States in fall 2001. Babrow says the study reveals significant limitations in the scientific-technological rationality that pervades U.S. culture and guides the nation's response to terrorism.

A Purdue faculty member since 1986, Babrow is the communication department's Anne and Charles Redding Faculty Fellow for 2005-07. He teaches and conducts research in interpersonal and mass communication with special emphases on health communication and persuasion.

Babrow has received several awards for his work, including the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award from the National Communication Association, which honors communication publications that stand the test of time and become a stimulus for new conceptualizations of speech communication phenomena.

He has been published in numerous communication and health-related journals, such as the Annals of Internal Medicine, Health Education Quarterly, Preventative Medicine, and Social Science and Medicine. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Communication Monographs, Health Communication and the Journal of Communication.

Babrow earned his master's and doctoral degrees in speech communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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