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Saturday, April 27 • 9:00am - 10:00am
2. Persuading a Temple: The Rhetoric of Jim Jones

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Persuading a Temple: The Rhetoric of Jim Jones
Katherine Dotten
Faculty mentor: Amy Clark
University of Virginia’s College at Wise

This research project examines classical rhetorical strategies of logos, ethos, and pathos within the spoken rhetoric of Jim Jones in the formation of People’s Temple in the 1950s to late 1970s. Additionally, the research includes the contextual factors that influenced Jones’ efficiency as a persuasive speaker. A rhetorical analysis of People’s Temple footage and survivor testimony gathered by PBS, along with a database on Jonestown, reveals rhetorical patterns that Jones used to gain, maintain, and manipulate a following of hundreds of people. Understanding the ways in which cult leaders like Jones use rhetoric to persuade followers can contribute to similar studies and an ongoing discussion about ethics and influence.

Katherine Dotten is a Wise, Virginia native attending University of Virginia's College at Wise to obtain a degree in Communication Studies. After graduating in spring of 2020, she will be attending East Tennessee State University to obtain a master’s degree in Speech Pathology.


Saturday April 27, 2019 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
HSB 202