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Feb 7 2024

“Multimodal Oratory and Laminated Voices in an Actual Jury Deliberation” -Public Lecture by Dr. Greg Matoesian

Lectures on Linguistics and Language (LLL)

February 7, 2024

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM


1501 University Hall




event flyer

Title: This is Mickey Mouse: Multimodal Oratory and Laminated Voices in an Actual Jury Deliberation

Speaker: Dr. Greg Matoesian (Professor, Department of Criminology, Law & Justice; Faculty Affiliate, Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois Chicago

Abstract:  The U.S. Constitution gives every citizen the right to a trial by a fair and impartial jury of their peers. More specifically, the right to both criminal and civil cases is provided by the 6th and 7th Amendments in the Bill of Rights. Standing between the citizen and the massive power of the state, the right to a jury trial represents the centerpiece of American Democracy and guards against governmental tyranny and overzealous prosecution. As an instrument of justice and symbol of democracy, the jury consists of an interacting group of ordinary citizens who deliberate or engage in a decision-making process to reach a verdict on a given criminal or civil case. According to jury scholars like Lippman (2021: 288; see also Devine 2012: 113), the “most important factor in jury decision making tends to be the interaction between jurors in the jury room.” But since that interaction occurs behind closed doors empirical studies of actual decision-making have been rare. Other than the pioneering work of Manzo (1993, 1994) and Maynard and Manzo (1993) no studies (at least to the best of my knowledge) have investigated actual jury interactions during the deliberation process. In this study I build on the work of Manzo and Maynard but instead of focusing on the practical reasoning and accountability of jurors during deliberation (from an ethnomethodological perspective that looks more or less exclusively on the speech of jurors). I turn to Michael Silverstein’s work on poetics and enregisterment to analyze the multimodal resources – the integration of co-speech gestures, gaze, posture, and material objects – jurors bring to bear on the interdiscursive construction of poetic oratory and laminated voices en route to a verdict, embodied conduct designed to persuade fellow jurors during deliberation.


Linguistics Department

Date posted

Nov 30, 2023

Date updated

Nov 30, 2023