What the FDU Website Says About Me

Academic vita

Awards and Honors

The BA in Communication Studies at FDU

The MA in Communication

The Atlantic Journal of Communication

The Professors: Gary's Rock and Blues Band

Umberto Eco and Gary Radford, October 17, 2002

Selected Writings

Howard Radford, 1934-2007

Elsie May Radford, 1934-2013

Marion Esther Nuccio Hein, 1921-2018

"If only it were that easy. That's not 'reality.' You see: the deeper reality is made out of language."

Zeta said nothing.

"People don't understand this. And even if they say it, they sure as hell don't know what that means. It means there is no such thing as 'truth.' There's only language. There's no such thing as a 'fact.' There is no truth or falsehood, just dominant processes by which reality is socially constructed. In a world made out of language, nothing else is even possible."

Zeta searched in the dirt. She picked up a rusty nail. "Is this language?"

"Yep. That's a 'rusty nail,' as the conceptual entity called a 'rusty nail' is contructed under our cultural circumstances and in this moment in history."

"It feels real. It still gets my fingers all dirty."

"Zeta, listen to me. This part is really important. 'Even though her father loved her, the little girl died horribly because she stepped on the rusty nail.' That's language too."

Zeta's face crumpled in terror. She hastily flung the nail away into the darkness.

"There is no objective reality. There might be a world that has true reality. A world with genuine physics. But because we're in a world that's made out of language, we'll never, ever get to that place from here. There's no way out of a world that's made of language. We can never reach any bedrock reality. The only direction we can move is into different flavors of the dominant social discourse, or across the grain of the consensus narrative, or - and this is the worst part - into the Wittgenstein empty spaces where things can't be said, can't be spoken, can't even be thought . . . Don't ever go there, okay? You can never come out of there. It's a black hole."

"How come you know so much of this stuff, Dad?"

"I didn't use to know any of it. I was just living my life. I just liked to go live at the edge of the system, where things were breaking off and breaking down. It took me a long time to figure out what I was really doing, that I was always in some place where the big story was turning into little weird counterstories. But now I'm wising up to my situation, because I'm old now, and I know enough to get along in the world."

Starlitz sighed. "I don't know all that much, really. There are just a few people in the world who understand how reality works. Most of them don't speak English. They speak French. Because they're all language theorists. Semioticians, mostly, with some, uh, you know, structuralists and poststructuralists. . . Luce Iragaray. . . Roland Barthes. . . Julia Kristeva. . . Louis Althusser. . . These are the wisest people in the world, the only people with a real clue." Stalitz laughed morosely. "And does it help them? Hell, no! The poor bastards, they strangle their wives, they get run over by laundry trucks. . . And after Y2K their whole line of gab is gonna be permanently out of fashion. It'll be yesterday."

"How come they know so much?"

"I don't know how they know. But you can tell they know what's really going on, because when you read what they say, it sounds really cool and convincing, until you realize that even though you know it, you can't use that knowledge to change anything. If you can understand reality, then you can't do anything. If you're doing anything, it means that you don't understand reality. You never heard of any of those French people? I bet you never heard of any of them, right?"

Bruce Sterling (2000). Zeitgeist. New York, NY: Bantam Books, pp. 151-153.

Photograph by Jessica Galfo, December 2010

Professor of Communication Studies

Fairleigh Dickinson University
285 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
ZEN Building (ZEN), Room 251
Telephone: 973-443-8648
FAX: 973-443-8683
E-mail: gradford@fdu.edu

Welcome to my website. Please use the links on the left to explore this site and to learn more about me.

I joined Fairleigh Dickinson University in September 1999. I teach courses in interpersonal communication, communication theory, and communication philosophy as part of the BA in Communication Studies.

On October 17, 2002, I had the enormous pleasure of meeting one of my all time heroes, Dr. Umberto Eco. Click here to read the full story!

Professional Service

Research and Scholarship Highlights

Here are some of my favorite articles and scholarly achievements:

My latest book, co-authored with Dr. Marie Radford of Rutgers University, is entitled Library conversations: Reclaiming interpersonal communication theory for understanding professional encounters. It was published in 2017 by ALA-Neal Schuman.

"Slavoj Žižek, Rex Libris, and the traumatic Real: Representations of the library and the librarian in a modern comic book series" (with Marie Radford and Mark Alpert) in the Journal of Documentation (Volume 71, Number 6, pp. 1265-1288). Click on the the link to read a PDF version of the published article.

"The library as heterotopia: Michel Foucault and the experience of library space" (with Marie Radford and Jessa Lingel) in the Journal of Documentation (Volume 71, Number 4, pp. 733-751). Click on the the link to read a PDF version of the published article.

"Public relations in a postmodern world" in Public Relations Inquiry (Volume 1, Number 1, pp. 49-67). Click on the the link to read a PDF version of the published article.

"Alternative libraries as discursive formations: Reclaiming the voice of the deaccssioned book" (with Marie Radford and Jessa Lingel) in Journal of Documentation, 68(2), 254-267. Click on the link to read a PDF version of the published article.

In 2011, I published a paper, co-authored with Dr. Marie Radford, Dr. Lynn Connaway, and Dr. Jocelyn DeAngelis, entitled " On virtual face-work:An ethnography of communication approach to a live chat reference interaction" in The Library Quarterly (Volume 81, Number 4, pp. 431-453). Click on the the link to read a PDF version of the published article.

My paper "Building bridges to the discarded: Deaccession, discursive formations, and alternative libraries" (co-authored with Dr. Marie Radford and Jessica Lingel, Rutgers University) was selected as the Top Paper received by the National Communication Association (NCA), Philosophy of Communication Division. We presented the paper at NCA's annual conference in San Francisco, CA, on November 17, 2010.

My paper "The Author Should Die: Semiotics and the Regime of Communication" was selected as the Top Paper received by the National Communication Association (NCA), Semiotics and Communication Division. I presented the paper at NCA's annual conference in San Antonio, TX, on November 17, 2006.

In June 2006, I was part of a panel invited to debate the proposition: Information literacy: A waste of librarians' time and talent?. My remarks were presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries President's Program at the Annual Conference of the American Library Association, New Orleans, LA, on June 26, 2006, before an audiene of between 400 and 500 people.

In 2005, I published a paper co-authored with Dr. Marie Radford entitled "Structuralism,post-structuralism, and the library: de Saussure and Foucault" in the Journal of Documentation (Volume 61, Number 1, pp. 60-78). Click on the the link to read a PDF version of the published article.

In November 2005, I was the respondent on the panel of the top three papers submitted to the Semiotics and Communication Division of the National Communication Association (NCA). I presented these remarks at the NCA's Annual Convention in Boston, MA, on November 18, 2005.

On September 28, 2005, I had the honor of being the recipient of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship. You can link to the citation that was read on stage by University Provost Willard Gingerich and the press release that FDU sent to the local, national, and international media.

My book, entitled On the Philosophy of Communication, was published in 2004 by Wadsworth Press. The book is available from Amazon.com.

My favorite book is a treatment of the work of Italian semiotician Umberto Eco and is entitled On Eco (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2003). The book is available on Amazon.com. Listen to a Message from Umberto Eco

I am also the co-editor of the book Transgressing Discourses: Communication and the Voice of Other (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997). The book is available on Amazon.com.

Fun Stuff

For fun I play a wailing lead guitar for a blues/rock band called The Professors; yes, we have a website! Check us out at www.theprofessors.net.

Learn about the band by watching this amazing documentary

The Professors' Project from Dan Elghossain on Vimeo.

The Professors are the only band I know that have had an article published in a blind reviewed scholarly journal. The citation to the article is below. You can read the article by clicking on the link.

Radford, G. P., Cooper, S. D., Kubey, R. W., McCurry, D. S., Millen, J. and Barrows, J. R. (2002). Collaborative musical expression and creativity among academics: When intellectualism meets twelve bar blues. American Communication Journal [Online], 6(1).

And finally, here's an original song I wrote inspired by Michel Foucault. It is called The Discourse on Language (Music by Gary Radford, Lyrics by Michel Foucault and Gary Radford, Instruments by Gary Radford, recorded June 4, 1998)

I hope you enjoy your visit to my site.


This site last updated September 28, 2018.