Document Type


Publication Date

January 2012


Pressured by activists to take responsibility, American corporations recently found themselves in the spotlight for their past ties to slavery. Responding to the issue, they stepped into a complex discourse of reconciliation. Taking a rhetorical approach, this article analyzes the response of Aetna Inc. It explores how corporate rhetoric functions within present discourses about historical injustices and illustrates that Aetna's response informed by common strategies of corporate apologia inhibited meaningful reconciliation. The article thus furthers criticisms of (corporate) apologia in the context of historical injustice and raises questions about the potentialities and limitations of corporate rhetoric for reconciliation.


This article is available in full text (subscription only) at