Dr Kirt H Wilson

Dr Kirt H Wilson

Dr. Wilson's research moves from African American to presidential rhetoric and from the history of rhetoric to the rhetoric of history. At present, he is working on projects that investigate theories and practices of imitation in the nineteenth century and the symbolic reception of emancipation during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

His book The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate won NCA's Winans-Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship and the Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Outstanding Scholars in Public Address. His research has appeared in Rhetoric & Public Affairs and the Quarterly Journal of Speech.

In 2004, the University of Minnesota awarded Dr. Wilson with the prestigious McKnight Presidential Fellowship, an honor extended to only three or four tenured associate faculty each year. The University's College of Liberal Arts also awarded Dr. Wilson with the Arthur "Red" Motley Exemplary Teaching Award in 2002.

Dr. Wilson teaches graduate courses on U.S. public discourse, textual criticism and methods, African American civil rights rhetoric, and theories of race and culture.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • PhD: Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinios, n/a.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Afro-American discourse and civil rights
  • presidential rhetoric
  • 1875 Civil Right Act
  • rhetorical theory and criticism
  • textual analysis and criticism
  • United States public address criticism
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Political Rhetoric
  • W. E. B. Du Bois
  • Social Movement Theory and Criticism
  • reconstruction
  • abolitionism
  • civil rights movement
Courses Taught
  • COMM 3110 - Rhetoric of the 1960s
  • COMM 3615 - Argumentation
  • COMM 4616 - African American Civil Rights Rhetoric
  • COMM 5615 - Introduction to Rhetorical Criticism
  • COMM 5617 - History and Criticism of American Public Address, 1630-1860
  • COMM 5618 - History and Criticism of American Public Address, 1860-1945
  • COMM 8110 - Rhetoric, Race, and Culture
  • COMM 8110 - Textual Analysis and Criticism
  • COMM 8504 - Textual Criticism
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • "Representing Terrorism, Rebuilding Community: Congressional Testimony of Post-Civil War Violence," a plenary paper presented at the eighth biennial Public Address Conference, University of Georgia: October 5, 2002
  • "The Problem with Public Memory: President Benjamin Harrison Confronts the 'Southern Question,'" a plenary paper presented at the eigth annual Presidency Conference, Texas A&M University: March 1, 2002
  • Associate Editor: Quarterly Journal of Speech , 2000 -
  • Associate Editor: Rhetoric & Public Affairs , 2002 -
  • Associate Editor: Michigan State Press: manuscript reviewer for the Rhetoric and Politics Series , 2003 -
  • Book Review Editor: Quarterly Journal of Speech , 2004 -
  • Member, CLA Instructional Awards Committee, University of Minnesota: 2003
  • Member, Education Committee for the 2003 "In the Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.," art exhibtion, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota: 2002
  • Faculty Mentor, Undergraduate Distinguished Minority Scholar Program, University of Minnesota: 2000 - 2002
  • Member, National Communciation Association: 1991 - present
  • Member, American Society for the History of Rhetoric: 1996 - 2000
  • Book Review Editor, Quarterly Journal of Speech: 2005 - 2007


  • "Is Racism Getting Worse?" Invited discussion on WCCO (AM) radio, Minneapolis, MN: January 23, 1997
  • "How to Prepare for the Presidential Debates," an interview conducted by Channel 9 Television, Good Morning Minnesota: October 3, 2000
  • "The Souls of Black Folk and W.E.B. DuBois," a panel discussion with David Blight and Robert Gooding-Williams, conducted by Gretchen Helfrich. Odyssey, a national public radio program produced by WBEZ: January 15, 2003
  • Panel Participant: "The Enduring Influence of W. E. B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk": Odyssey, NPR, produced by WBEZ Chicago, January 15, 2003
  • Interpreting the Discursive Fields of the Montgomery Bus Boycott: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Holt Street Address,“: Wilson, Kirtley, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 8 299-326, 2005.
  • The Politics of Place and Presidential Rhetoric in the United States, 1875-1901.: Wilson, Kirtley, Texas A&M University Press, Civil Rights Rhetoric and the American Presidency, 16-40, 2005.
  • Is There Any Interest in Reconciliation?: Wilson, Kirtley, Rhetoric & Public Address, 7 367-406, 2004.
  • The Racial Politics of Imitation in the Nineteenth Century: Wilson, Kirtley, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 89 89-108, 2003.
  • Reconstruction's Desegregation Debate: The Politics of Equality and the Rhetoric of Place, 1870-1875. Wilson, Kirtley, Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2003.
  • African-American Abolitionist Rhetoric: Wilson, Kirtley, Oxford University Press, Encyclopedia of Rhetoric, 7-11, 2001.
  • The Paradox of Lincoln's Freedom Legacy: The Emancipation Proclamation and the Meaning of Rhetorical Leadership: Wilson, Kirtley, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 3 15-32, 2000.
  • Emerson, Transcendental Prudence, and the Legacy of Charles Sumner: Wilson, Kirtley, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 2 453-479, 1999.
  • Toward a Discursive Theory of Racial Identity: The Souls of Black Folk as a Response to Nineteenth-Century Biological Determinism: Wilson, Kirtley, Western Journal of Communication, 63 193-215, 1999.
  • The Contested Space of Prudence: An Analysis of the 1875 Civil Rights Act: Wilson, Kirtley, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 84 131-149, 1998.
  • And Equality for All: The Foundation of African American Civil Right Argument: Wilson, Kirtley, Argumentation and Values: the Proceedings of the Ninth SCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation, 204-212, 1995.
  • Our Common Fight Against Greed: The Drive Towards Association in 'Of the Wings of Atlanta': Wilson, Kirtley, Iowa Journal of Communication, 27 3-18, 1995.
  • President's Multicultural Research Award, University of Minnesota, 1997 - 1998
  • Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division New Investigator of the Year Award, 2001
  • Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award, a national research award sponsored by the National Communication Association, 2002
  • Arthur "Red" Motley Exemplary Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2002
  • Recognition of Research Award from the Black Caucus and African American Communication and Culture Division of the National Communication Association, 1999
  • Book Award: Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Public Address, National Communication Association
  • Book Award: James A. Winans-Hebert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, National Communication Association, 2003
  • McKnight Presidential Fellow, 2004 - 2006