Collegiate Affiliation

I am an assistant professor in the Communication Studies department in the Rhetorical Studies area at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. My research program is about how rhetoric shapes public perceptions about secrecy, surveillance, transparency, and opacity in American public culture. Ongoing projects include research on the ancient history of rhetoric, nuclear waste disposal on colonized Indigenous lands, and the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. My book (in progress) is titled This Page Intentionally Left Blank, and focuses on secrets in American public culture. This work seeks to expand rhetorical studies' conventional foci of publicity (as public address) and visibility, and offers a critique of transparency as a self-evident ideal. The chapters offer a rhetorical history and readings strategy for secrecy that draws upon critical frameworks like psychoanalysis, genealogy, and deconstruction, with individual chapters that explore how dog-whistles, whistle-blowing, cybersecurity, and fraud have conjured spectacular secrets that are both perceptible and invisible to a wide American public. My research also engages the secondary topic of mental health and wellness, understanding that the arts of speaking are deeply related to psycho-therapeutic proposals for the "talking cure." This work addresses popular and psychoanalytic paradigms of mental wellness and how scholars, practitioners, and advocates might further nuance them.

In terms of teaching, I have taught courses on public speaking, argumentation, rhetorical theory, communication ethics, and secrecy and surveillance. In my home unit, I frequently teach an undergraduate and graduate rhetorical theory curriculum concentrated in the Communication Studies discipline. These classes offer a survey of frameworks for understanding spoken persuasion, symbolic representation, and hierarchical power dynamics. I have also taught courses on secrecy and surveillance, which draws upon my research in this area. I have also recently published an open-access textbook for courses in rhetorical theory with the assistance and support of the University of Minnesota Libraries. You can also find resources for my other courses at my newsletter site, The Rhetoric UnTextbook, which contains pages on the rhetoric of secrecy and surveillance and a graduate-level (MA/PhD) rhetorical theory course.

In my spare time, I enjoy kayaking, hiking, and spending time with my small dogs. Please reach out if you have inquiries about research, teaching, or wish to set up consultations.

(last updated September 2022)

 

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Rhetorical Studies, University of Georgia, 2015
  • M.A.: Rhetoric and Public Advocacy, University of Iowa, 2010

Specialties

  • Transparency and Information Privacy
  • Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
  • Theories of Discourse (Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, Genealogy)
  • Surveillance Studies