Atilla T Hallsby

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Communication Studies .
225 Ford Hall
224 Church Street

Atilla Hallsby is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. I am trained as a teacher in speech and argument, and my expertise is in rhetorical history, ethics, theory, and criticism. I am particularly fond of post-structuralist theory and seek to develop theory and criticism that advances the critical goals of marginalized communities. My major focus is upon America's rhetorical culture of secrets. Secrets are a crucial part of the culture of national security, the emergence of cryptocurrencies, the ideal of transparency in governance, the surveillance of migrant communities, anti-science conspiracy rhetorics, and narratives of mental illness. By seeking to identify common rhetorical features of secrets, I hope to advance a better understanding of how secrets are strategic ways of leveraging power, how they structure public memory, and how they come to be 'out in the open' through representation and repetition in public culture. I am currently at work on a book manuscript that brings psychoanalytic theory together with landmark secrecy events of the early 21st century. In 2019-2020, I will teach classes in rhetorical theory while finishing ongoing research on the Climategate conspiracy and the legacy of epistemic rhetoric.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

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

Curriculum Vitae


  • Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
  • Post-Structural Theories of Discourse (Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, Genealogy)
  • History of Secrecy Practices
  • Critical Surveillance and Security Studies
  • Information Privacy and Transparency Policy
Courses Taught
  • COMM 3601 Introduction to Rhetorical Theory (undergrad large lecture)
  • COMM 3625 Communication Ethics (undergrad)
  • COMM 5110: Secrecy Surveillance Rhetoric (grad/undergrad)
  • COMM 5611: Advanced Survey of Rhetorical Theory (grad/undergrad)
  • WRIT 5776 The Rhetorical Tradition: Modern Era (grad only)
  • "Psychoanalysis Against WikiLeaks: Resisting the Demand for Transparency": Hallsby, Atilla, Review of Communication, 20 69-86, 2020. LinkDownload
  • Psychoanalytic Methods in Critical/Cultural Studies: Hallsby, Atilla, Oxford University Press, Oxford Encyclopedia of Communication and Critical Studies, 2018.
  • The Rhetorical Algorithm: WikiLeaks and the Elliptical Secrets of Donald J. Trump: Hallsby, Atilla, Secrecy and Society, 1(2) 1-41, 2017. Link
  • Imagine There's No President: The Rhetorical Secret and the Exposure of Valerie Plame: Hallsby, Atilla, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 101(2) 354-378, 2015. LinkDownload
  • 2016 Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award, National Communication Association
  • 2016 Top Paper in Rhetoric and Communication Theory, National Communication Association