Collegiate Affiliation

Atilla Hallsby (he/him) is an assistant professor in the Communication Studies department in the Rhetorical Studies area at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His research program is about how rhetoric shapes public perceptions about secrecysurveillancetransparency, and opacity in American public culture. His 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. His forthcoming monograph, This Page Intentionally Left Blank, describes how rhetoric and secrets are entangled with one another. This text explores how dog-whistles, whistleblowing, cybersecurity, and fraud conjure spectacular secrets that are both perceptible and invisible to a wider public.

His 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.

Professor Hallsby earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and previously worked as adjunct faculty at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. His MA is from the University of Iowa's Communication Studies program in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy. He has undergraduate degrees in English literature, chemistry, and Spanish language from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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


  • Information Privacy and Transparency Policy
  • Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
  • Post-Structural Theories of Discourse (Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, Genealogy)
  • Critical Surveillance and Security Studies
  • History of Secrecy Practices