My research emphasizes the study of rhetoric around several core themes: (1) Secrecy and Surveillance, (2) Algorithms and Digital Leaks (3) Conspiracy Theories, and (4) Psychoanalysis/Mental Wellness. Below, you will find published research and conference presentations organized by these themes. I have also included (5) Political Rhetoric and Public Culture and (6) Book Reviews/Panels for recent publications and presentations not explicitly having to do with the first four themes. Links are available to read (or watch) within each of the categories below.
Secrecy and Surveillance
Article. “Re-canonizing Rhetoric: The Secret in and of Discourse.” Journal for the History of Rhetoric volume 25, issue (2022): 346-70.
- Synopsis: Challenges to rhetoric’s canon often occur under the rubric of revising that canon and its foundational, shared meaning. Read through the strategies of deconstruction, the secret offers a common ground for recanonizing approaches by centering either a concealed quantity in ancient rhetoric’s granular archive (the secret in discourse) or an unfolding idea whose transformation has rendered it unrecognizable to its original version (the secret of discourse). This article draws on Jacques Derrida’s “White Mythology” (1974) and A Taste for the Secret (2001) before addressing how the secret’s registers in and of discourse animate de- and recanonizing readings of ancient Greek and Roman rhetoric. Its implications address scholars distressed by the durable forms of oppression ensconced in rhetoric’s ancient canon.
Article. “Imagine There’s No President: The Rhetorical Secret and the Exposure of Valerie Plame,” Quarterly Journal of Speech volume 101, issue 2 (2015), 354-378.
- Synopsis: Introduces the rhetorical secret as a broad heading for the tropological (re-)organization of discourse to produce the impression of hiddeness or absence within official executive discourse. Draws upon a Lacanian psychoanalytic framework inspired by Joan Copjec’s Imagine There’s No Woman and Jacques Lacan’s “Seminar on the Purloined Letter,” including a detailed description of the latter. Draws upon the progression of repetition, caesura, and synecdoche to describe the transformation of George W. Bush’s speech over the course of the Valerie Plame scandal, who was exposed as a covert member of the CIA’s nuclear counter-proliferation division. Recipient of the National Communication Association’s 2016 Stephen A. Lucas Debut Publication Award.
With Emily Winderman and Vanessa Nyarko. “Rhetoric Before the Back Alley: Revisiting the Abortion Mill.” [Recorded Presentation] Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Conference, Baltimore, MD. May 2022.
“Re-canonizing Rhetoric: The Secret in and of Discourse.” American Society for the History of Rhetoric (ASHR) Symposium, “Rhetoric in motu.” Baltimore, MD. May 2022.
Algorithms and Digital Leaks
Article. “Psychoanalysis Against WikiLeaks: Resisting the Demand for Transparency,” Review of Communication issue 20, volume 1 (2020): 69-86.
- Synopsis: For a special issue of Review of Communication on “Psychoanalysis as Philosophy of Communication.” Discusses transparency as a historical and democratic ideal as well as problems with this conceptual framing. Enlists a psychoanalytic framework to describe the potential harms arising from an unequivocal celebration of transparency (e.g. the gesture of ‘denuding’ demanded by toxic masculinity), drawing upon the history of the WikiLeaks organization and statements by its founder.
Article. “The Rhetorical Algorithm: WikiLeaks and the Elliptical Secrets of Donald J. Trump,” Secrecy and Society issue 1, volume 12 (2018): 1-40.
- Synopsis: Introduces the trope of ellipsis as a rhetorical strategy of organizing secrecy using the Donald Trump’s “I love WikiLeaks” campaign statement as a core example. Ellipsis describes the omission that becomes commission by retroactively (i.e. belatedly) ascribing new meaning to an existing gap within official discourse. Ends with a reflection on the conspicuous omissions perpetuated by the WikiLeaks organization following the disclosure of CIA tool-kits known as Vault 7 and Vault 8.
Panelist. “You Live In Public. The Rhetorical Secret and the Vault 7 Leak.” Presented during “New Media, New Rhetorics?: Re-Inventing Rhetoric’s Past with its Technological Future.” Rhetoric Society of America, Minneapolis, MN. May 31-June 3, 2018.
Panelist. “Aggressive Leak Campaigns and the Emasculation of Julian Assange.” Presented during “Disarticulating Whiteness and Masculinity in the Time of Donald J. Trump.” Southern States Communication Association, Nashville, TN. April 4-8, 2018.
Panelist. “Invading MySpace: Anxiety and the Paranoid Style of Public Leaking Events.” Presented during “Algorithms and Anxiety in the Public Sphere.” Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division, National Communication Association, Dallas, TX. November 17, 2017.
Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories
- Synopsis: Reflects on the 2009 “ClimateGate” scandal as an instance of conspiracy rhetoric that relied heavily upon a visual style comprised of both (1) spurious visual diagrams meant to compete with official scientific reporting on climate change and (2) as metaphors used to entrench deniers’ claims. Reviews rhetorical studies literature on the ClimateGate controversy and discusses three characteristic appeals of the visual style: (A) “The Appeal to Proper Vision,” (B) “The Appeal to Imitation,” and (C) “The Appeal to Transparency.” Images for this article can be found in the slides linked below.
With Kurt Zemlicka. “Only Time Like the Present: The Metaphysics of Kairos and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.” Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Conference, Baltimore, MD. May 2022.
With Dustin A. Greenwalt. “Graphed into the Conversation: Conspiracy, Controversy, and Climategate’s Visual Style,” ARSTM Division, National Communication Association, Baltimore, MD. November 14-17, 2019.
Psychoanalysis and Mental Wellness
Article. “Intimate Spaces of Mental Wellness.” Rhetoric, Politics, & Culture issue 1, volume 1 (2021): 55-66. ISSN: 2693-7549
- Synopsis: Discusses the related problems of psychoanalytic theorizing and mental wellness culture in rhetorical studies due to their shared roots in colonialist thought. Takes issue with the purported universality of “the subject” as an analytic category due to its homogeneity and neutrality, a ruse which covers up its historic whiteness and masculinity. As an alternative, introduces the concept of “intimate spaces of mental wellness” as pluralized psychoanalyses, and addresses how psychoanalytic critique must both (1) address the historical harms engendered by the framework and (2) elaborate the affirmative possibilities of new psychoanalytic paradigms as rooted in the uniqueness of racialized experience and particular communities of practice.
Encyclopedia Entry. “Psychoanalytic Methods and Critical Cultural Studies.” [Pre-Publication Draft of Entry], Oxford Research Encyclopedia, 2019.
- Synopsis: Long-form encyclopedia entry reviewing the role of psychoanalytic theorizing in Rhetorical Studies, including Sigmund Freud, Kenneth Burke, Jungian rhetorical approaches, Jacques Lacan, and contemporary criticism. Offers an overview of a number of core concepts ending with a reflection on the relevance of Lacan’s “four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis” for contemporary rhetorical and critical academic inquiry.
Roundtable Panelist. “Spaces of Intimacy/Subordination: Reading Secrecy and Transparency in University Mental Wellness Discourse.” [Recorded Presentation] Presented during “Sustainable Transformation: Mental Illness in Academic Contexts.” Health Communication Division. National Communication Association Conference, Seattle, WA. Online Presentation. November 18-21, 2021.
Presenter. “Lacan in Baltimore: On the Role of Structure in Psychoanalysis,” Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division, National Communication Association, Baltimore, MD. November 14-17, 2019.
Political Rhetoric and Public Culture
Panelist. “The Culture Wars Redux: Free Speech and Academic Freedom,” Critical and Cultural Studies Division/Freedom of Expression Division, National Communication Association, SLC, UT. November 9, 2018.
Panelist. “The Statue is Where it Belongs: Iconoclasm, Analepsis, and the Monumental History of White Supremacy.” Presented during “A Lie by Omission? Memory and History in the Debate over the Removal of Confederate Memorials.” Southern States Communication Association, Nashville, TN. April 4-8, 2018.
Panelist. “Rhetorical Theories of Dual Power and Revolutionary Possibilities.” Critical and Cultural Studies Division, National Communication Association, Dallas, TX. November 17, 2017.
Book Reviews and Panels
Book Review. Awful Archives: Rhetoric, Conspiracy, and Acts of Evidence by Jenny Rice in Rhetoric Society Quarterly issue 52 volume 2 (2022).
Respondent. “Playing With Fire: African American Rhetoric from Turner to Obama,” African American Communication and Culture Division. National Communication Association Conference, SLC, UT. November 8, 2018.
Panelist. “Response to Grano’s The Eternal Present of Sport.“ Presented during “Spotlight on Scholar: Sport, Rhetoric, Media, and Religion.” Southern States Communication Association, Nashville, TN. April 4-8, 2018.
Panelist. “The Rhetorical Invention of America’s (In)Security State.” Political Communication Division, National Communication Association, Dallas, TX. November 16, 2017.