Courses Taught & Dissertations Directed

Courses Taught:

English 696:  Gender B/l/ending Rhetorics and the Rhetorical Canon

English 596S / FSHD 596S:  Youth, Sexuality, Health, and Rights

In this graduate course, we will work to enhance understandings of the philosophical, historical, theoretical, creative, and methodological dimensions of interdisciplinary scholarship in the areas of youth, sexuality, health, and rights. The course will be transdisciplinary in focus and will draw on the expertise of the instructors and guest speakers to prepare graduate students in research and strategic communications to participate and inform public dialogue and to work with you to produce policy-relevant research on youth, sexuality, health and rights. Within this framework, course readings and discussions will include attention to contemporary forms of scholarship through a focus on:

  • Action-oriented research, collaboration, and representation
  • Mixed and multiple methods
  • Approaches to and production of (new) media
  • Professional development regarding the role of funding in applied scholarship
  • Strategic communications for research and policy

Course assignments and activities will engage participants in translating and engaging in basic and applied research for application both within and beyond the academy through media, policy, and other public forms of dialogue. Students will develop final projects that will advance their training goals while contributing to interdisciplinary dialogue about youth, sexuality, health and rights.


English 696 :  Rhetorics of Difference/Different Rhetorics: Historical Formations & Material Relations

In this graduate course, we will pursue an in-depth exploration of raced rhetorics and rhetorics of race/racialization. Students will explore how notions of difference and relations of power shape rhetorical theory. We will further explore the ways in which rhetorical theories and practices in non-dominant contexts work to interrupt, subvert, or contest the normalized assumptions upon which traditional rhetorical theories and practices depend. In our inquiries into the rhetorics of difference/different rhetorics, we will examine social identities as historical formations and material relations with consequences. In these discussions, we will draw from critical race (and race critical), postcolonial, borderlands’, Mestiza, feminist, multicultural, queer, cyber-generated, and disability rhetorics.  These sources have wide-ranging implications.  Rhetorics of race, for example, suggest an interrogation of taken-for-granted racial(ized) formations and imposed hierarchies of difference.  Similarly, the rhetorics of postcoloniality suggest an interrogation of taken-for-granted (mis)representations of non-dominant peoples and their histories, and queer rhetorics suggest an interrogation of heteronormativity and its implications for practice and representation.

Course Syllabus


English 597r : Community Action Research

Action research is transformational in its goals.  In this course, we will pursue an in-depth exploration of the concepts, central tenets, challenges, practices, and processes of action-oriented research and its epistemological underpinnings.  As alternatives to conventional research paradigms, we will consider the processes, principles, possibilities, and ethics of Participatory Action Research (PAR); Feminist Action Research (FAR); and Research as Praxis (RAP). Instead of taking pre-determined research agendas to a community, action research agendas are developed with the community. Together, we will consider the various methods for establishing and maintaining community-researcher partnerships; investigate the role of power/privilege in the research process; study decolonizing methodologies; and consider media production as it may serve the research context. Throughout the semester, we will concentrate on the dynamic interdependence among research, teaching, and communitarian work as they coalesce in praxis.

For students who have yet to be affiliated with a community project, this course will provide the opportunity for you to locate and initiate such a relationship. Students already engaged in community work will be asked to identify issues, needs, and problems within their community and begin to collaborate with its members on the development of an action-research agenda.

All students are required to successfully complete IRB training (see by week 3 of the course. All action research projects must be approved.

Course Syllabus


English 496 :  Cuentos y Testimonios: Documenting and Re-Presenting Our Stories

What is the difference between being represented and representing ourselves? What stories would we tell – about ourselves, our communities, our histories, our lived experience, our families – if we could tell them ourselves?  Here is your opportunity to find out.

This course will begin with an exploration of the difference between mainstream and independent media in which we will consider questions of access.  We will also think about the relationship between power and representation as we consider who represents whom. Like any story (including history), personal stories make truth claims based on perspective.  We will consider how the stories we tell are related to the stories that are told to us, and about us.  We will think about how stories circulate in the production and contestation of knowledges.  In this course, we will study and analyze a selection of “documentary” films.  Ultimately, students will produce a 5-7 minute documentary that will tell a story differently than it has been told in mainstream media.  Each documented story will attend to questions of self-identification, family, and/or community. Our stories, or cuentos, will emerge as testimonios to the importance of representation and its relationship to history as it is represented and reproduced.

Course Syllabus

English 496 :  Image and/as Text

English 389 : Introduction to Publishing: Community, Collaboration, and Social Change

English 380 : Literary Analysis, Critical Theory, Close Reading: Learning to Interpret Con/Texts

English 362 : Rhetorical Traditions: A Focus on Gender

Where is the City of Ladies ? What is a brrl ?  And who are Tough Guise? Find out in this course that considers the pervasiveness of gender as a way of structuring social life while also examining and unsettling assumptions about gender through an engagement with gender/ed rhetorics and the rhetorics of gender over time and across contexts.

Drawing primarily (though not exclusively) from critical and feminist rhetorical theories, we will interrogate (the social construction of) gender in cultural, historical, economic, and political contexts. Students will also explore rhetorics that have grown out of the politics of race, class, and sexuality. Throughout, we will engage the production of knowledge as a gendered, raced, and contested process with material consequences that has served to normalize and legitimize some wihile de-legitimizing and even dehumanizing others. 

This reading and writing intensive course will draw on films, photography, zines, and academic essays that produce or subvert dominant representations of gender.  Students will have the opportunity to practice rhetorical analyses, critical and creative thinking, academic and non-academic writing, and oral communication skills. Class participation is required. 

Course Syllabus


English 362 : Rhetorical Traditions: A Focus on Race

In this course, students will be introduced to diverse rhetorical theories and practices that emanate from non-dominant groups/locations. While this course will focus on raced rhetorics and rhetorics of race, students will also explore rhetorics that have grown out of the politics of class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in contemporary contexts. Students will study rhetorics offering alternatives to traditional approaches in order to explore the relationship between discourse, the production of knowledge, and practices of representation from diverse (cultural) locations.  In considering the production of knowledge as a raced, gendered, and contested process, students will (re)consider who the holders and creators of knowledge are across multiple contexts.

Course readings will address historical implications of language as it has been used to (mis)represent. Readings will also reveal the transformative and emancipatory potentials of alternative rhetorical practices and performances. To achieve these goals, readings will include both theories of alternative rhetorical practice for students to discuss and emulate and essays (as well as film and photography) that address these topics as models for the students’ own analytical practice. The ability to communicate across borders of difference will be a goal embedded in each course unit.  Assignments will be designed to engage students in the theories, practices, and implications of alternative and comparative rhetorics. 

Course Syllabus


Dissertations Chaired:

Aretha Matt, 2011, "Reclamation and Survivance: Diné Rhetorics and the Practice of Rhetorical Sovereingty." Centennial Achievement Award.

Rebecca R. Richards, 2011, "Women World Leaders, Iron Ladies, and Daughters of Destiny: A Transnational Study of Women's Rhetorical Performances of Power." 1885 Dissertation Fellowship Award.

Amanda Wray, 2011, "Lived Histories and the Changing Rhetoric of White Identity." Tilly Warnock Research Fellowship.

Marissa Juárez , 2012, "Bodily Force and Rhetorical Function in the Afro-Brazilian Art Form of Capoeira." 1885 Dissertation Fellowship Award.

Aja Martinez, 2012, "Critical Race Counterstory as Rhetorical Methodology: Chican@ Academic Experience Told Through Sophistic Argument, Allegory, and Narrative." Centennial Achievement Award.

Jessica N. Lee, 2013, "Too Much Information: Agency and Disruptions of Power in Personal Narratives of Mental Illness and Suffering."

Londie T. Martin, 2013, "The Spaciality of Queer Youth Activism: Performing Spaces of Coalition and Dis/Identification." Patrick Dissertation Fellowship.

Jenna Vinson, 2013, "Teenage Mothers as Rhetors and Rhetoric: An Analysis of Embodied Exigence and Constrained Agency." Centennial Achievement Award.

Rachael Wendler, 2015, "Community Perspectives on University-Community Partnerships: Implications for Program Assessment, Teacher Training, and Composition Pedagogy." PEO Scholars Award.

Amy Hickman, 2015, "Re-Centering Medical Expertise with Communities: Promotoras and the Rhetorical Economy of Health."

Ana M. Ribero, 2015, "The Rhetorics of Citizenship of Undocumented Youth: An Analysis of Shifting Notions of Citizenship in Neoliberal Contexts." Patrick Dissertation Fellowship.

Sonia C. Arrellano, ongoing 2015, "Quilting the Migrant Trail: Crafted Rhetorical Text(iles) and (Counter) Narratives," (Working Title).

Devon R. Kehler, ongoing 2015, "Of Crossings and Crowds: Listenings, Voicings and Sightings of Persona-fied Subject Formations," (Working Title).

Casely Coan, ongoing 2016, "Epiphenomenal Striptease: The Rhetorics of Performed Identity in Queer and Trans* Burlesque Performance," (Working Title).

Anushka M.S. Peres, ongoing 2016, "Walking in Nature: An Exploration of Subject and Place in the US Mainstream Environmental Movement," (Working Title).

Courses Taught & Dissertations Directedo

Teaching Philosophy

Media Work


Professional Affiliations

Research Projects & Public Interests

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