I am a rhetorical theorist, historiographer, and museologist in the English Department of The Ohio State University. I teach a variety of classes on rhetoric, writing, and language analysis, and I co-coordinate the professional writing minor on the Newark Campus, where I’ve won campus awards for my teaching, mentoring, research, service, and inclusive alliance. I’ve published four books and numerous articles. My most recent book, Museum Rhetoric, examines the manner and implications of the national identification that is promoted in museums around the world.
I hold a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition (Texas Christian University, 2004) an MFA in Creative Writing (Texas State University, 1999), and an MA in International Education (American University, 1989). I’ve taught at Ohio State since 2004. I spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. In 2012 I spent the autumn in Sweden and England working with the European National Museums Project (Eunamus). Although I identify as a Burkean scholar, my work has ranged widely across the field of rhetoric, with Burke, War, Words (2008) focusing on the development of dramatism in the climate of WWII, Women & Rhetoric between the Wars (2013) examining women in the public sphere after suffrage, and Engaging the Audience (2011) proposing methods for 21st century audience-awareness. To prepare my latest book, Museum Rhetoric: Building Civic Identity in National Spaces (Penn State Press, 2017), I traveled to 22 countries on 6 continents to study over 60 national heritage museums. Published articles and book chapters range from Kenneth Burke’s involvement with New Critics to Dorothy Day’s personalization tropes, and from communal identification in global technology museums to the rhetoric of Argentina’s La Bombonera sports stadium. My teaching is equally eclectic, as I regularly guide our professional writing minors to real-world writing, survey linguistics with future teachers, and teach the rhetoric of personal and public life. I am the treasurer of the Kenneth Burke Society, which named me their top new scholar in 2008.
When not working, I write novels, I love hiking & biking, I go to concerts & plays, and I obsessively read poetry, science, history, and the New York Times. I am happiest either in my own livingroom with a cup of coffee or with my backpack exploring a new country.
“What is our reality for today…but all this clutter of symbols about the past, combined with what-ever things we know mainly through maps, magazines, newspapers, and the like about the present?”—Kenneth Burke, “Definition of Man”
The Ohio State University Rhetoric, Composition, & Literacy Team, 2018“…and the reason why I’m sitting/here writing this, is that I’m trying/to make this thing./I am shy to name it./My father didn’t like words like “soul.”/…I am trying one way and another/all words — So it’s made out of words, is it?/No. I think the best ones/must be made out of brave and kind acts,/and belong to people who look after things/with all their heart,/and include the ocean at twilight.”—Ursula K. LeGuin, last blog post