Welcome. I am Elizabeth Weiser, a professor in the English Department at The Ohio State University. I’m a rhetorical theorist, historiographer, and museologist

View my CV here

I am currently working on a project examining the ways that museums run by diverse subaltern communities in the U.S. are telling traumatic histories in a manner that promotes healing–a particularly daunting task in an era when toxic polarization has led to calls to stifle all such “divisive concepts” from public education forums. Tentatively titled Restorative Rhetorics: Truth, Division, & Reconciliation in American Museums, the book will look at a dozen such museums, most new, most located in the conservative heartland.

My last single-authored book, Museum Rhetoric: Building Civic Identity in National Spaces (2017), took me to over 60 national heritage museums in 22 countries on six continents to examine the ways national identity is promoted. Other books include Burke, War, Words (2008), on the development of dramatism during WWII, and six edited collections: two in museum studies (Taboos in Museology: Materials for Discussion [2022] and its more complete successor Taboos in Museology: Difficult Issues for Museology [2023]), three in rhetoric (In the Classroom with Kenneth Burke [2023], Women & Rhetoric between the Wars [2013] and Engaging the Audience [2011]), and one a local history text (The Fertile Earth and the Ordered Cosmos: Rreflections of the Newark Earthworks and World Heritage [2023]). Although I identify as a Burkean scholar, my published articles have ranged from analyses of Dorothy Day to global technology museums, from the Boca Juniors soccer stadium to the international museum definition debate and the Newark Earthworks. You can find most of them at https://osu.academia.edu/ElizabethWeiser

I have a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas Christian University, an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in International Education. I am the only American on the executive board of the International Committee for Museology (ICOFOM); I served on the executive board of the Kenneth Burke Society for seven years, and I have taught at Ohio State since 2004. On the Newark campus of OSU I teach classes in rhetoric, professional & creative writing, and language analysis, and I coordinate our minor in professional writing. I’ve won campus awards for my teaching, mentoring, research, service, and inclusive alliance.

When I’m not working, I write novels (my novel Lumen is available from Amazon); I love hiking & biking, concerts & plays. I am happiest either with the New York Times in my living room 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 whatever things we know mainly through maps, magazines, newspapers, and the like about the present?”Kenneth Burke, “Definition of Man”

The International Committee for Museology Executive Committee, Tokyo, Japan, 2019


The Ohio State University Rhetoric, Composition, & Literacy Team, 2018