Robert Asen

Robert Asen's picture
  • Professor
  • Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture
Office Hours:
  • By Appointment
Expertise and Activities: 

Robert Asen conducts research and teaches in the areas of public policy debate, public sphere studies, and rhetoric and critical theory. Asen focuses on the ways that political, economic, and cultural inequalities interact with relations of power to shape public discourse. He considers how powerful individuals and groups use discourse to maintain their privilege and how marginalized people seek to overcome exclusions to represent their needs, interests, and identities in the public sphere. Asen explores the democratic possibilities of rhetorical practice, as ordinary folks may connect with others to build diverse communities and support individuals, as well as the ways that rhetorical practices may divide and scapegoat people, and sustain oppression.


  • 2012. ""Lyndon Baines Johnson and George W. Bush on Education Reform: Ascribing Agency and Responsibility through Key Policy Terms." Rhetoric and Public Affairs , 289-318 .
  • 2011. ""'The Research Says': Definitions and Uses of a Key Policy Term in Federal Law and Local School Board Deliberations"." Argumentation and Advocacy , (47): 195-213 .
  • 2010. ""Reflections on the Role of Rhetoric in Public Policy"." Rhetoric and Public Affairs , (13): 121-43 .
  • 2009. ""Ideology, Materiality, and Counterpublicity: William E. Simon and the Rise of a Conservative Counterintelligentsia\"." Quarterly Journal of Speech , (95): 263-88 .
  • 2004. ""A Discourse Theory of Citizenship"." Quarterly Journal of Speech , (90): 189-211 .
  • 2000. ""Seeking the 'Counter' in Counterpublics"." Communication Theory , (10):424-46 .


  • CA 360 - Introduction to Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
  • CA 969 - Theories of the Public Sphere
  • CA 967 - Rhetoric and Public Policy
  • CA 969 - Rhetoric and Critical Theory
  • CA 571 - Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
  • CA 610 - Democratic Deliberation and American Education
Curriculum Vitae: