Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture
6154 Vilas Hall
Expertise and Activities
My research and teaching focuses on U.S. presidential rhetoric, public address, foreign policy, space/place, and rhetorical history, theory, and criticism.
I am currently completing a book manuscript on Cold War U.S. presidential rhetoric. Entitled The Global Rhetorical Presidency: Cold War Rhetoric on the World Stage, this book examines how U.S. presidents used their rhetoric abroad as a persuasive strategy. As chief executives and other governmental officials faced the urgent task of enlarging the United States’ role in the Cold War world, they proactively deployed the physical presence of the U.S. president abroad—and the mediation, transmission, and circulation of these visits—as a political and psychological weapon. Drawing on archival research from five presidential libraries, the Department of State, and the United States Information Agency and fieldwork in Europe, I examine how Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan used their international tours—and, importantly, the widespread media coverage of such tours—as a way to extend the United States’ global influence, expand the reach of presidential power in foreign affairs, and bolster their own image at home and abroad. Ultimately, this book argues that Cold War U.S. presidents took their rhetoric abroad in an attempt to constitute an imagined community of peoples and nations who, although separated by physical distance or national allegiance, were united in their shared opposition to Soviet communism.
- Ph.D. Communication Studies (Rhetoric), University of Minnesota, 2016
- M.A. Communication Studies (Rhetoric), University of Minnesota, 2011
- First Book Program Award, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2019
- Golden Anniversary Monograph Award, National Communication Association, 2017
- Outstanding Dissertation Award, American Society for the History of Rhetoric, 2016
- 2021. “The Rise of the Global Rhetorical Presidency.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 50.2: pages forthcoming.
- 2019. “Obama in Selma: Deixis, Rhetorical Vision, and the ‘True Meaning of America.’” Quarterly Journal of Speech 105.1: 42-67.
- 2017. “Saluting the ‘Skutnik’: Special Guests, the First Lady’s Box, and the Generic Evolution of the State of the Union Address.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 20.4: 571-604. [First author with Julia Scatliff O’Grady]
- 2017. “‘A Journey for Peace’: Spatial Metaphors in Nixon’s 1972 ‘Opening to China.’” Presidential Studies Quarterly 47.4: 646-664. [Co-author with Zoë Hess Carney]
- 2016. “Toward a Rhetorical Theory of Deixis.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 102.2: 166-193.
- 2015. “Retelling Watergate: Apologia, Political Eulogy, and Richard Nixon’s ‘Final Campaign.’” Southern Communication Journal 80.4: 271-292.
- 2015. “Maternal Bodies in Militant Protest: Leymah Gbowee and the Rhetorical Agency of African Motherhood.” Women’s Studies in Communication 38.2: 187-205.
- 2015. “Reagan at Pointe du Hoc: Deictic Epideictic and the Persuasive Power of ‘Bringing Before the Eyes.’” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 18.2: 247-276.
- 2019. “Reading the Presidency In Situ: Obama in Cuba and the Significance of Place in U.S. Presidential Public Address.” Reading the Presidency: Advances in Presidential Rhetoric, Stephen J. Heidt and Mary E. Stuckey, eds. New York: Peter Lang, 44-64.
- 2018. “The Two Madam Secretaries: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Elizabeth McCord, and Mimetic Representations of 21st Century Feminism.” Women, Feminism, and Pop Politics:From “Bitch” to “Badass” and Beyond, Karrin Vasby Anderson, ed. New York: Peter Lang, 223-244.
Selected Lectures & Media Appearances
- “Two Presidencies, Two Weeks, One Place: Trump and Biden on the National Mall.” Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, March 19, 2021.
- “Inaugural Addresses.” Communication Matters Podcast, National Communication Association, January 28, 2021.
- “Visions and Views of America, as Told by Pres. Biden and 22-year-old poet.” NBC15 WMTV News Interview. January 21, 2021.
- “President-elect Joe Biden Plans to Start Term with ‘America United’ Theme.” NBC15 WMTV News Interview. January 21, 2021.
- “Staying with Unity Theme Essential for Biden.” Public News Network Radio Interview. January 19, 2021.
- “Rhetorical Reflections on the 2020 Presidential Election.” Roundtable Discussion, Rhetoric Society of America, November 6, 2020.
- “(Un)Norming the Presidency: Republicans, Democrats & the Paradox of Donald Trump.” Politics After Dark Lecture Series, Southern Methodist University School for the Arts, Dallas, TX. October 19, 2020.
- “When a President Gets Sick.” A Public Affair Radio Interview, WORT 89.9, Madison, Wisconsin. October 13, 2020.
- “Recapping the Vice Presidential Debate.” 6 O’Clock News Radio Interview, WORT 89.9, Madison, Wisconsin. October 8, 2019.
- “Gearing Up for the 2020 Presidential Election.” Crossroads of Ideas Lecture Series, University of Wisconsin-Madison. September 24, 2020.
- CA 360 – Introduction to Rhetoric in Politics and Culture
- CA 610 – Rhetoric of the Cold War
- CA 610 – U.S. Presidential Rhetoric & Foreign Policy
- CA 610 – Rhetoric of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election
- Mondays, 1:00-2:00 pm (via Zoom)
- Wednesday, 1:00-2:00 pm (via Zoom)