Current Students-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Amanda Berardi Tennant

Amanda Berardi Tennant

Email: aberardi@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English with a specialization in professional writing and editing from West Virginia University and my M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon. My research focuses on matters of intercultural communication and public engagement. More specifically, I question how members of multicultural communities are drawn to public spaces to address common problems and build shared knowledge through discussion.  My research interests are driven by my own academic and professional experiences working with people of various cultural and economic backgrounds. I would like my research to contribute to an increased understanding of how opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue can be facilitated and how talking across difference can result in a more inclusive discussion of public issues.

Carolyn Commer

Carolyn Commer

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ccommer@andrew.cmu.edu

My research examines the rhetoric of liberal education, specifically how the liberal arts are argued for in institutional and public policy settings. My work is informed by my own liberal arts background and seeks to understand: How do educators argue for the value of the liberal arts when economic concerns dominate institutional and public policy agendas? To answer this question, I draw from concepts in rhetorical and argument theory, such as dissociation, as well as public sphere theory, to examine the way that defenders of the liberal arts shape and circulate their discourse in different public settings. It is my hope that this research can contribute not only to our understanding of argument theory and the rhetoric of public policy, but that it also sheds light on how the study and teaching of rhetoric (itself part of the liberal arts) is argued for in higher education.

Education

B.A. Liberal Arts, The Evergreen State College, 2007

M.A. Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University, 2008

M.A. Liberal Arts, St. John's College, 2009


Ana Cooke

Ana Cooke

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: acooke@andrew.cmu.edu

My work explores rhetorical, literate, and discursive practices in online environments, including the discourse of online communities, interactions in collaborative environments, and the uses of digital media for the development of reading and writing skills. I am interested both in how we theorize online interactions, particularly the implications of digital media for theories of genre and rhetorical agency, and also in the affordances and constraints of such environments for literacy and composition pedagogy. For example, in recent projects I have investigated how writers approach audience while annotating in a collaborative reading environment, and have analyzed the relationship between adoption of group discursive practices and network centrality in an online community. My current work traces the enactment of social and discursive norms in Wikipedia. I hold a B.A. in English from Reed College and an M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon; prior to coming to CMU, I taught ESL writing to adults and worked as a professional textbook editor.

Tim Dawson

Tim Dawson

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric

Email: jtdawson@andrew.cmu.edu

I earned degrees in English and Theater from Slippery Rock University and an M.A. in Writing from DePaul University. I teach 76-101 Interpretation and Argument, Writing in the Professions, and a Performance Studies course (with Dr. Kristina Straub) for the Humanities Scholars Program. I am interested in community literacy and deliberative democracy projects that involve university-community partnerships, and my research focuses on investigating the arts as civic engagement. In addition to my research and teaching I am the document developer for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy, housed at CMU, and I help run the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company, which for sixteen years has attacked works from the classical canon with a visceral wit and no respect whatsoever. 


Daniel Dickson-LaPrade

Daniel Dickson-LaPrade

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ddickson@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in Psychology and my M.A. in English, specializing in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy, from the University of Oklahoma.

I am currently studying the figures and tropes, and also the extent to which scientific creativity may be better understood through the theoretical lens of rhetorical invention. I hope to combine these interests in my dissertation, which I will begin drafting in January of 2012.


Emily Ferris

Emily Ferris

Ph.D Student, Rhetoric

Email: eferris@andrew.cmu.edu

In my work, I ask how marginalized persons (particularly those with disabilities) advocate for themselves in public forums and represent themselves/are represented in interactions with institutions. I am motivated by the social concerns of how rhetoricians can support rhetors who lack institutional power, can incorporate experiential knowledge and informal strategies (such as ethos and aesthetics) into formal forums and models, and can mediate theory into meaningful practice for real-world deliberators. I am also motivated by related theoretical concerns, such as the possibility of a post-modern rhetorical agency; the methodological challenges of reception studies; the continued development of the phenomena of materiality and embodiment within the discipline; and the potential for the study of subaltern discourses and practices to inform, challenge, and expand rhetoric, particularly at moments of controversy and social change. I hold a BA in Professional Writing and an MA in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.

Mary Glavan

Mary Glavan

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: mglavan@andrew.cmu.edu


Maggie Goss

Maggie Goss

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: mgoss@andrew.cmu.edu

I am interested in the ways public figures represent themselves to an audience and the ways in which those figures then come to be represented in the United States’ media. In consideration of discourse analysis and the notion of intertextuality, I am above all captivated by the heteroglossic nature of discourse as it travels through various networks of communication. Given this, my research is currently motivated by the following questions: In what ways is public speaking discourse recontextualized through the art of an utterance? Under what circumstances are certain discourse taken up by an audience, particularly the United States’ media, and in what ways does dialogism work to encourage the exigency and participation of texts with other texts? I hold a BA in English from The College of Wooster and an MA in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University.

Eric Hanbury

Eric Hanbury

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ehanbury@andrew.cmu.edu


Derek Handley

Derek Handley

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: dghandle@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English Arts from Hampton University and my M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. At CMU, my research interests revolve around African American rhetoric, rhetoric of place, and narrative theory. My research interests are rooted in making a difference in my community and discovering ways to translate theory into practice.

Jessica Harrell

Jessica Harrell

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: jbharrel@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English from Belmont University. While working toward my B.A., I studied abroad in Florence, Italy where I developed an interest in stories about place. During my time away from academia and through the year I completed my M.A. in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon, I have pursued interests in narrative, oral history, and the discourse surrounding urban renewal. My research currently focuses on how narratives of personal experience, primarily oral histories, become a valuable resource in the construction of collective memory.


Ari Klein

Ari Klein

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: azk@andrew.cmu.edu

In my dissertation, I am exploring the intersection of the traditional theoretical boundaries between artistic (i.e., discourse-based) and non-artistic (i.e., non-discursive) conceptions of ethos. In particular, I am interested in how some ethotic qualities that, traditionally, may have been understood as existing prior to and outside of discourse—for example, the authority that a speaker possesses by virtue of a recognized position of power—might in part be discursively constructed by the speaker over time. To analytically pursue this interest, I draw upon a case study of 142 speeches by members of the United States Federal Reserve. Methodologically, I combine qualitative and quantitative approaches—corpus-based rhetorical analysis, discourse analysis, and statistical analysis—to examine the extent to which the Chairman’s and others’ discourse invents the Chairman’s authoritative ethos as a means of rhetorically influencing the Federal Open Market Committee’s “consensus” on monetary policy decisions.  

As a Ph.D. student, I have taught 76-101: Interpretation and Argument and 76-270: Writing for the Professions, and I worked for three years at CMU’s Software Engineering Institute, where I applied concepts and approaches in argumentation theory to software assurance cases—an argumentation-based method for demonstrating properties of software-reliant systems (e.g., safety, security)—in an effort to develop a framework for understanding and assessing “confidence” in assurance-case claims. Currently, I am working with Professor Chris Neuwirth on developing computer modules for teaching basic principles of prose style writing, and researching the effect of the modules on student learning. I hold a B.A. in Creative Writing, with an additional major in Philosophy, from CMU, and an M.A. in Rhetoric from CMU.

Justin Mando

Justin Mando

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: jmando@andrew.cmu.edu

I situate my work at the intersection of rhetoric of place, environmental rhetoric and public sphere theory by analyzing local-level environmental disputes with a focus on place as an argumentative resource. I am particularly interested in the concept of proximity, both in how physical distance affects discourse and how proximity can be created in discourse. For my methodological approach to these issues, I draw from traditions in rhetorical analysis and discourse analysis.

I have also been fortunate enough to teach in a variety of places and contexts; from Pittsburgh to Slovakia to Qatar and from university classrooms to multinational corporations to correctional facilities. At Carnegie Mellon, I have taught 76-101: Interpretation and Argument focusing on issues of urban development, 76-100: Reading and Writing in an Academic Context for non-native speakers of English and 76-386/786: Language and Culture. Prior to my time at Carnegie Mellon, I taught English as a Second Language. I hold a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Vermont and a M.A. in rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.


Ryan Mitchell

Ryan Mitchell

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: rmitchel@andrew.cmu.edu

Broadly, my work examines the fluidity of social meanings and categories that emerge when communities are caught in the throes of internal controversy. My thinking about controversy is guided by theories and methods taken from argument, narrative, and public sphere theory. I am motivated by an interest in how rhetors use community language and narrative to strengthen the believability of their arguments, establish communion with their audiences, and construct stable community identities. My current work attempts to outline the argumentative strategies enacted by gay men in the earliest years of the AIDS epidemic (1980-1984) as they negotiated private behaviors like sexual health and safety with public concerns such as prevention, medical research, and governmental funding. I hold a B.A. in English Writing and Rhetoric from St. Edward’s University and an M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.

Will Penman

Will Penman

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: wpenman@andrew.cmu.edu

I am a third year Ph.D. student in Rhetoric working on my dissertation prospectus. I study situations where people aspire to do something communicatively that they think is difficult or nearly impossible. For my dissertation, I'm working with white Christian volunteers from a church-led urban farm as they aspire to rhetorical practices that counter white privilege with servanthood, in-group attachment with hospitality, and assumptions of knowledgeableness with relationships. I also have academic interests in the modes of communication that people use, and how technology shapes these modes. I earned my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Florida, and my M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University. I teach introductory academic reading and writing skills, in general sections and sections specifically for multilingual students.

Doug Phillips

Doug Phillips

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: dgphilli@andrew.cmu.edu

Broadly, my work seeks to contribute to our understanding of the ways that arguers use iconic language in public discourse. Specifically, I am interested in how people invoke whole narratives and index particular ideologies through iconic language related to decisive moments in history, and what assumptions speakers or writers make when they use language in this way. I draw on concepts from narrative theory, argument theory, and discourse analysis to examine how politicians or other public figures condense events -- or, rather, series of events -- into ‘moments' that are then picked up and recontextualized in subsequent discourses. I also seek to understand what is lost in this process. In other words, what does speaking or writing about a series of events as a moment leave out? I hold a B.A. in English from The Ohio State University and an M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.


Calvin Pollak

Calvin Pollak

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: cpollak@andrew.cmu.edu

I earned a B.A. in Professional Writing and Philosophy from Carnegie Mellon, completing a senior honors thesis on wartime rhetoric. After graduation, I moved to Beijing, China, where I worked as an English teacher and copy editor for a few years. My current research is motivated especially by my stint in China, when I became fascinated by the speed and scale of changing international power dynamics. How is English, as perhaps the world's foremost "global language", increasingly becoming a site of contestation for competing geopolitical interests? Specifically, how is the US-China relationship being actively negotiated and constituted through English texts intended for global audiences? How (and why) are terror groups and other non-state actors using English-language online media to argue for violent and nonviolent resistance to the policies of predominantly English-speaking countries?

Finally, what are the implications of widespread digital surveillance for healthy dissent and public debate in liberal democracies? My work harnesses rhetorical analysis to interrogate the intersecting forces of neoliberal economic expansion, technological change, and geopolitical conflict.


Ryan Roderick

Ryan Roderick

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: rroderick@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English from Drexel University and my M.A. with a concentration in Composition and Pedagogy from University of Maine. Broadly, I am interested in all the ways texts enable and constrain material and social realities. Specifically, I am curious about how changes in texts alter material and social realities, how such changes occur, and what effects they have on social activity. I focus my research on how newcomers and alternative members of discourse communities shape and are shaped by the texts and social practices they encounter.


Kristin Shimmin

Kristin Shimmin

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: kshimmin@andrew.cmu.edu

I am interested in the way that scientific discourse informs political discourse in the long eighteenth century. In this period, scientific practice shifts from a private, elite practice of the royal court to a more public, more democratic practice of the educated. And, these shifts in scientific practice coincide with substantial shifts in political theory toward modern notions of democratic sovereignty, and with influential political revolutions in England, America, and France. By investigating the rhetorical intersections of these changing fields, I seek to explore how emerging scientific discourse influenced emerging democratic discourse and how the eighteenth-century intersections these two discourses shaped ethics of democratic citizenship that influence our ethics today. To this end, I am specifically interested in studying rhetoric within four contexts: the early Royal Society, scientific culture in early America, eighteenth-century political theory, and eighteenth-century educational theory.

Garrett Stack

Garrett Stack

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: gstack@andrew.cmu.edu

I received a B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis on Biology from Indiana University and a M.A. in Rhetoric and Writing Studies from San Diego State University. As a result of this varied educational background, my research interests lie in several directions. Currently, I am focusing on environmental rhetoric in all of its various forms and functions, but specifically the ways in which the media portrays humans’ relationship with environment. I hope to apply my research to forms of new media and digital communication in order to better understand how human beings publicly construct themselves in relation to the natural world that they inhabit in a society that is becoming increasingly digital and removed from nature. To me, these areas of study are important, and as environmental awareness and sustainability become increasingly exigent, so too will be the need for analysis in order to better understand our own social and environmental history, and how these ideologies have influenced and continue to affect our decisions for the future.

Susan Tanner

Susan Tanner

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: stanner@andrew.cmu.edu

My research focuses on legal rhetoric and moral philosophy, and includes analyses of political discourse, dialogic models of democracy, and Supreme Court decisions. To this end, I am interested in locating and examining the space within which rhetoric can and/or should operate in a legal communication. Additionally, I am interested in best practices for teaching Legal Research and Writing and Professional Writing. I studied English at Arizona State University, and earned my J.D. from Indiana University, Maurer School of Law.