Carnegie Mellon University

Ryan Mitchell

Ryan Mitchell

Ph.D. Student

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


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.