I’m an assistant professor of rhetoric in the department of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State, where I teach courses in rhetorical theory, archival methods, and LGBTQA public address. I also serve as an associate director of the Center for Humanities & Information. My interdisciplinary scholarship bridges rhetoric, archives and information, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
My first book, Queering Romantic Engagement in the Postal Age: A Rhetorical Education, is a queer history of instruction in epistolary rhetoric (forthcoming with the University of South Carolina Press in 2019). Early research for the book led to the publication of “Queering ‘the language of the heart’: Romantic Letters, Genre Instruction, and Rhetorical Practice” in Rhetoric Society Quarterly; this essay was selected for the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2015 Charles Kneupper Award.
Archival research is in process for my second book project, which examines how the same-sex romantic friendships of women teachers enabled their civic contributions during the long nineteenth century. In the first essay drawn from this project, I focus on Caroline F. Putnam, whose relationship with Sallie Holley facilitated their rhetorical work first as abolitionists and later as freedmen’s teachers.
Published in Advances in the History of Rhetoric, this essay establishes the Holley School (1868-1917) as an important site of African-American rhetorical education. Like countless other freedmen’s teachers, Putnam moved south after the war to teach formerly enslaved African Americans. Her educational work was remarkable, however, in that she taught rhetoric in service of racial justice and continued this work for almost fifty years. I argue that she was able to sustain the Holley School through epistolary relations cultivated to persuade others to join in educating freedmen as well as support the school through donations.
Also in my scholarship, I explore the rhetorical and pedagogical dimensions of digital archives and information. Along with the essays mentioned above, my work has appeared in College Composition and Communication, College English, Journal of Basic Writing, Peitho, College Composition and Communication, and Rhetoric Review.
My full CV is available here.