Ryan Skinnell is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing and an Assistant Writing Program Administrator in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San José State University. He was previously a faculty member in the Department of English at the University of North Texas. He earned a PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics from Arizona State University in 2011 and an MA in English with distinction and a specialization in Rhetoric & Composition Theory from California State University, Northridge in 2007.
Dr. Skinnell’s first book was about the history of writing instruction in American higher education. Since 2015, his research has focused primarily on political rhetoric and public discourse, especially as they relate to authoritarianism, demagoguery, and extremism. He is currently writing a book about Hitler’s rhetoric.
Dr. Skinnell teaches rhetoric and writing at all levels of higher education and coordinates the SJSU English Department’s Teaching Associate program. In 2014, he taught a faculty research seminar in Islamabad, Pakistan as part of a U.S. State Department Public Diplomacy Program, and in 2021 co-facilitated a Rhetoric Society of America Summer Seminar, called “Rhetoric in Dark Times.” Dr. Skinnell is the former review editor for Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society, a founding scholar of the Independent Critical Thinking & Writing Co., and a regular external reviewer for Pakistani doctoral candidates. He has won multiple awards for his research and teaching, and the Young Rhetoricians’ Conference named him “2021 Rhetorician of the Year.”