Writing & Research

Research Interests

My current research investigates public discourse in contemporary American politics, especially as it relates to authoritarian, demagogic, and extremist rhetoric. I also write about bureaucracy, institutional rhetoric, histories of rhetoric and writing (particularly in higher education), and historiography and archives.

Books & Edited Special Issues

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Current Projects

Co-editor (with Lydia Wilkes and Nathan Kreuter), essay collection: Rhetoric and Guns

Rhetoric and Guns explores rhetoric in the contexts of gun violence, legislation, culture, media, history, and education. Guns and gun violence occupy a unique rhetorical space in the 21st century United States, one characterized by silent majorities (such as most gun owners), vocal minorities (such as the firearm industry and lobby), and a stalemate that fails to stem the tide of the dead.

Recent Publications


Rhetoric’s Demagogue | Demagoguery’s Rhetoric. Edited by Ryan Skinnell & Jillian Murphy. Special Issue of Rhetoric Society Quarterly 49.3 (2019).

Using Democracy Against Itself: Demagogic Rhetoric as the Undermining of Democratic Institutions.” Rhetoric’s Demagogue | Demagoguery’s Rhetoric. Special issue of Rhetoric Society Quarterly 49.3 (2019): 248-63.

“Reconciling Texas; or Inventing (a) Place Out of Place.” Inventing Place: Writing Lone Star Rhetorics. Ed. Jenny Rice and Casey Boyle. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP (2018): 139-49.

“Setting Out for Serendip: Of Research Quests and Chance Discoveries.” Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, and Literacy Research. Ed. Maureen Daly Goggin and Peter Goggin. Logan, UT: Utah State UP (2018): 117-28.

(for more)


You Might Think It’s Okay, But I Don’t: Tracing Symploce in Democrats’ Response to the Mueller Report.” Citizen Critics, 29 Mar. 2019.

All Together Now: Consubstantiality in the Controversy around a Native Elder and a #MAGA Hat-Clad Teen in D.C.Citizen Critics, 5 Feb. 2019.

Effectiveness, Backlash, and Collateral Damage in #MeToo’s Media Campaign.” Media Ethics 30.1, 11. Dec. 2018.

The Rhetoric of ‘Outside Agitators’ Has a Troubling Past We Can’t Ignore.” Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, 2 Dec. 2018.

(for more)

Recent Media

A Tale of Two Demagogues: An Interview with Ryan Skinnell and Jennifer Mercieca.” Rhetorically Speaking podcast, 5/1/2019

Trumped-Up Rhetoric: An Interview with Ryan Skinnell.” Rhetoricity podcast, 1/28/2019

“¿Por Qué AMLO (Todavía) Puede Decir Lo Que Quiera Sin Pagar el Costo?,” Letras Libras, 9/20/2018

Dictionary.com: Noun. Oakland Company, Master of Trolling Trump et al.,” San Jose Mercury-News, 7/4/2018

SJSU Prof Takes on Trump in ‘Faking the News’,” Silicon Valley Metro, 5/23/2018

Faking the News,” ASU Now, Arizona State University, 5/2018