Writing & Research

Research Interests

My current research investigates political and public discourse, 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


“What Institutional Logics Can Teach Us About Institutional Rhetorics (And Why We Should Care).” Re-inventing Rhetoric Scholarship: Fifty Years of the Rhetoric Society of America. Ed. Roxanne Mountford, Dave Tell, & David Blakesley (Parlor Press, 2020): 162-8.

Good-Faith Argumentation.” 3-week writing course curricular unit. Boston, MA: The Independent Critical Thinking & Writing Co. (2020).

Reinventing (with) Theory in Rhetoric and Writing Studies: Essays in Honor of Sharon Crowley. Ed. Andrea Alden, Kendall Gerdes, Judy Holiday, & Ryan Skinnell (Utah State University Press, 2019)

“Toward a Working Theory of Institutional Rhetorics.” Reinventing (with) Theory in Rhetoric & Writing Studies. Ed. Andrea Alden, Kendall Gerdes, Judy Holiday, & Ryan Skinnell (Utah State University Press, 2019): 69-82.

Rhetoric’s Demagogue | Demagoguery’s Rhetoric. Ed. 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.

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US Riots: Inevitable Reaction to Centuries of Oppression and Injustice.” The Globe Post, 15 Jun. 2020.

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.

(for more)

Recent Media

Episode 18 – Ryan on Fascism Research, Truth, and Rhetoric,” Pass Your Passion podcast, 6/26/2020

Episode 12: Dr. Ryan Skinnell,” The Big Rhetorical podcast, 9/3/2019

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