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

Alden et al cover 3b   RSQ Cover   71157100285400L

bureaucracy cover   Conceding_Composition cover   wwwwk cover

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


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, and 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. Logan, UT: Utah State UP (2019): 69-82.

“Coming to Terms with the Inevitability of Epic Failure, or Once More unto the Breach.” Explanation Points: Publishing in Rhetoric & Composition. Ed. John Gallagher & Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. Logan, UT: Utah State UP (2019): 229-232.

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.

(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

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