Public Writing

Rhetoric and citizenship have always informed one another, but in the last century, rhetoricians have often ended up writing primarily for academic audiences. There are good reasons for this, but I’m increasingly interested in rhetoric’s connections to citizenship beyond the academy. And I am increasingly committed to connecting my scholarly work to public interests. This includes trying to write/speak for public audiences, engaging in public advocacy & social justice work, and popularizing rhetorical research. My goal, ultimately, is to facilitate connections between rhetoric & the citizens it’s supposed to serve.


71157100285400L.jpgCollection: Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. Trump (Societas Books, 2018)

Donald J. Trump’s speaking and writing invite passionate reactions — maybe he’s a bluecollar, billionaire hero who speaks the language of the common man or maybe he’s a gleefully illiterate, tremendously unqualified idiot. Whatever the case, he was persuasive enough to get himself elected President of the United States and he’s been persuasive enough to keep a majority of his supporters behind him. In Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. Trump, eleven prominent rhetoric experts explain how Trump’s persuasive language works. Faking the News is written for readers who may not know anything about rhetoric, so each chapter explains a feature of rhetoric and uses that lens to illuminate Trump’s rhetorical accomplishments. Specifically, about how he has used and still uses language, symbols, and even style to appeal to the people in his various audiences. (For more information:

9781680400311-cover Collection: Bureaucracy: A Love Story. Edited by Gabriel Cervantes, Dahlia Porter, Ryan Skinnell, and Kelly Wisecup  (Aquiline Books, 2018)

Bureaucracy usually only becomes visible when it stops working—when a system fails, when an event gets off schedule, when someone points to a problem or glitch in a carefully calibrated workflow. But Bureaucracy: A Love Story draws together research done by scholars and students in the Special Collections at the University of North Texas to illuminate how bureaucracy structures our contemporary lives across a range of domains. People have navigated bureaucracy for centuries, by creating and utilizing various literary and rhetorical forms—from indexes to alphabetization to diagrams to blanks—that made it possible to efficiently process large amounts of information. Contemporary bureaucracy is likewise concerned with how to collect and store information, to circulate it efficiently, and to allow for easy access. We are interested both in the conventional definition of bureaucracy as a form of ordering and control connected to institutions and the state, but we also want to uncover how people interacted—often in creative ways—with the material forms of bureaucracy.


Is Brett Kavanaugh a ‘Good Man’? Does It Matter?Daily Doublespeak, 25 Sept. 2018.

What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. TrumpThe Academic Minute. AAC&U & WAMC Northeast Public Radio. 23 May 2018.

“What Passes for Truth in the Trump Era: Telling It Like It Isn’t.” Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. Trump. Ed. Ryan Skinnell. Exeter, UK: Societas (2018): 76-94.

Donald Trump and the Rhetoric of Honest Lying.” Citizen Critics, 01 May 2018.

Making Spaces for Diverse Writing Practice” with Cindy Baer. Literacy & NCTE: The Official Blog of the National Council of Teachers of English. NCTE. 17 Dec. 2016

The Timeless Wisdom of a Plagiarized Convention Speech.” The University Press of Colorado Blog. University Press of Colorado. 25 Oct. 2016.

Why It Is Worth Reconsidering the Common Sense about Bureaucracy.” The University Press of Colorado Blog. University Press of Colorado. 08 Jun. 2016.

Why Donald Trump’s Promises of Disaster Might be Part of His Appeal.” Ten Miles Square. The Washington Monthly. 31 Mar. 2016.

Why Studying Writing Matters.” International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities. National University of Modern Languages-Islamabad, via video. (Oct. 2015)

Bureaucracy: A Love Story.” Special exhibit co-curated with Gabriel Cervantes, Dahlia Porter, & Kelly Wisecup. UNT Rare Books & Archives, January 15-May 20, 2015.

Airlines’ Request for More Info Not Worth Our Time.” Daily Sundial. 18 May 2005: 10.

Religious Right Gains Power—Unfortunately Uses It.” Daily Sundial. 19 Apr. 2005: 10. Rpt. in The African-American Resource Guide. (2005): 5-7. 23 Sept. 2007.

College Study Abroad Boycott Misguided.” Daily Sundial. 15 Mar. 2005: 10.

America’s Brand New Enemy: Merry Ole’ England.” Daily Sundial. 28 Feb. 2005: 11.

“Rice’s ‘Diplomatic’ Past Will Affect America’s Future.” Daily Sundial. 15 Feb. 2005: 10.


Interview with Sarah Snyder. “Spotlight on Alumni: Ryan Skinnell.” Arizona State University Writing Notes. Spring 2018.

Interview with Joel Heng Hartse for the Language U podcast: “Episode 4: Conceding Composition with Ryan Skinnell.” Feb. 24, 2017.

Three Questions with Ryan Skinnell, Assistant Professor at San José State University.” Unique Collections at UNT Libraries. University Libraries, University of North Texas. Nov. 19, 2015.

“An Interview with Dr. Ryan Skinnell, by Khadija Maleeha, Urooj Sheeza, & Zirwa Gulzar.” Rawal Chronicle, 2013-2014. Government Post Graduate College for Women, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. (Jun. 20, 2014): 12-8.

IN THE MEDIA/NEWS 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

UNT exhibit explores bureaucracy in everyday life,” Lewisville Leader, 3/12/2015