I received my Ph.D in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English from the University of Arizona in 2009, and am an associate professor in the Writing Arts department here at Rowan University.
I pursue two intersecting trajectories within the field of rhetoric and writing studies. One trajectory explores the practices of rhetorical/ontological inquiry, its implementation in the development of curricula in higher education, and the role such inquiry plays in transforming understanding of the self and the world, as well as the impact of such transformations on what it means to be in the world rhetorically.
Another trajectory explores the history of the intersections of rhetoric and philosophy, and in particular, Nietzsche’s rhetorical appropriation of Schopenhauer, and the uses and abuses to which the younger subjects the elder philosopher’s corpus. Where both trajectories intersect is in the domain of rhetorical figures of speech and thought, including tropes and schemes, and the degree to which language as figural and performative (that is, constitutive) disrupts the Cartesian subject by calling into question the dominant set of practices that reinforce language as transparent (whether abstract or concrete).
Articles and book chapters
My first publication, "Computer Gameplay as Grunt and Reflection," came out in the journal Works and Days (43/44, Vol 23) in 2004, the special issue Capitalizing on Play: the Politics of Computer Gaming. In this article I examine how computer game players undergo a sequence of transformations through encountering the spaces a computer game arranges. I argue that games provide a useful site of inquiry because they act as a mirror to the player who seeks to meet the procedural requirements of the virtual world.
My second publication is a co-written article (with Sharon McKenzie Stevens) that appears in the online journal Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, issue 15.1 (fall 2010). In "Re-articulating the Mission and Work of Writing Programs with Digital Video," Stevens and I examine how using digital video to help students identify themselves as college writers may also serve to effectively represent the work of writing programs to the university community.
The following two pieces of writing are companion pieces. I aim to revise these into a book-length manuscript that will concern the possibility of articulating the value of rhetorical education within general education, as well as within standalone writing programs.
In "The Risk of Rhetorical Inquiry: Practical Conditions for a Disruptive Pedagogy," in the book Disrupting Pedagogies and Teaching the Knowledge Society: Countering Conservative Norms with Creative Approaches (Ed. Julie Faulkner. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2011: 225-241), I provide a theoretical outline for a practice of rhetorical inquiry in the college writing classroom, and focus on three conditions that permit this inquiry to enact what Megan Boler calls a “pedagogy of discomfort." The first condition calls for pedagogues to amplify the performative dimension of language to disrupt what Dewey terms the “quest for certainty.” Second, students and teachers work to reconfigure their current perspectives through undergoing dialogic encounters between incongruous perspectives. Third, these performative and dialogic encounters must reiterate with increasing complexity and within increasingly unfamiliar and complex contexts.
In "Cutting the Edge of the Will to Truth; Or How Post-Process Pedagogy is Biting its Own Tail" (JAC: Rhetoric, Writing, Culture, Politics, 32.1-22012: 145-184), I work to distinguish a common value historically operative within both process and post-process composition pedagogies, namely, the pedagogic commitment to cultivate rhetorically intelligent subjectivities, that is, subjectivities willing to risk participating in the making of history in various social domains, including the personal, professional, academic, and civic. Central to the argument is distinguishing the will to truth as a dominant drive that relentlessly seeks to reduce the irreducible into transmissible content. I argue that the performative dimension of language games may serve to include the will to truth in order to move beyond it, while at the same time avoiding the trap of falling into interminable critiques of power that preclude active participation in historical development.
In "Nietzsche's Teacher; the Invisible Rhetor" (Rhetoric Review. 32.4. 2013), I take Friedrich Nietzsche’s iconic stature within the field of rhetoric and writing studies as a starting point, and from there I work to reveal how a few key scholars, in overlooking Arthur Schopenhauer as an important figure in Nietzsche’s rhetorical education, failed to account for Nietzsche’s so-called “original” insights into the rhetoricity of language expressed within the oft-cited fragmentary essay “Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense.” I argue that beyond the more obvious appropriations, Nietzsche ultimately appropriated Schopenhauer’s central philosophical theory as the rhetorical maneuver in the essay “Truth and Lies.”
As a follow up to "Nietzsche's Teacher: the Invisible Rhetor," and serving as the second part of a trilogy examining the complex rhetorical relationship between Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, "Schopenhauer's Telescope: Tracing the Mind of a Clever Animal," was published in Issue 3 (2020) of the online journal Intraspection. Here I attempt a close reading of Schopenhauer's rhetorical maneuvers as they appear in Nietzsche's unpublished essay "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral sense," which itself serves as both a stylistic homage to the elder philosopher and an effort to escape from the debt Nietzsche owed to his educator. Reading both together interrogates the rhetorical role philosophical discourse plays in bringing its addressee into “illumination,” while also permitting subtle rhetorical cues to emerge that spell the impossibility of any such illumination--despite cogently argued declarations to the contrary.
Book length projects
Written with Bruce Hyde, Speaking Being: Werner Erhard, Martin Heidegger, and a New Possibility of Being Human (August 2019) provides an unprecedented study of the ideas and methodology originally developed by the thinker Werner Erhard, and presented in a course called The Forum, a course that has since evolved further and is offered today by Landmark Worldwide. The book is a comparative analysis that demonstrates how Erhard’s rhetorical project and the philosophical project of Martin Heidegger each illuminate the other. The central claim is that the dialogue of The Forum—presented here in the form of a transcript of an actual course that took place in San Francisco in December of 1989—functions to generate a language which speaks Being, that is, The Forum is an instance of what is called ontological rhetoric: a technology of communicating the unspoken realm of language that allows its listeners to create a new possibility of being human in the world. The purpose of this book is to show that this is actually accomplished in The Forum, and to demonstrate—with Heidegger’s thinking presented in a series of “Sidebars” and “Intervals” alongside The Forum transcript —how Erhard did it in 1989.
I am currently working with Zachary Hayworth to provide the first English translation of On the Figures of Thought and of Speech (De Figuris Sententiarum et Elocutionis) by the surprisingly neglected rhetorician Rutilius, who wrote under Tiberius in the first century CE. This translation will appear facing the Latin original, together with a critical introduction and extensive commentary that analyzes the rhetorical maneuvers at play in Rutilius’s original presentation of the rhetorical figures. We will also provide historical contextualization that reveals the impact of Rutilius’s work on writers of compendia of rhetorical figures in the centuries after him, ultimately arguing that although Rutilius is a minor Latin author, this text’s role in the formation of the genre of rhetorical figure compendia has been greatly undervalued.
Two related research efforts involve qualitative analysis to reveal what is at work in what I call "pedagogies of transformation." In one project I am working with Dr. Carolyne White of Rutgers (Newark) to explore how the ontological/phenomenological method employed in a course called Being a Leader and Exercising Leadership Effectively serves to disrupt Cartesian subjectivity to allow for the articulation of new possibilities that the certainty of Cartesian subjectivity often constrains.
Performative Style: Figures of Transformation (to be delivered at CCCCs, Pittsburgh PA, March 2019