Research

    I like words. I value the structure and evolution of language and the creative use of vocabulary. I appreciate the stylistic artistry of words. I enjoy observing how they interact.  I marvel at how the right turn of phrase can inspire, assuage fears, ease pain and make beautiful. Of course, words can also mislead, confuse, or perpetuate atrocity. Therefore, I also respect language.

    I value the clarity that a well thought out, reasoned argument can bring to a conversation. I believe that language must be understood as among the most important aspects of our humanity and should not be censored, redefined, diminished, or dismissed. I think that a stale, homogenous cultural vocabulary is boring and unnecessary.

    For the reasons above, my research centers on rhetoric. I am fascinated that rhetoric reigns among the oldest of academic pursuits.  Important figures over thousands of years have written about rhetoric, or studied it in their own education. Yet, sadly, in contemporary times, the term has become imbued with nefarious connotations as political language is dismissed as "mere rhetoric" meant to deceive the masses. Therefore, one long-term goal of my research is to help rectify rhetoric from these negative associations.

    I strive to make my research relevant in order that it may contribute, in some small way, to a better form of democratized societal deliberation. I conduct ethical research meant to generate a broader, more engaged, more capable and more intellectually-agile citizenry. I believe these concepts rank among the foundational and defining aspects of the liberal arts, and should be at the core of every rhetorically-based research project. These are the concepts that reside at the center of my own research motivations.

    As a broad goal, I seek the engagement of argument. I believe our society has become overly dichotomous.  Self-assured, stubbornly dogmatic opinions pervade every corner of our culture. In the name of civility, spaces traditionally open to robust debate are being silenced. Consequently, rhetoric suffers; a fate which I believe has dire consequences for the continuation of a healthy democracy.  I strive to break the habit of thinking of "the other side" as somehow unworthy of attention, and therefore easily dismissed. For the above reasons, through my research, I try to gain understanding into how we reached this point, and how engagement might be better encouraged in the civic realm.

    Finally, I believe that research should inform teaching. I believe that discoveries which come from research have greatest effect when manifested in the classroom. Thus, I try to glean examples, ideas, concepts and lessons from my study in order that my pedagogical effectiveness might increase. 

    As I progress in my career, I intend to continue researching in these areas. I believe doing will provide lessons which are applicable to contemporary discourse and will benefit my teaching to the same ends.

    For information on my teaching, please click on here.

    To access some research sources that have proven valuable to me, click here.