Language, Writing, and Rhetoric

The Language, Writing, Rhetoric area group brings together leading faculty and students passionate about the research and teaching of the power of language, diverse writing practices, and media forms in academic, public, and professional contexts, past and present. We offer masters and doctoral degrees with concentration in writing studies and rhetoric. The strengths of our program include:

  • A flexible course of study that allows you to cultivate your scholarly interests to fit your professional goals.
  • Nationally renowned faculty committed to student mentoring.
  • Outstanding job placement record for doctoral graduates.
  • Options to teach multiple advanced classes in the new professional writing minor, rhetorical theory, public writing, digital composition, linguistics, and writing center theory.
  • Leadership opportunities to co-direct Academic Writing, Professional Writing, and the Writing Center with faculty.
  • Options for interdisciplinary research and collaboration on digital humanities, comparative study, and critical theory through the Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and the Center for Comparative Literary Studies.
  • Opportunity to participate in ChelonaRSA, the Maryland chapter of Rhetoric Society of America. 

In particular, our program features award-winning faculty with expertise in

  • Histories & theories of rhetoric
  • Women’s rhetoric & historiography
  • Composition theory and pedagogy
  • Qualitative research
  • Professional writing
  • Language policy studies
  • Comparative global rhetoric
  • Linguistics: semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis
  • Usage-based grammatical theory
  • Stylistics
  • Genre theory
  • Multimodality and digital media
  • Writing center studies

Beyond our faculty’s areas of expertise, students can pursue cross-disciplinary studies from Information Studies; Communication; Education; Women’s Studies; African American Studies; Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies; and other relevant departments.

Our graduate students pursue research on wide ranging topics:

  • Composition theory, the Teaching of Writing, Writing Center Pedagogy
  • Business communication and workplace writing
  • Rhetoric of social movements and genre theory
  • Women's rhetoric and feminist methodologies 
  • Emotions and persuasion in rhetorical theory, stylistics, and linguistics
  • Teaching multilingual writers and second language acquisition
  • Visual rhetoric and iconography
  • Disability studies and digital media
  • Social media and persuasion 

The program also offers a lively guest speaker series. Recent speakers include Andrea Lunsford, Nan Johnson, Amy Wan, Vershawn Ashanti Young, Jay Dolmage, Kate Vieira, Patricia Bizzell, Jody Shipka, Doug Eyman, Bruce Horner, Joseph Harris, and Jeffrey Walker. 

For more details about the strengths of our program and graduate students, please download our PDF icon program flyer for 2019-2020.

Our Faculty

Faculty Bookshelf

Editor,Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming
The MIT Press,2016
Author,Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing
Harvard University Press,2016
,Rhetoric and Rhythm in Byzantium
Cambridge University Press,2013
Co-Editor ,Burke in the Archives: Using the Past to Transform the Future of Burkean Studies (Studies in Rhetoric/Communication)
University of South Carolina Press,2013
,Shaping Language Policy in the U.S.: The Role of Composition Studies
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press,2013
,Conversational Rhetoric: The Rise and Fall of a Women's Tradition, 1600-1900
Southern Illinois University Press,2011
,Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion
Oxford University Press,2011
,The Grammar of Polarity: Pragmatics, Sensitivity, and the Logic of Scales
Cambridge University Press,2011
,Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections
Council on Library and Information Resources,2010
,Liberating Language: Sites of Rhetorical Education in Nineteenth-Century Black America
Southern Illinois University Press,2008
,Refiguring Rhetorical Education: Women Teaching African American, Native American, and Chicano/a Students, 1865-1911
Southern Illinois University Press,2008
,Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
MIT Press,2007
Co-Editor and Co-Translator,Selected Letters, Orations, and Rhetorical Dialogues of Madeleine de Scudery
University of Chicago Press,2004
,A Rhetoric of Argument, 3rd Edition
Random House,2003
,Rhetorical Figures in Science
Oxford University Press,2002
editor,Rhetorical Theory by Women before 1900: An Anthology
Rowman & Littlefield,2002
Co-editor,Women, Writing, and the Reproduction of Culture in Tudor and Stuart Britain
Syracuse University Press,2000
,"We Are Coming": The Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women
Southern Illinois University Press,1999
,Frankenstein's Daughters: Women Writing Science Fiction
Syracuse University Press,1997
Editor,With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women
Southern Illinois University Press,1995
Co-editor,Utopian and Science Fiction by Women: Worlds of Difference
Syracuse University Press,1994

Graduate Courses 2019-2020

   Fall 2019

  • Approaches to College Composition, Professor Jess Enoch
  • Seminar in Modern Rhetorical Theory, Professor Scott Wible

   Spring 2020

  • Feminist Rhetorics, Professor Jessica Enoch 
  • Approaches to College Composition, Professor Scott Wible

Upcoming Events

Recent Job Placement

Our program has a strong job placement record for doctoral graduates. Each year we offer job search preparation workshops and extensive mentoring to help candidates enter the academic market with confidence. Here is our most recent placement information:

  • 2018 Ruth Osorio, Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University 
  • 2017 Elizabeth Miller, Assistant Professor, Mississippi State University
  • 2015 Heather Lindenman, Assistant Professor, Elon University
  • 2014 Martin Camper, Assistant Professor, Loyola University, Baltimore
  • 2014 Mark Hoffman, Director of Communications, High Lantern Consulting Group
  • 2013 Andrew Black, Assistant Professor, Murray State University
  • 2012 Maria Gigante, Assistant Professor, Western Michigan University


Undergraduate Writing Programs

The Professional Writing Minor

The Rhetoric Minor

The Writing Center

The Academic Writing Program (English 101, 101X, 101H, College Park Scholars; First Year Focus)

The Professional Writing Program (English 390-395 and 398)