Research in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures

WRAC is a home of and hub for cutting-edge scholarship in rhetoric and writing studies. Faculty engage projects that result in conference presentations, article publications, webtext production, documentary film, books, and more.
Our collective scholarship addresses issues that span the broad work of the discipline, and addresses issues related to cultural rhetorics, digital rhetorics, writing studies and pedagogy, visual rhetorics, experience architecture, professional and technical communication, the history and theory of rhetoric, and more.

WRAC is the home of the Journal of Global Literacies, Emerging Pedagogies, and Technologies, edited by co-founder Professor Marohang Limbu, and constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space, edited by Professor Alex Hidalgo.

Professor Kate Birdsall directs The Cube: Publishing Process Praxis, a publishing space that supports a range of research-related activities anchored by a commitment to community and equity. The Cube currently supports a monthly magazine, a literary quarterly, several scholarly journals, a community of feminist filmmakers, a collaborative fandom, book and monograph production, web design, and experiential learning.

WRAC faculty and students participate in research clusters that run with department support and include a Multimodal Research Collective, the Queer Theory Playground, and a Soundwriting Collaborative.

Faculty in WRAC participate in and collaborate with a range of other research centers, spaces, and initiatives at MSU, including the Center for Interdisciplinarity (C4I), Digital Humanities, the HUB, the Center for Gender in a Global Context (GenCen), MATRIX, the Writing Center, and others.

We’ve included below some recent highlights and accomplishments. For more details about faculty projects, please feel free to explore the bio pages of our faculty at wrac.msu.edu/faculty

Recent Faculty Research Projects

Kristin Arola

  • National Science Foundation. $973,701. Growing Convergence Research. A Convergent Discipline in Socio-Technological System Transitions–Research on Michigan Community & Anishinaabe Renewable Energy Sovereignty (2019-2024). Doug Bessette (PI), Laura Schmitt-Olabisi, Kristin Arola, and Christie M. Poitra. 

Christina Boyles

  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. $325,000. Archivo de Respuestas Emergencias de Puerto Rico/Emergency Response Archive of Puerto Rico (2020-2023). Nadjah Ríos Villarini, Mirerza González Vélez, Ricia Chansky, Valeria Fernandez Gonzalez, Andy Boyles Petersen, Robin Dean, and Elisa Landaverde. 

Nancy DeJoy

  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. $3,074,000. Creativity in the Time of Covid-19: Art as a Tool for Equity and Social Justice (2021-2023). Co-PIs: Julian Chambliss and Natalie Phillips.

Recent Faculty Research Awards

Bill Hart-Davidson, Liza Potts, and Jeff Grabill

  • 2020 Diana Award presented to Liza Potts, William Hart-Davidson, and Jeff Grabill by the Association of Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (ACM SIGDOC). The Diana award recognizes “an organization, institution, or business for its long-term contribution to the field of communication design.”

Natasha Jones

  • Natasha Jones’s co-authored book Technical Communication After the Social Justice Turn: Building Coalitions for Action won the 2020 award for Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). 

Recent Faculty Research Publications

Christina Boyles (with Kyle Fields):
“Resilience, Recovery, and Refusal: The (Un)tellable Narratives of post-Maria Puerto Rico.”
enculturation, 32 (Fall 2020):
http://enculturation.net/resilience-recovery-refusal  

Ann Burke: “What Does it Mean to Be Prepared for College-Level Writing?: Examining how college-bound students are influenced by institutional representations of preparedness and college-level writing.”
Teaching/Writing: The Journal of Writing Teacher Education, 7 (2019):
https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/wte/vol7/iss1/6

Bill Hart-Davidson and Ben Lauren:
“Sight, Sound, and Practice: An Exploration of the Ways Visualizations Can Support Learning to Compose.”
Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, & Pedagogy, 25 (2020): 
http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/25.1/topoi/lauren-hart-davidson/index.html

WPA logo with a hand holding a pen and the text Council of Writing Program Administrators

Trixie Smith (with Will Banks, Michael Faris, Collie Fulford, Timothy Oleksiak, Pat Patterson): “Writing Program Administration: A Queer Symposium.”
WPA Journal, 43 (Spring 2020).

Book Cover for Explanation Points: publishing in rhetoric and composition. Edited by John R. Gallagher and Danielle Nicole DeVoss

Dànielle Nicole DeVoss (with John Gallagher): Explanation Points: Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition. University Press of Colorado/Utah State University Press, 2019.

Features contributions by WRAC faculty and alums including Doug Eyman, Laura Gonzales, Jeffrey T. Grabill, Bump Halbritter, Julie Lindquist, Katie Manthey, Staci Perryman-Clark, Jacqueline Rhodes, Jim Ridolfo, and Trixie Long Smith.

Rainbow book cover with the title Storytelling in Queer Appalachia: imagining and writing the unspeakable other

Hillery Glasby (with Sherrie Gradin and Racheal Ryerson). Storytelling in Queer Appalachia: Imagining and Writing the “Unspeakable” Other. West Virginia University Press, 2020.

How Stories Teach Us: Composition, Life Writing, and Blended Scholarship book cover with a pencil drawing a line

Bump Halbritter and Julie Lindquist,
“Collecting and Coding Synecdochic Selves: Identifying Learning Across Life-Writing Texts.”
In Amy Robillard and D. Shane Combs (Eds.), The Pedagogical Potential of Story: Life Writing, Composition, and Blended Scholarship. Peter Lang Press, 2019. 47–75.

Book Cover with upraised fists and one holding a flaming match. Title: Technical Communication After the Social Justice Turn

Natasha Jones (with Rebecca Walton and Kristen Moore). Technical Communication After the Social Justice Turn: Building Coalitions for Action. Routledge, 2019.

Book cover for Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic, with an image of a green field bordered by trees

Casey McArdle (with Jessie Borgman)
Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors. WAC Clearinghouse, 2019. 

PARS in Practice: More Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors.
WAC Clearinghouse, 2021.