PhD, Waterloo Ontario
Office: HH 257
Born in balmy Winnipeg and wandering about, not quite aimlessly, ever since, I’ve been compulsively peripatetic—geographically, occupationally, and intellectually. As an anatomy lab instructor, I’ve haunted the halls of the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre morgue. As a public school teacher in Nunavut, I’ve had polar bear for breakfast. As a technical communicator, I’ve worked in web and document design and dabbled in Perl, shell scripts, and the now-obsolete ObjectStar database inquiry language. And, as an instructor at a number of postsecondary institutions, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching everything from rhetorical theory to comics studies to literary non-fiction.
I completed my PhD in English at the University of Waterloo, specializing in rhetorical theory (particularly intercultural and cross-cultural rhetoric) and American literature. I also have research and teaching interests in cross-cultural communication, professional writing, nonfiction prose studies, and visual rhetoric, including graphic narratives. I taught rhetoric and American literature for seven years at Laurentian University, and I’m now delighted to be back at Waterloo teaching rhetoric and professional writing courses and coordinating and developing the department’s graduate teaching assistants. I'm the current president of RhetCanada, the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric.
- "Rhetoric and the Reluctant Postnationalist." Rhetor 8.1 (2021): n. pag. Web.
- “Breaking Quarantine: Image, Text, and Disease in Black Hole, Epileptic, and Our Cancer Year.” ImageText 7.2 (2014): n. pag. Web.
- “Identity, Narrative, and the Construction of the Rhetorical Situation in Euro-American and Aboriginal Cultures.” Rhetor 4 (2011): 1-21.
- “Moving Stillness, Expressive Silence: Reframing the Semiotic Resources of the Comics Medium.” Proceedings of the Queen City Comics Conference. 2 May 2009. Regina: University of Regina, 2011. 1-9.
- “Dialogue with Raven: Bakhtinian Theory and Lee Maracle’s Ravensong.” Studies in Canadian Literature 28.1 (2003): 109-31.
Fellowships & Awards
- Outstanding Performance Award, Faculty of Arts (2020, 2017)
- Arts Award for Excellence in Teaching (2019)
- Outstanding Academic Achievement by a Graduate Student in a Doctoral Program (Waterloo, 2006)
- SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2000-2003)
- Beltz Essay Prize (2000)
- University of Waterloo Endowment Scholarship (1999-2004)
- Ontario Graduate Scholarship (1999)
Currently I’m studying non-standard modes of technical communication, especially the use of comics and informal or narrative-based discourse in procedural or explanatory texts. I’m also researching how online writing labs can be best designed to support online, hybrid, and in-class writing-based courses. Finally, I’m interested in how general systems theory might be related to rhetorical practice, and in particular how classical topoi might be considered from a systems perspective.
- Rhetorical theory and history
- Professional and technical communication
- Visual rhetoric
- Composition theory
- Non-fiction prose studies (particularly American writers)
- Graphic narratives
- American literature