Associate Professor

Photo of Michael MacDonald

PhD, California, Berkeley
MA, California, Berkeley
MA, British Columbia
BA, British Columbia

Extension: 32448
Office: HH 256
Email:
m2macdon@uwaterloo.ca

Biography

I began my academic career studying English Literature in the undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of British Columbia, where I wrote my thesis on the poetics and theology of Gerard Manley Hopkins. To pursue my interest in rhetorical theory I then enrolled in the Department of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. Under the supervision of Judith Butler, Frederick Dolan, and Avital Ronell, I wrote my dissertation on the role of rhetoric in the work of Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Emmanuel Lévinas, and Michel Foucault. In 1995 I took a position in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I taught courses in the Program in Language, Literacy and Rhetoric. I arrived at the University of Waterloo in 2001. It has been a pleasure to watch the program evolve into one of the preeminent rhetoric programs in North America. My research focuses on the history and theory of rhetoric, media studies (especially propaganda and media war), and rhetoric and philosophy.

Selected publications

“‘A Feast of Languages’: Shakespeare and Ancient Rhetoric.” Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Ancient Rhetoric. Edited by Mike Edwards, Sophia Papaioannou, and Andreas Serafim. 2018.

The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies. Oxford University Press, 2017. Editor and contributor. 60 commissioned essays.

“Empire of Rhetoric.” The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies. Oxford University Press, 2017.

“’Strenuous Magic’:  Shakespeare and the Arts of Persuasion.” The Blackwell Companion to British Literature, volume II, ed. Robert de Maria, 2013.

“Black Logos: Rhetoric and Information Warfare.” Literature, Rhetoric, and Values.  Eds. R. Harris, S. Hulan, M. McArthur. Cambridge Scholar’s Press, 2012.

“Martial McLuhan II: The Military is the Massage.” Enculturation:  A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture and Writing 14, 2012.

“Martial McLuhan I: Framing Information Warfare.” Enculturation:  A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture and Writing 12, 2011. Special issue on Marshall McLuhan at 100, eds. David Beard and Kevin Brooks.

“Encomium of Hegel.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 35.1 (2006).

“’Phantom Wisdom’: Kant’s Transcendental Sophistry.” Between Terror and Freedom:  Philosophy, Literature and Political Theory Look at Modernity. Eds. Frederick M. Dolan and Simona Goi.  Lexington Books (Rowman and Littlefield Press), 2006. 

“Empire and Communication: The Media Wars of Marshall McLuhan.” Media, Culture & Society 28.4 (2006).

“Losing Spirit: Hegel, Lévinas and the Limits of Narrative.” Narrative 13.2 (2005).

“Empire and Simulation”: review of Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, by Friedrich Kittler. The Review of Communication 3.1 (2003): 81–9.

“The Odyssey of Hegel.”  The Canadian Journal of Rhetorical Studies/La revue Canadienne d'etudes rhetorique 11 (2000). 

Review of Plato’s Sophist, by Martin Heidegger. Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 18.1 (2000): 103–6.

“The Speech of Diotima:  Luce Irigaray and the Rhetoric of Sexual Difference.”  The Canadian Journal of Rhetorical Studies/La revue Canadienne d'etudes rhetorique 8 (1997).

“Rigorous Mortis:  Allegory and the End of Hermeneutics.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 28.2 (1995).

“The Law of the Letter in Saint Augustine and Paul de Man.”  The Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/La revue Canadienne de literature comparée, 1991.

“’Jewgreek and Greekjew’:  The Concept of the Trace in Derrida and Lévinas.”  Philosophy Today 35.3 (1991).

Review of The Telephone Book: Technology Schizophrenia Electric Speech, by Avital Ronell. SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism 64.1 (1991): 93­–7.

Grants, fellowships and awards

  • Robert Harding and Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Award 2018 
  • Distinguished Teacher Award 2015
  • Outstanding Faculty Performance Award 2015
  • Excellence in Arts Teaching Award 2014
  • UW-Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 4A Award 2011
  • Outstanding Faculty Performance Award, 2010
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Seed Grant

  • Institute for the Humanities Faculty Research Fellowship, the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of California Humanities Research Institute Fellowship
  • International Society for the Study of Narrative “Best Essay in Narrative” award
  • American Society for the History of Rhetoric “Top Competitive Paper” Award
  • American Committee for the Advancement of Early Studies "Novus” Award
  • Teaching Recognition Award, the Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Finalist, Silver Circle Award for Teaching Excellence, the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Outstanding Student Instructor Award, University of California at Berkeley
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship
  • John H. Wheeler and Elliot H. Wheeler Doctoral Fellowship, University of California at Berkeley

Current research

My current research focuses on two areas of inquiry. First, I am interested in the history and theory of rhetoric, particularly ancient Greek sophistry and its historical legacy. I am presently working on a book that examines the impact of sophistic thought on modern German philosophy (Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger) and contemporary French philosophy (Deleuze, Lacan, Lyotard, and Irigaray). And second, I am interested in modern rhetorical theory, particularly as it relates to mass media, propaganda, and information warfare.

Areas of graduate supervision

  • History and theory of rhetoric
  • Media studies
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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