Kathleen McConnell

Kathleen McConnell

Associate Professor of Rhetorical Studies
Department of Communication Studies

I teach communication theory, rhetorical criticism, writing, and gender studies, and am the course coordinator for COMM 100W: Writing for Influence and COMM 41: Critical Decision Making. My courses, all of which build skills in writing and argumentation, are a good match for students interested in public policy work, social advocacy, cultural criticism, and education.

My scholarship explores the relationship between universities and invention. Joining others who have conceptualized higher education as a rhetorical practice, I extend an analogy between the rhetorical situation and the university to show how educational institutions prompt us to think in terms of situations and help us to practice situated invention. Arguing by analogy, I critique the reform efforts underway that threaten to consolidate resources at fewer institutions and erase differences between schools. Those efforts promise to dull the situational properties of universities and will deepen educational inequities by reducing the number of students who have the opportunity to navigate the uncertainties and impermanency of inquiry. 

I have written several essays about the university and invention including “Imbalances and Inequities: The Structure of Inquiry and Its Place in Rhetorical Studies,” (Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 2015), and "In Appreciation of the Kind of Rhetoric We Learn in School," (Quarterly Journal of Speech, 2010) and am working on a book-length ethnographic study of invention at two regional public universities.

In a second project, I draw on a queer ethics to re-imagine the conventions that govern academic life. The project began with the essay “Connective Tissue, Critical Ties: Academic Collaboration as a Form and Ethics of Kinship” (Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, 2012) and continues in the essay "Fear of Etiolation in the Age of Professional Passion" (Text & Performance Quarterly, 2018).

Ph.D., Rhetoric and Public Culture, Indiana University (2008)
M.A., Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University (2003)
B.A., The Evergreen State College (1997)


Preferred: kathleen.mcconnell@sjsu.edu


Preferred: (408) 924-5374