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This blog, verbosity & romance, is my e-space for all things scholarly, professional, teacherly — and occasionally personal. I serve on the Interdisciplinary Studies faculty at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, where I teach writing, rhetoric, and literature. I hold a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville, where I’ve happily arrived after earning a Master’s in the same field from Miami University, Ohio, and a BA in English from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

My academic/research interests go something like this:

  • Theories and histories of rhetoric, particularly theories of topoi and invention. I’m drawn to classical rhetoric generally, but also Mikhail Bakhtin’s discourse theory, plus the work of Giambattista Vico, Kenneth Burke, Roland Barthes, Wayne Booth, Joseph Priestley, and others.
  • The rhetoric of film. I’m interested in how the movies enact persuasive discourse, and in what happens when we bring film theory into dialogue with rhetorical theory. Using movies to teach rhetoric in the classroom — I like that, too. Have a look at my MA thesis, Toward a Rhetoric of Film, if you’re in the mood.
  • Other things: rhetoric and poetics; multimodal rhetoric; critical theory and cultural studies; writing pedagogy.

I teach writing, rhetoric, and literature at Louisville, as well, and I’m also one of the cofounders and principle organizers of Louisville’s Rhetoric Reading Group. We meet on a roughly monthly basis to eat, drink, and talk rhetorical theory.

A personal life? I have one of those, sometimes. I consider Northport, Michigan — which, others agree with me, is up in the most beautiful part of the country — my hometown, though I was born in Ann Arbor, which I gladly consider my other hometown. I try to abscond up north every summer, and at least once every winter to partake in pond hockey and cold-weather snobbery.

I also play guitar (blues, rock, jazz, bluegrass — I’ll try anything once), mandolin, and piddle around on a few other instruments. I follow my favorite hockey teams (Detroit Red Wings, plus the University of Michigan’s team) past the point of healthy distraction, and try to be outdoorsy when I’m not indulging a love of movies — good and bad ones alike.

You might wonder about the title. I once read “verbosity” and “romance” under the respective entries for “rhetoric” and “composition” in a thesaurus. Thought it was funny and had a nice ring.


Posted October 10, 2011 by Ben

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