Craig Rood

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Program in Speech Communication


Office:453 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA
Office Hours:Tuesday Thursday 2:45-2:45; and by appointment 


Courses I am Teaching

Engl 250H: Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Communication
Engl 310: Rhetorical Analysis
SpCm 312: Business and Professional Speaking
Eng/SpCm 350: Rhetorical Traditions: Histories and Theories of Rhetoric
SpCm 412: Rhetorical Criticism
SpCm 497: Capstone
Engl/SpCm 548: History of Rhetorical Theory II: From Bacon to the Present


Ph.D., Communication Arts & Sciences (Rhetorical Studies), Pennsylvania State University, 2015
M.A., English (Rhetoric and Composition), North Dakota State University, 2011
B.A., Philosophy/Humanities, North Dakota State University, 2008

Research Areas

As a scholar, I study how people communicate about divisive public issues, such as gun violence and mental illness. I am interested in questions like: How do people communicate about controversial or divisive public issues? How might they do so more productively? And how can rhetorical scholars help to improve the quality of public debate and deliberation?

In short, I am a rhetorical critic, theorist, and educator whose work is guided by Wayne Booth’s claim that “the quality of our lives, moment by moment, depends upon the quality of our rhetoric.”

About My Teaching and How I Came to Teach What I Teach

I was reluctant to go to college, but soon developed a love of learning. It was in my first-year writing and public speaking courses that I began to understand what it meant to think critically and to communicate effectively. I learned that there was a classical art of “rhetoric,” and I began to recognize how it operated everywhere around us—ranging from speeches by civic leaders to something as mundane as deciding what to wear in the morning.

In the classroom, then, I have high hopes that education should be transformative. Class is a success when a student notices something subtle in an advertisement, identifies a strategy that they can use to communicate more effectively, or asks a question that makes us think.

Recent Publications

After Gun Violence: Deliberation and Memory in an Age of Political Gridlock (Pennsylvania State University Press, forthcoming 2019).

“‘Our Tears Are Not Enough’: The Warrant of the Dead in the Rhetoric of Gun Control.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 104.1 (2018): 47-70.

“The Racial Politics of Gun Violence: A Brief Rhetorical History.” Chapter in Was Blind but Now I See: Rhetoric, Race, Religion, and the Charleston Shootings. Eds. Sean Patrick O’Rourke and Melody Lehn. Lexington Books, under contract.

“Rhetorical Closure.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 47.4 (2017): 313-334.

“The Gap between Rhetorical Education and Civic Discourse.” The Review of Communication 16.2-3 (2016): 135-150.

*Reissued in Teaching First-Year Communication Courses: Paradigms and Innovations. Ed. Pat J. Gehrke. New York: Routledge, 2017.

J. Michael Hogan and Craig Rood, “Rhetorical Studies and the Gun Control Debate: A Public Policy Perspective.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 18.2 (2015): 359-371.

“‘Understanding’ Again: Listening with Kenneth Burke and Wayne Booth.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 44.5 (2014): 449-469.

“‘Moves’ Toward Rhetorical Civility.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 14.3 (2014): 393-413. [Lead article]

“Rhetorics of Civility: Theory, Pedagogy, and Practice in Speaking and Writing Textbooks.” Rhetoric Review 32.3 (2013): 331-48.

“Barack Obama’s 2009 University of Notre Dame Commencement.” Voices of Democracy 7 (2012): 60-75.

Link to CV