Heather Ashley Hayes

Heather Ashley Hayes is a scholar, author, and global citizen critic researching, writing, organizing, and teaching. Working from a PhD in communication studies and rhetoric with additional background in anthropological fieldwork methods, her interest focuses on the social implications of racialized violence and discourses of terrorism, both domestically and sometimes as part of the global, decades long US-led war on terror both within the United States and abroad. She engages work about circulations of violence and race in public discourse, film, and militarized & carceral spaces throughout the world.

Dr. Hayes is currently appointed as an Assistant Professor of the Department of Rhetoric and teaches in the Program in Race and Ethnic Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, USA. She is the author of Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Committed to public and global deliberation, she has presented her work across the US, Middle East, and Europe to diverse audiences, has taught at both a small liberal arts college and a large public high school and many institutions in between, and serves as Terrorism and Middle East desk editor for Citizen Critics (www.citizencritics.org), where she also is a contributor.

She also loves poetic aesthetics, she’s a cinephile who publishes the occasional film/television review, and she’s a vocal fighter for all things that make participatory democracy more fair and just.

Photography Credit: Lisa Quinlan Photography

My teaching is an exercise in promoting reflective thought with regard to social problems in the public sphere. I pursue teaching and learning with the task of encouraging critical publics as my goal. At its center is the re-examining of evidence and assumptions, shaking up habitual ways of thinking, dissipating conventional familiarities, and re-evaluating rules and institutions to promote participation in a global world. In this sense, my philosophy about teaching is to see it as an exercise in the promotion of voice, advocacy, civic engagement, and the enhancement of inclusive public life, all from a rhetorical perspective. I believe the task of any learning space is to challenge students and all interlocuters to become more participative citizens as well as empower us, working together, to not only know our voice, but to use it.

NOTE: Any syllabi not linked here that you wish to explore, please email me and I will happily make an effort to share them.

recently designed and taught Courses

Representations of Blackness in American Film

Senior Thesis Seminar in Rhetorical Studies

Introduction to Rhetorical Criticism

Seminar in Rhetoric and Violence

The Rhetoric of African American Civil Rights: From the Courts to the Streets

Rhetoric of Weapons of the State

Rhetoric of Hip Hop

Fundamentals of Public Address

The Rhetoric of the 47%: The Rhetorical Materialism of Socio-Economic Class

Introduction to Rhetoric and Public Culture

Rhetoric and Presidential Campaigns

Previously Taught Courses

Intercultural Communication Processes

African American Civil Rights Rhetoric, Reading Schedule 


Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Public Speaking (Election Year Edition)