Heather Ashley Hayes

I am a scholar, author, and global citizen critic researching, writing, organizing, and teaching. I am interested in 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. I engage work about circulations of violence and race in public discourse, film, and militarized & carceral spaces throughout the world.

I am currently appointed as an Assistant Professor of the Department of Rhetoric and teach in the Program in Race and Ethnic Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, USA. My first book, Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars (Palgrave Macmillan UK) dropped in 2016. I have presented work across the US, Middle East, and Europe to various audiences both in academic spaces and outside of the university. I have also been lucky enough in my career so far to teach at institutions ranging from a small liberal arts college to a large public high school and many spaces in between. I serve as an Associate Editor in Chief for Citizen Critics (www.citizencritics.org), where I also publish work from time to time.

I love poetic aesthetics. I’m a cinephile who pens the occasional film/television review. I’m a vocal fighter for all things that I hope can make participatory democracy more just for everyone. I am a spaghetti enthusiast.

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

Interpersonal Communication

Introduction to Communication Studies

Public Speaking (Election Year Edition)