Heather Ashley Hayes

I am a scholar, writer, and educator of over seventeen years. I’m interested in social implications of rhetorical practice and how humans use symbols to make meaning and address problems of common concern. My research centers on violence and discourses of terror. I write about those discourses both domestically within the US and as part of the global terror wars. I am particularly interested in the intersection of domestic sociopolitical landscapes with dynamics of global violence and war, both of which are remade through discourses of terrorism. I additionally engage work about histories and circulations of violence as they relate to race, rhetorical practice, and national security in public discourse, film, and militarized & carceral spaces throughout the world.

I am currently appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rhetoric and teach in both the Programs in Race and Ethnic Studies and Film and Media 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) dropped in 2016, joining a number of other article, review, and chapter length academic pieces I’ve published. I present work across the US, Middle East, and Europe to audiences in both academic spaces and outside of the university. I also serve as an Associate Editor in Chief for the public analysis space Citizen Critics, where I publish work from time to time.

I have been privileged in my career to teach at institutions ranging from a small liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest of the US to a large public high school in Texas and many spaces in between. I have worked with lots of students at various stages of their educational journey and I’m honored to have received a number of distinctions for that work. Most recently in May of 2018, I accepted Whitman College’s George Ball Excellence in Advising Award, a student nominated honor recognizing an educator for outstanding distinction in advising and mentoring students from all areas of the college.

I’m moved by poetic aesthetics, especially in the form of the spoken word, sometimes set to beats. I’m a cinephile. I pen the occasional film or television review and read many. I am a pasta enthusiast. I hold an unyielding bias in favor of unfettered access to education for all in a society, simply on the basis that we’re human.

“Democracy will be a farce unless individuals are trained to think for themselves, to judge independently, to be critical, to be able to detect subtle propaganda and the motives which inspire it.” — John Dewey, “American Education Past and Future,” 1931

I part of an exciting new project, working as an Associate Editor with the Citizen Critics collective. I can also be found there as a writer and as the lead desk editor for Terrorism and Middle East policy. Our mission statement is as follows:

"We are the citizen critics collective. Citizen Critics is a nonpartisan, independent analysis space that promotes critical analysis and discussion of politics and other matters of the public good with a focus on language use, misuse, and abuse. We write and promote work from the academic community and from experts in the myriad desks from which we publish for a broad, global audience. Citizen Critics is a not-for-profit collaboration; the small team of editors works with scholars and experts in various fields across the world to craft pieces that appeal to a wide audience. We use our reason in public. Our goal is to provide rigorous but accessible analysis that holds public figures accountable for their discourse and policies."

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We launched on Inauguration Day 2017 and would love new readers. We also are looking for writers who are working on critical analysis of political discourse. Contact information can be found on the website.

Find us at www.citizencritics.org. Some of my contributions as a writer and interviewee for the site can be found below. You can also scroll down to find our social media feeds so you can stay plugged into the work of the collective!

Critics Chat: Democratic Identity and the 2018 Midterms

With: Professors Mark Hlavacik, Rita Shah, Ryan Skinnell, and Michael Steudeman

November 4, 2018


It’s Not Just Violent Rhetoric, It’s the Power of Rhetorical Violence We Should Be Worried About

October 31, 2018


Post 9/11 Terror Discourse Boomerangs Home

August 4, 2017


A Complicated Understanding of Friendship: The Discourse of U.N. Resolution 2334

January 20, 2017


Thanks for reading!

Scroll down to read our most recent twitter feed and to find links to our twitter and Facebook pages. Please, follow and like us on all our social media platforms so you, and others, can find our work! And, visit our site: www.citizencritics.org. We look forward to welcoming you to a future Citizen Critics publication space!