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 concerns racialized violence and discourses of terror. I write about those discourses both domestically within the US and as part of the global terror wars fought across the world. I am particularly interested in the intersection of domestic sociopolitical landscapes with the dynamics of global violence and war, both 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 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) 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 both in academic spaces and outside of the university. I also serve as an Associate Editor in Chief for the public analysis space Citizen Critics (www.citizencritics.org), 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 2018, I accepted the George Ball Excellence in Advising Award, a student nominated campuswide honor recognizing a faculty member for outstanding distinction in advising and mentoring students across Whitman 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 all human.

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Teach In on Syria

  • Maxey Auditorium Whitman College Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA (map)

With over 115,000 people dead, 2 million displaced persons outside Syria (half are children), 5 million persons displaced within Syria, and almost half the population in dire need of humanitarian assistance, Syria represents a massive humanitarian crisis. This teach-in will feature 5 speakers, 2 Middle East experts from off campus including Keith Watenpaugh of UC-Davis who recently returned from a trip to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan (the second largest in the world) where he interviewed Syrian refugees. The speakers will lecture on various aspects of this crisis, including a possible scenario of (more) US intervention and what US involvement means in terms of broader US imperialism in the region. Heather Ashley Hayes will deliver a talk on U.S. possibilities for intervention via drones in the region.