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.

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Violent Subjects: The Terror Wars Drone On....Or Don't They?

  • University of Minnesota, East Bank Ford Hall 210 Minneapolis, MN USA (map)

Join Professor Heather Ashley Hayes for a talk inspired by her first book, Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars. As the United States enters the fifteenth year of its self-declared "War on Terror," discourses around terrorism have expanded and retracted to encompass an array of policy changes from the invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan to Donald Trump's recent suggestion that the U.S. halt all Muslim immigration into the U.S. In this talk, Hayes will discuss the racialized technology of governance known as the armed drone program. In directing life ending violence against Muslim communities throughout the world, the program represents a fruitful space to engage rhetorical understandings of the ways that governing bodies, as well as individual subjects and constituted communities, turn to violence as a response to the post 9/11 terror society. When political examinations of the drone program are facilitated through understandings of discourse, Hayes will argue that clearer maps emerge of how violence functions and we can better ask an important question: how is violence rhetorical? The talk is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Department of Communication Studies as part of their Wednesday Noon Research series. Free and open to the public.