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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The Drone Wars Rage On: Examining the Terror Wars from Waziristan to Washington

  • Maxey Auditorium at Whitman College 345 Boyer Avenue Walla Walla, WA, 99362 United States (map)

In his first forty-five days in office, Donald Trump authorized 36 targeted drone attack operations - one every 1.25 days of his presidency. Compared to President Barack Obama's 542 targeted drone attacks in 2,920 days of his presidency, Trump's utilization of targeted drone attacks within the U.S. led terror wars represents about a 432% increase in active use of the military technology known as the armed, unmanned aerial vehicle. In her book, Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars (Palgrave Macmillan Press UK, 2016), Dr. Heather Ashley Hayes examines violence in the age of the terror wars with an eye toward the technologies of governance that facilitate that violence. In performing a rhetorical cartography that explores the rise of the US armed drone program, Hayes argues that the problems of the global terror wars are best addressed within a rhetorical understanding of the ways that governments, and individual subjects, turn to violence as a response to, or product of, the post September 11 terror society. In this talk, drawn in part from her book, she will trace the rhetorical cartography of the armed drone program through the later stages of the Obama presidency, emphasizing key moments in the discursive map of the terror wars. She will conclude by offering some thoughts about the intersection of rhetoric and violence as the Trump administration prepares to amplify both military and non-military technologies of governance in an effort to continue fighting the terror wars across the world. Hayes will connect this arc of governing strategies to ones that dominate discourse around women's reproductive rights in the U.S. today.

Sponsored by Whitman College's Planned Parenthood Generation Action organization. For more information, contact Emma Dulaney at dulaneem@whitman.edu. A raffle will be hald for a book giveaway, so don't miss it!