Heather Ashley Hayes

I am a scholar, writer, and educator of over seventeen years. I’m interested in social implications of rhetorical practices, especially racialized violence and discourses of terror. I research those discourses both domestically and as part of the global terror wars within the United States and abroad. I engage work about histories and circulations of violence as it relates to race in public & political 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 have presented 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 public 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 many students at varied stages of their educational journeys 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 love poetic aesthetics, especially in the form of the spoken word, sometimes set to beats. I’m a cinephile who pens the occasional film/television review and reads many. I’m an advocate for all things I hope can make participatory democracy more just for everyone and hold an unyielding bias in favor of better access to public education for all, on the basis of simply being human. I am a spaghetti enthusiast.

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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!