Heather Ashley Hayes

Heather Ashley Hayes is a scholar and global citizen critic researching, writing, organizing, and teaching. Influenced by training in both rhetorical criticism and anthropological field work methods, her work focuses on the social implications of racialized violence and discourses of terrorism, both domestically and as part of the global, decades long US-led war on terror. 

Dr. Hayes is Chair and Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Race and Ethnic Studies at Whitman College and author of Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Committed to public and global deliberation, she has presented her work across the US, Middle East, and Europe to diverse audiences, teaches undergraduate courses at both a small liberal arts college and inside penitentiaries, and serves as Terrorism and Middle East desk editor for Citizen Critics (www.citizencritics.org), where she also is a regular contributor.

Photo credit Lisa Quinlan Photography/Gray Duck Studios

About Heather Ashley Hayes


Currently, I hold an appointment as Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Rhetoric Studies at Whitman College. I am also an affiliated faculty member in the Program in Race and Ethnic Studies there. I received B.A.s in Speech Communication and Political Science from Trinity University where I was an intercollegiate debater for two years. I received an M.A. in Communication Studies from Texas State University under the direction of Roseann Mandziuk and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota under the direction of Ronald Walter Greene.

My training is centered primarily in rhetorical studies, incorporating fieldwork methods from anthropology. My work explores the intersections between racialized violence of the US-led global war on terror and racial violence occurring within the US. As part of that effort, my work explores militarized policing and state organized counterterrorism programs like the targeted killing campaign of personless drone attacks.

My first book, Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars, centers around the intersection of violence and transnational rhetoric in the era of the terror wars. It additionally explores the technology of weaponized drones as part of the global war on terror, specifically dealing with the implications drone use in the Middle East and North Africa by the United States has for understanding the way violence functions communicatively and culturally.

The work performs a rhetorical cartography of drone culture, exploring the possibilities for drone discourses to function within the context of the global war on terror, often refiguring technologies of governance and surveillance, with great implications for Arab and Muslim citizens both within the United States and globally. It is currently available from Palgrave MacMillan and at Amazon. I have additionally published chapters in various books on race, violence, and discourse and my work has appeared in journal including Advances in the History of Rhetoric, the Quarterly Journal of Speech, and Argumentation and Advocacy. I have additionally written for outlets such as citizencritics.org and the San Antonio Current. 

As an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Race and Ethnic Studies at Whitman College, I teach courses around rhetoric and civic engagement, culture, race, terrorism, and violence. I teach introductory courses in rhetoric and public culture as well as facilitate our introduction to public address program as part of my work with the Center for Writing and Speaking at Whitman. I additionally teach courses in race and ethnic studies, the rhetoric of racial justice movements, Middle East studies, violence, and argumentation.

After a year of successful planning and two piloted courses, I now direct and teach a course every year on rhetoric, race, and incarceration inside Washington State Penitentiary. The course is made up of both Whitman College students and students incarcerated within WSP and is modeled as an "inside-out" classroom in a style similar to the Bard Prison Initiative's liberal arts education in prison approach.


Public Presentations and Conference Travel 

From north east Texas originally, I have enjoyed spending time around the world, including living for a while in my favorite U.S. city: Austin, TX. Each year, I attend the National Communication Association conference, to be held in Dallas, TX in November of 2017. Every other year I also frequent the NCA-AFA ALTA biannual summer conference on argumentation or the Rhetoric Society of America biannual conference as well as various academic and professional meetings in the areas of rhetoric and communication, Middle East studies, race and ethnic studies, and anthropology. Since 2013, I have presented work across the US as well as in the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Jordan, Palestine, and Turkey. In the summer of 2016, I was in Jordan and Palestine as well as Ferguson, MO to begin fieldwork for my second book, a work in progress about the intersections of racialized policing and discourses of violence against black and brown bodies across the globe. 

Everything Else

In breaks from work - few and far between - I can often be found hiking, traveling, spending quality time with my adorable and energetic pup, enjoying live music and/or film, running, and working for what I hope can be a more just world.

To contact:

 Downtown Walla Walla, WA

Downtown Walla Walla, WA

Dr. Heather Ashley Hayes

Assistant Professor and Chair of Rhetoric Studies

Whitman College

345 Boyer Avenue

Olin Hall 203

Walla Walla, WA 99362


(509) 527-5245

Email Heather

Heather's Academia.edu Page