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.

My scholarly commitments center on the exploration of how power, discourse, culture, and violence intersect within public life, affecting global engagement within socio-political and historical contexts. I pursue these explorations from a rhetorical perspective, one in which discourse, texts, theory, and criticism are key modes of investigation. As a scholar grounded in the critical and materialist approach to communication, relations of power often frame these questions in my work.

Selected Published Work

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Hayes, Heather Ashley. "The Thriving Life of Racialized Weaponry: Violence and Sonic Capacities from the Drone to the Gun." In The Global Life of Weapons, edited by Jonathan Olbert and Austin Sarat (London: Oxford University Press, 2018), 95-122.

Hayes, Heather Ashley. "Doing Rhetorical Studies In Situ: The Nomad Citizen in Jordan." Advances in the History of Rhetoric 20.2 (2017), 164-176.

Hayes, Heather Ashley. Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars. Rhetoric, Politics, and Society series. London: Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2016.

Hayes, Heather Ashley. "The Case of Shura City: Rhetorical Cartography, Argument Mapping, and the Global War on Terror." In Recovering Argument: Selected Papers of the 19th Biennial Conference on Argumentation, edited by Randall Lake. New York: Taylor and Francis Group, 2016. Pages to be determined.

Hayes, Heather Ashley. "Review Essay: Negri Revisits Spinoza." The Comparatist 39 (October 2015), pages to be determined.

Hayes, Heather Ashley and Gilbert B. Rodman. "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Film." JumpCut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 56 (2014-2015). Reprinted with newly authored introduction, images, and captions.

Hayes, Heather Ashley. "Don't Fear the Reaper: The Disturbing Case of How Drones Reconfigure Technologies of Deliberation." In Disturbing Argument (2013 NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation), edited by Catherine Palczewski. New York: Taylor and Francis Group, 2014. Pages 329-335.

Hayes, Heather Ashley and Gilbert B. Rodman. "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Film." In Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained : The Continuation of Metacinema, edited by Oliver C. Speck. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014. Pages 179-204.

Hayes, Heather Ashley. "Review of Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq by Scott Bonn.Quarterly Journal of Speech 98 no. 4 (2012): 467-470.

Greene, Ronald Walter and Heather Ashley Hayes. "Rhetorical Materialism: The Cognitive Divisions of Labor and the Social Dimensions of Argument."  Argumentation and Advocacy  88, no. 3 (2012): 190-193.

Selected Refereed Conference Presentations and public talks

"Terror Arguments Boomerang from Waziristan to Standing Rock: Argumentative Frameworks and the US Surveillance State." Presentation at the International Society for the Study of Argument Biennial Conference, Amsterdam, July 4-8, 2018.

"Embracing Networked Criminality: Dispatches from the Argumentative Frameworks of Hacktivism." Presentation at the NCA/AFA Alta Biennial Conference on Argumentation, Alta, UT, July 29, 2017.

"The Thriving Life of Racialized Weaponry: Violence and Sonic Capacities from the Drone to the Gun." Presentation at Amherst College's Symbolic and Material Life of Guns symposium, 2017 Copeland Colloquium, Amherst, MA, March 4, 2017.

"The Dawn of Humanitarian Weapons: Discourse, the Presidency, and the Dark Corners of Obama's Terror Wars." Presentation at the Annual National Communication Association conference, Las Vegas, NV, November 21, 2015.

"Confronting the Limits of Citizenship: Hypermobility and the Dissolution of the Terrorist Body Across Boorders," Presentation at the Rhetoric Society of America biennial conference, San Antonio, TX, May 22-25, 2014.

"Shura City: Rhetorical Cartography and Remapping the Global War on Terror," Presentation to the Rhetorical Theory and Criticism Interest Group, Central States Communication Association annual conference, Minneapolis, MN, April 2-6, 2014.

"The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Seduction: Discourses of the United States Drone Program," Presentation at the Weapons of Mass Seduction  International Rhetoric Conference, co-sponsored by the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands and Ghent University in Belgium, November 2013. 

"Don't Fear the Reaper: How Drones Reconfigure Technologies of Deliberation," Presentation to the NCA/AFA ALTA biannual conference on argumentation, Alta, UT, August 2013. 

"Discourse, Materialism, and Expanding Forms of Revolutionary Subjectivity: Delinking Rhetorics in Tahrir Square, January 2011," Presented to the Freedom of Speech division, Southern States Communication Association annual conference, Louisville, KY, April 2013.

"Discourses of Control: Rationalities of Governance and Citizenship in a Post 9/11 Landscape," Presented to the Critical and Cultural Studies division, National Communication Association annual conference, Orlando, FL, November 2012.

"No Really, Your Actual Eyes: Seeing Things in Aristotle's Rhetoric ," Presented to the American Society for the History of Rhetoric division, Top Papers Panel, Southern States Communication Association annual conference, Memphis, TN, April 2012.

"Living to Die: The Relationship between Discourse, Violence, and Unruly Arab Bodies," Presented to the Symbolic Violence conference, Texas A&M University, February 2012. 

"The Possibility of a Panoptic Rhetoric," Presented to the NCA/AFA Summer Conference on Argumentation, Alta, Utah, August 2011. 

"College Voters and Changing Ideologies of Political Presence: The Effect of Race and Sex on Candidate Credibility," Presented to Political Communication division, Southern States Communication Association annual conference, awarded Top Student Paper for the division, Little Rock, AR, April 2011. 

"Competing Notions of Time and History: Re-reading Frederick Douglass'  Fourth of July," Presented to Rhetorical and Communication theory division, National Communication Association annual conference, San Diego, CA, November, 2010.

selected news, media, and public mentions

Review of Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars by Timothy Barney in academic journal Rhetoric and Public Affairs vol. 21, no. 3, 2018, p. 543-546.

Review of Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars by Brittany Knutson in academic journal Rhetoric Society Quarterly vol. 47, no. 4, 2017, p. 386-389.

Guest, KRTU 91.7 FM radio, April 25 & 27 2017, “The Changing Walla Walla Community, Whitman College, Inclusive educational access, and Washington State Penitentiary”

Review of Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars by Brad Lucas in academic journal Rhetoric Review vol. 36, no. 4, 2017, p. 377-379.

Class Helps Whitman College Students, State Penitentiary Inmates Knock Down Walls,” Walla Walla Union Bulletin, May 21, 2017

Whitman Students and Student Inmates Share Classroom,” Whitman Wire, December 8, 2016

Politics, Rhetoric Unite to Help Students Engage in Election Season,” Whitman Wire, October 5, 2016

Featured Expert, Call Me Joe, Documentary short, world premiere Seattle, Washington, November 2014; awarded 2015 Best Youth Short Documentary, Harlem Film Festival

Featured Top Ten National Educator of the Year, Kappa Alpha Theta quarterly magazine, Winter 2014-2015, “Outstanding Faculty Members Live Theta’s Aspirations,” p.28-29

Whitman Women Faculty Focus on Challenges, Achievements,” Whitman Circuit Magazine, April 2014

Selected Invited Talks

“Mass Incarceration: What is the Story?” Invited talk at the RADLab Digital Storytelling pilot program, hosted by popUPjustice, Washington state, June 13, 2018.

"Rhetoric, Violence, and Assemblages of Terror: Mapping the Terror Wars from Standing Rock to Raqqa." Invited Talk at University of Utah's Department of Communication Studies Research Campus Wide Research Symposium, November 9, 2017.

“The Dawn of Humanitarian Weapons: Discourses about A Kinder, Friendlier Killing Machine.” Invited talk at the British International Studies Association’s Contemporary Research on International Political Theory group Bodies of War: From Drone Pilots to Lone Wolves symposium, University of Lancaster, United Kingdom, November 2016.

"Islamophobia, American Politics, and U.S. Understandings of the Arab World." Invited Talk at the Aida Refugee Camp outside Bethlehem, Palestine, July 2016.

“‘Do We Target Our Own?’ Making Sense of Discourses and the Death of Anwar al-Awlaqi.” Invited talk based on Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars at the Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan, June 2016.

"The Terror Wars Drone On...Or Don't They?" Invited talk at the University of Minnesota, based on Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars, March 2016.

"The Buzzing of the Drones: Circulating Violence from Waziristan to Washington." Invited talk at Grinnell College, Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights, Annual Symposium on Drone Warfare, September 9-11, 2014.

"Blood on the Leaves: Violence, the Black Body, and the Possibility of Hip-Hop," Invited talk by the Associated Students of Whitman College-led Power and Privilege Symposium, February 2014.

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"Confronting the Limits of Citizenship: Hypermobility and the Disposition of the 'Terrorist' Body," Faculty Forum presentation, Whitman College, October 9, 2013. 

"Hannah Arendt, Rhetoric, and Violence: A 21st Century (Re)understanding." Panel presenter, "Choosing Reasonableness in a New Era of Unreasonableness: 21st Century Consequences of 20th Century Rhetorical Projects," sponsored by the American Society for the History of Rhetoric, Southern States Communication Association annual conference, Louisville, KY, April 2013.

"Analysis of the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate."  Series respondent, University of Minnesota Debate Program, October 2012.

"Drone Culture: The State's Campaign of Violence and Its Ceaseless Circulation." Wednesday Noon Research meeting, Department of Communication Studies, University of Minnesota, November 2012.