Heather Ashley Hayes

I am a scholar, author, and global citizen critic researching, writing, organizing, and teaching. I am interested in social implications of racialized violence and discourses of terrorism, both domestically and sometimes as part of the global, decades long US-led war on terror both within the United States and abroad. I engage work about circulations of violence and race in public discourse, film, and militarized & carceral spaces throughout the world.

I am currently appointed as an Assistant Professor of 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 UK) dropped in 2016. I have presented work across the US, Middle East, and Europe to various audiences both in academic spaces and outside of the university. I have also been lucky enough in my career so far to teach at institutions ranging from a small liberal arts college to a large public high school and many spaces in between. I serve as an Associate Editor in Chief for Citizen Critics (www.citizencritics.org), where I also publish work from time to time.

I love poetic aesthetics. I’m a cinephile who pens the occasional film/television review. I’m a vocal fighter for all things that I hope can make participatory democracy more just for everyone. I am a spaghetti enthusiast.

My first book, published with Palgrave Macmillan Press, is titled Violent Subjects and Rhetorical Cartography in the Age of the Terror Wars. It explores the relationship between violence and discourse, generating political and cultural insights about the possibilities for newly formed subjectivities within the global war on terror and the Arab world as well as reflections on discourse's relationship to violence. The monograph argues that these insights point to both a refiguration of cultural patterns and also to the ways different subjectivities arise and circulate through larger maps of contemporary global power within the post 9/11 conjuncture.

The Congressional Research Service maps al-Qaeda's role in the war on terror.

The Congressional Research Service maps al-Qaeda's role in the war on terror.

More specifically, the project introduces three areas of insight. First, for rhetorical studies it suggests a refiguring of the rhetorical situation as material. As such, it suggests that the rhetorical situation is composed of bodies, technologies, and spaces/places. Second, the project performs rhetorical cartography as a method of inquiry, drawing from both rhetorical studies and from critical cartography and geography. This method allows mapping of modes of materiality in a quest to better confront global power relations and transnational rhetorics. Finally, the project suggests a political and cultural insight for understanding perceptions of the Arab world and violence against Arab/Muslim people as part of the global war on terror. Here, the project posits that through its rhetorical cartography we better can map the multitude of ways that subject positions within the global war on terror are generated and reconstituted.

In drawing these conclusions, the book project centers around the technology of US armed drones as part of the global war on terror, specifically dealing with the implications armed drone use in the Middle East and North Africa by the United States (and the droneworld it has spawned) has for understanding the way violence functions communicatively. The work performs a rhetorical cartography of drone culture alongside a mapping of Egypt's revolutionary moment via Tahrir Sqaure in January of 2011, and the landscape of what is sometimes called the "Arab Spring," exploring the possibilities in each of these mappings to refigure and resist technologies of governance both within the United States and globally.

Violent Subjects has been reviewed widely across academic journals. It has been labeled “insightful and provocative” (Rhetoric and Public Affairs) and has been said to “offer useful frameworks for future work” (Rhetoric Review). It has also been called “incredibly important” as a "contribution that “transcends rhetoric” (Rhetoric Society Quarterly). Additionally, scholars have said the book “deepens our understanding of rhetorical theory and method, contributes to our knowledge of the ways in which violence and war are deeply rhetorical, and adds to the scholarly conversation on empire and colonialization” in addition to offering “a new and provocative thesis on the rhetoric of violence.”

Violent Subjects can be ordered here. In addition, check back here - or check out the "Events" page - for readings, events, talks, and book signings near you!

see below for Book Signings, Events, and Readings for Violent Subjects Near You