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About Chris:
Recent Ph.D. Graduate, Writer, Teacher, and Cancer Survivor


The foundation of my research into American cancer rhetoric is built upon my personal experience with cancer. At 23, I was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer - renal cell chromophobe carcinoma - and learned that cancer is never confined beneath the flesh.


Rather, I found cancer to be a profoundly rhetorical experience, at once wrapped in collective constructions of identity, stigma, ideology, and constantly communicated with others via multimodal channels.


My experience then helped construct the argument at the foundation of my research: rhetorics of cancer in America largely function in the service of maintaining the status quo.


In my dissertation, I argue that American cancer rhetoric is an expansive multimodal rhetorical formation that functions through constitutive means to create a veil of unity, a fabled and romanticized cancer community, that obfuscates, erases, silences, and justifies the disparities in cancer care wrought by capitalism.

From the metaphors we use in talking about cancer, to the pink ribbons we adorn to our clothes for "support" and "awareness," I am exploring how these rhetorics appeal to us not through traditional persuasive means, but rather through identification and ideology.

In addition to cancer and health rhetoric, my research interests include: (1) multimodal and digital rhetorics of the American presidency, particularly within presidential museums and other post-presidential contexts, (2) resistance and anti-racist rhetorics in public address and popular culture, and (3) historical and contemporary American political discourse with a developing focus on neo-fascist rhetoric. 


My approach to teaching is guided by the principle of fostering a “critical humanity.” That is, from assignment creation and syllabus construction to facilitating classroom discussion and delivering lectures, I am guided by pedagogical practices that simultaneously center a student’s humanity while also helping them to step into the role of a critical citizen that actively engages the communicative world around them. 

To effectively enact this guiding principle, I apply teaching strategies from three themes I believe to be crucial to success in higher education: demystification, application, and comprehension. That is, I first strive to demystify academia by “breaking down” academic reading and writing. Second, I build assignments and structure classroom discussions to help students practically apply course material to their everyday lives. And, third, I efficiently incorporate technology to enhance student comprehension.


I stress to my students that I care significantly more that they internalize course concepts and develop their critical analytical skills for use after the semester ends – and less about their ephemeral memorization of material to simply pass an exam.

Guided by my principle of fostering a “critical humanity,” I place my students and their lives outside my classroom at the center of my pedagogy. My enduring hope is for students to leave my classroom as burgeoning critical citizens, meaningfully engaging the communicative world around them to, little by little, challenge the ways those in power wield communication for their benefit.

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My latest projects

My Latest Projects

Priming “American Carnage:” Reality Television and Donald J. Trump

"Prayer Warriors Needed!" The Warrior-Priest Archetypal Metaphor in American Cancer & COVID Rhetorics


Reifying the Mythos of the Declaration of Independence in American Popular Culture
(Co-Authored with Ann Burnette)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as a Constructed Site of (Artificial) Collective Memory, Identity, and Resistance
(Co-Authored with Virginia Massignan)
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