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About Chris:
Writer, Teacher, and Cancer Survivor


My doctoral dissertation, “Rhetorics of Cancer in America,” was inspired by my time as a young cancer patient. At the age of 23, I was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer – renal cell chromophobe carcinoma – and I learned very quickly 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 means.

Drawing from this personal experience, my dissertation examined the constitutive power flowing through cancer rhetoric across both its discursive and nondiscursive modalities. That is, within textual/oral, visual/material, and bodily/performative manifestations of American cancer rhetoric, identification-based rhetoric performs crucial ideological work that ultimately functions to maintain the hegemony of profit-driven healthcare, resulting in significant social, political, and economic disparities. 

Chapter 2, The "War on Cancer" and the "Cancer Moonshot Initiative" as Constitutive Metaphoric Formations of American Cancer Discourse, considers martial and space exploration metaphors in presidential cancer rhetoric.

Chapter 3, The Constitutive Materiality of American Cancer Culture's Iconic Objects, critiques the pink ribbon of breast cancer "awareness" and the yellow Livestrong cancer patient "support" bracelet.

Chapter 4, The Constitutive Consequences of Cancered Bodies, uses Walter White (from Breaking Bad) and the children of St. Jude's Research Hospital to explore the ideological weight of bodies with cancer in America.

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


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.

My approach, thankfully, seems to resonate with students. My teaching evaluations consistently range between 4.5 to 4.9 (out of 5), with students favorably noting many of the aforementioned principles.

In addition to being a graduate (and later a facilitator) of Texas State University's award-winning Teaching & Learning Academy, I was awarded the Carol Winkler Outstanding Teaching Award by the Department of Communication at Georgia State University in 2019. 

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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

MAGA, reality television, Critical Studies in Media Commuication
Warrior-Priest, Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric

"That Was The First Time in History That Anyone Bothered to Write That Down:" Mythologizing the Declaration of Independence in The West Wing
(Co-Authored with Ann Burnette)

The West Wing, multimodal rhetoric
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Communication and Democracy
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