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«EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL HISTORY EDUCATION 2012 Doctor of Philosophy University of Iowa Dissertation: On Becoming “Citizen”: The Rhetorical ...»

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Meryl J. Irwin

G32 Roop Hall

School of Communication Studies

James Madison University

54 Bluestone Drive


Harrisonburg, VA 22807


profirwin@outlook.com / (O) 540-568-5637 / (M) 319-621-6889 / (Fax) 540-568-6059



2012 Doctor of Philosophy University of Iowa

Dissertation: On Becoming “Citizen”: The Rhetorical Work of “Immigrancy” in American National Fantasy Committee: David Hingstman (director), Bruce Gronbeck, David Depew, Jeffrey A. Bennett, David Wittenberg Concentration: Rhetoric and Public Advocacy 2009 Certificate in University of Iowa Rhetorics of Inquiry 1998 Master of Arts University of Nebraska – Lincoln Concentration: Communication and Culture 1994 Bachelor of Arts Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) Majors: Accounting and English Literature Honors: Omicron Delta Kappa, Magna cum Laude


2013 – Present Visiting Assistant Professor James Madison University 2011 – 2013 Visiting Instructor of Rhetoric Drake University 2005 – 2010 Graduate Instructor University of Iowa 2008 – 2009 Interim Public Debate Director University of Iowa 2006 Editorial Assistant University of Iowa Research on Language & Social Interaction (Editor: Kristine [Fitch] Muñoz) 1999 – 2005 Instructor, Assistant Director of Forensics & Concordia College Director of Individual Events 1998 – 1999 Adjunct Instructor Minnesota State University Moorhead/ Minnesota State Community and Technical College 1996 – 1998 Senior Agency Financial Services Lincoln Benefit Life Company Representative (Commission Accounts) 1994 – 1996 Graduate Instructor/Speech Coach University of Nebraska – Lincoln

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American Association of University Women, American Communication Association, Association for Political Theory, Delta Sigma Rho/Tau Kappa Alpha (Honorary Forensics Association), International Society for the History of Rhetoric, National Communication Association, New Faculty Majority: The National Coalition for Adjunct & Contingent Equity, Pi Kappa Delta (Honorary Forensics Association), Rhetoric Society of America RESEARCH


“‘Their Experience Is the Immigrant Experience’: Ellis Island, Documentary Film, and Rhetorically Reversible Whiteness.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 99, no. 1 (2013): 74-97.

2|Irwin “Sympathetic/Alienation: The Smithian and Marxian Agency of Aesthetics,” in Concerning Argument, ed.

S. Jacob. (Washington, D.C.: National Communication Association, 2009), 110 – 119.

“Agentic Sweat and Ambivalent Tears: Reconstituting the Aesthetic on Reality Television in the U.S,” in Proceedings of the 3rd Tokyo Conference on Argumentation, eds. T. Suzuki, T. Kato, and A. Kubota.

(Tokyo, Japan: JDA, 2008), 30 – 36.

“The triad of evil and the Bush incumbency: Convergence, competition and cooperation.” CTAM Journal 34, (2007): 20-39.



“The Immigration’s the Thing: Argumentation, Affect and an Absencing Mode of Identification” Planned Journal: Rhetoric and Public Affairs This essay takes Pat Buchanan as an exemplar for a mode of affective investment distinct from that typically parsed by rhetorical scholars focused on public policy. In traditional considerations exemplified by studies in constitutive rhetoric, affect is reckoned through the recognition of a shared substance – qualities, attributes, or characteristics that are shared by those forming “the people.” This essay argues, however, that the presence of consubstantiality is not sufficient to account for the difference between affect infusing attitude versus that infusing action. A second mode, different in kind, is needed to more fully account for public policy formation. As a means to demonstrate the limits of arguments capitalizing on this second, absencing mode, Buchanan’s rhetoric is contrasted with that of fellow conservative and immigration antagonist, Tom Tancredo.

Becoming Citizens: National Identity and the U.S. Naturalization Exam [Tentative Title] This proposed book provides a detailed rhetorical analysis of the U.S. Naturalization Exam as reformed in 2008. Chapters include legal history of the formation of the exam, consideration of the parallel between education policy and the citizenship test, analysis of the public discourse surrounding the revision of the exam, close-reading of the rhetorical aspects of the question/answer format, as well as a theoretical reckoning with the implications of the process for national identity and political culture.

“Between Plato and Paul: Badiou’s Proclamation - Without Rhetoric?” Planned journal: Philosophy and Rhetoric This essay considers the philosophy of Alain Badiou specifically for the practice of rhetorical criticism and its potential influence on rhetorical theory. Scholars like Kevin DeLuca have suggested that notion of “event” as conceived by Badiou holds great potential for rhetorical scholars. However, this study considers more carefully Badiou’s writings on discourse, aesthetics, and politics to argue that rhetoricians must recuperate Badiou if his philosophy is to be efficacious. As a demonstration, the study looks to a controversial public speaking engagement by anti-immigration advocate and former US Representative Tom Tancredo.

“The Lovers’ Quarrel: Lacanian Sexual Difference and Political Reasoning” Prospective journal: Argumentation This essay focuses on the sexuation of subjectivity, what Lacan called the “argumentative positions” of Masculine and Feminine. From that base the study applies this understanding to the classical reasoning constructs of induction and deduction to render a fuller accounting of the choices of political reasoning from the right and the left in the US.

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2016 “Entrance and Trajectory: Angel Island’s Space of a Time.” National Communication Association Convention (Philadelphia, PA).

2013 “The Immigration’s the Thing: Argumentation and Aesthetics in the Absencing mode of Identification.” National Communication Association Convention (Washington, D.C.).

“‘Para Social?” My Ass! The Walking Dead and Porous Production/Consumption.” National Communication Association Convention (Washington, D.C.).

/ 2012 “What is not Hidden Cannot Be Feared: Collective Skepticism and Meaningful Choosing in the Naturalization Exam.” National Communication Association Convention (Orlando, FL).

2011 “Coming Out of the Bleachers: Jon Stewart’s ‘Purposive’ Turn.” National Communication Association Convention (New Orleans, LA).

“The Lovers’ Quarrel with Lacanian Sexual Difference: Deduction, Induction, and Political Desire.” National Communication Association/American Forensic Association Conference on Argumentation (Alta, CO).

“America’s Best Idea: Conservation as the New American Exceptionalism.” Western States’ Communication Association Convention (Monterrey, CA).

2010 “Return on Investment: The Consequences of ‘Making White’ Discourses of Americanization.” National Communication Association Convention (San Francisco, CA).

“‘Some of it I Half Remember’: Resistant Figurations of Immigrant/Citizen in Gangs of New York. Rhetoric Society of America Convention (Minneapolis, MN).

2009 “Between Plato and Paul: Proclamation without Rhetoric? Or, Much Ado about Badiou.” National Communication Association Convention (Chicago, IL).

“A Tale of Two Elections: Democracy and Discursive Imperialism.” National Communication Association Convention (Chicago, IL).

“Theorizing Resistance: Political Aesthetics/Aesthetic Politics for a Critical Cultural Agenda.” National Communication Association Convention (Chicago, IL).

“From Immigrant to Citizen to Immigrant: Arguing Identity through Ellis Island.” Midwest Winter Workshop (St. Paul, MN).

2008 “Operationalizing the Political: Kenneth Burke and Ernesto Laclau.” Kenneth Burke Society Conference (Villanova, PA).

“Vulnerability, Violence and Technology.” Jakobsen Graduate Conference (Iowa City, IA).

“Podcasting and the developing ecology of politics.” New Media Worlds Conference (College Station, TX).

2007 “Lifting as We Climb”: Angela Davis and the Construction of Revolution.” National Communication Association Convention (Chicago, IL).

“Dialogue in the Legacy of Nine-Eleven: Reconsidering Oppositional Engagement.” National Communication Association Convention (Chicago, IL).

“The Triad of Evil and the Bush Incumbency: Convergence, Competition and Cooperation.” Central States’ Communication Association Convention (Minneapolis, MN).

1996 “Governmental Response to Navajo Uranium Miners: Rhetorical Strategies of Control in a Problem/Crisis Situation.” Speech Communication Association Convention (San Diego, CA).

The Reference, the Difficulty, the Tension and the Suggestion: A Study in the Agency of Suburban Space. Speech Communication Association Convention (San Diego, CA).

1995 The New Buffalo Economy: Native American Political Discourse and the Gaming Agenda. Speech Communication Association Convention (San Antonio, TX).



2013 “Designing a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Project.” Summer Workshop at Drake University (Des Moines, IA).

2011 “Reading Gangs of New York Rhetorically: Preparing an Archive, Developing a Method, and Writing Criticism.” Graduate Seminar in Rhetorical Criticism, University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA).

“Arguing Identity through Ellis Island.” Dr. Alessandra Beasley Von Burg’s Undergraduate Seminar, Wake Forest University (via Skype, Winston-Salem, NC).

2008 “Undergraduate Excellence in Communication Studies.” Lamda Pi Eta Initiation, University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA).

“Podcasting and the developing ecology of politics.” Rhetorical, Media, and Cultural Studies Research Colloquium in honor of Bruce Gronbeck (Iowa City, IA).

2004 “Plato, the Sophists, and Luther’s Conception of Rhetoric.” Dovre Center for Faith and Learning’s “Reformation and Education” Travel Seminar.

“Martin Luther King’s ‘A Letter from Birmingham Jail’: Insight from a Communication Studies perspective.” Remember Celebrate Act: A Day On…Not a Day Off: Concordia College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration (Moorhead, MN).



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“Critical Listening Exercises in the Public Speaking Classroom” [with Marissa Fernholtz, University of Wisconsin-Madison] This Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) study is conducted with a former undergraduate student (now graduate student) co-researcher. The study utilizes data drawn from student exercises and reflection assignments completed in the public speaking course to draw out the implication and

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2013 “Reaching Out: Teachers Making Connections When Teaching, Designing, and Creating New Undergraduate and Graduate Courses.” National Communication Association Convention (Washington, D.C.).

2008 “Podcasting and the Developing Ecology of the Classroom. Iowa Communication Association Convention (Cedar Falls, IA).

“Balancing Democracy, Education and Service: Isocrates’ Contribution to Academic ServiceLearning in Rhetorical Studies.” Rhetoric Society of America Convention (Seattle, WA).

2006 “Mentoring Our Colleagues across the Curriculum.” Central States’ Communication Association Convention (Indianapolis, IN).

2005 “Mentoring Our Colleagues across the Curriculum.” Communication and Theatre Association of Minnesota Conference (Mankato, MN).

“Oral Examinations in Communication Classrooms and Curriculum: Pedagogy and Strategy.” Communication and Theatre Association of Minnesota conference (Mankato, MN).

2003 “Managing the Co-Curricular Experience: When Religion, Spirituality and Faith Enter the NonTraditional Classroom. Communication and Theatre Association of Minnesota conference (Duluth, MN).


2001 “Oral Examinations in College Courses.” Campus Talk about Teaching Series (Concordia College)


2005 “New Instructor Orientation and Training for First Year Seminar Course [with Dawn Duncan].” (Concordia College) 2004 “Increasing Oral Competencies in the Liberal Arts Classroom [with Merrie Sue Holtan].” (Concordia College) “Integrating Film into the Liberal Arts Classroom [with Richard Gilmore and Dawn Tommerdahl].” (Concordia College) “Teaching Jonah as a Liberal Arts Text.” (Concordia College) INSTITUTIONAL STUDY GUIDES (900 Student Users, Concordia College)

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2012 “The Citizenship Test: Here's the Laws That Made It.” Public forum lecture for Des Moines Pecha Kucha Night #8 (Des Moines, IA).

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2003 - Chair, First Year Experience Film Series Committee Concordia College 2002 - Member, First Year Experience Film Series Concordia College 2003 Committee; Member, First Year Composition Curriculum Committee


2016 Rater, Ethical Reasoning Assessment James Madison University 2015 Rater, Ethical Reasoning Assessment James Madison University Rater, General Education Critical Thinking Assess Rater, General Education Writing Assessment 2014 Rater, Ethical Reasoning Assessment James Madison University Rater, General Education Critical Thinking Assess 2011 Member, First Year Experican Critical Thinking Drake University Assessment Committee

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