John Gagnon


Office hours:
M/W: 9am-10am

I am an Assistant Professor in the Rhetoric & Composition field. As a cultural rhetorician who does community-engaged work, my research program considers the ways in which rhetorical scholarship can contribute to ongoing dialogue around pressing cultural issues. I am keenly interested in developing professional writers who work in public writing contexts, like governmental organizations and nonprofits. For the 2018-2019 academic year, I was the Director of the UH-Manoa Writing Center. My co-authored essay (with Dr. Maria Novotny), "Research as Care," was selected for inclusion as a reprint in The Best of the Journals in Rhetoric and Composition 2019 for its innovative and transformative contributions to the field.    


  • Novotny, Maria and John Gagnon. "Research as Care: A Shared Ownership Approach to Rhetorical Research in Trauma Communities." Reflections: Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing and Service Learning. Vol. 18, No.1 (Spring/Summer 2018).
  • Gagnon, John. "Beyond/Less Than: The Potential Implications of Transhumanist Rhetoric on Human Exploitation." Interdisciplinary Humanities. Vol. 35, No.1 (Spring 2018).
  • Gagnon, John. “How Cultural Rhetorics Can Change the Conversation: Towards New Communication Spaces to Address Human Trafficking.” POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis & Invention. Vol. 12, No.2 (2017).
  • Smith, Trixie, Katie Manthey, John Gagnon, Ezekiel Choffel, Wonderful Faison, Scotty Secrist, and Phil Bratta. "Reflections on/of Embodiment: Bringing Our Whole Selves to Class." Feminist Teacher. Vol. 28, No. 1 (2017).
  • Gagnon, John. “Rhetoric Matters: Race & Slavery in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.” Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric & Society. Vol. 5.3 (2016).
  • Gagnon, John. Review of Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI (Jessica Pliley, 2014, Harvard Press). Interdisciplinary Humanities. Vol. 33, No.2 (2016)
  • Liddick, Eric & John Gagnon. “Striving for Peace & Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: The ICC as a Creative Solution to Conflict.” Journal of War Crimes, Genocide, & Crimes Against Humanity. Vol. 3 (2009): 39-88.
I have forthcoming projects on weaponized rhetoric, constellational autoethnography, and rhetorical liminality in anti-trafficking campaigns in SE Asia.  

Areas of Interest

cultural rhetorics, human rights rhetoric, embodiment/embodied rhetorics, visual rhetoric, composition studies/theory, relational pedagogy, research methodologies, ethics, ethnographic research/oral history methods, community engagement, decolonial theory, indigenous theories, feminist theory.


  • PhD, Michigan State University
  • JD, Tulane University
  • MS, Tulane University
  • BA, Andrews University


Spring Semester 2019
  • ENG-405: Teaching Composition
  • ENG-705: Seminar in Composition Studies: Emerging Issues & Perspectives in Community-Based Pedagogies

Fall Semester 2019
  • ENG-308: Technical Writing
  • ENG-605: Theory/Practice of Teaching Composition

Fall Semester 2018
  • ENG-306: Argumentative Writing I

Spring Semester 2018
  • ENG-300: Introduction to Rhetoric
  • ENG-306: Argumentative Writing I

Fall Semester 2017
  • ENG-100: Composition I
  • ENG-100: Composition I