John Gagnon


Office hours:
M/W: 8am-9am

I am an Assistant Professor in the Rhetoric & Composition field. As a cultural rhetorician interested in human rights and the framing of human rights issues, my research program is rooted in a consideration of the ways in which rhetorical scholarship might contribute more directly to ongoing dialogue around pressing human rights issues in and between the humanities and other academic disciplines. I am keenly interested in formulating practical considerations for professional writers working within public writing contexts, like governmental organizations and nonprofits, who bear the responsibility of communicating knowledge about human rights issues to diverse audiences. For the 2018-2019 academic year, I am also the Director of the UH-Manoa Writing Center.    


  • 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).
  • 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