John Gagnon


Office hours:
M: 12:30pm-1:30pm; W: 12:30pm-1:30pm

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.    


  • Book Project: Gagnon, John and Maria Novotny. Practices of Care: Reorienting Research in Rhetoric and Composition (manuscript under review).
  • Gagnon, John. "Writing With, Not About: Constellating Stories in Autoethnography." Self+Culture+Writing: Autoethnography for/as Writing Studies, edited by Rebecca Jackson and Jackie Grutsch Mckinney, Utah State UP (forthcoming 2021).
  • Gagnon, John and Maria Novotny. "Revisiting Research as Care: A Call to Decolonize Narratives of Trauma." Rhetoric Review, vol 39, no. 4, 2020.
  • Gagnon, John. "Rhetorical Liminality in Southeast Asian Media Representations of Human Trafficking." Media Culture in Transnational Asia: Convergences and Divergences, edited by Hyesu Park, Rutgers UP, 2020.
  • Gagnon, John. "Multiplicity, Language, and Survival: Rhetorical Movement in Trauma Survivor Narratives." Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric, vol. 10, no. 1/2, 2020.
  • Gagnon, John. "Rewriting Trauma: Survivor Rhetoric and Transformation in Human Trafficking Stories." Pacific Coast Philology, vol. 55, no. 1, 2020.
  • Gagnon, John. "Minerva Rising: The Pentagon's Weaponization of Rhetorical Knowledge." Rhet Ops: Rhetoric and Information Warfare, edited by Jim Ridolfo and Bill Hart-Davidson, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019.
  • Gagnon, John. "Teaching Rhetorical Segmentation as a Countermeasure to Post-Truth in the Composition Classroom." The Liminal: Interdisciplinary Journal of Technology in Education, vol. 1, no. 1, 2019.
  • 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, 2018. Reprinted in Best of the Journals in Rhetoric and Composition 2019, edited by Jessica Pauszek et al, Parlor Press, 2019.
  • Gagnon, John. "Beyond/Less Than: The Potential Implications of Transhumanist Rhetoric on Human Exploitation." Interdisciplinary Humanities, vol. 35, no.1, 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, no. 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, no. 1, 2009.

Areas of Interest

cultural rhetorics, human rights rhetoric, embodiment/embodied rhetorics, visual rhetoric, composition studies/theory, relational pedagogy, research methodologies (incl. ethnographic research and oral history methods), ethics, community engagement.


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


Spring Semester 2021
  • ENG-409: Studies: Comp/Rhet/Language (Human Rights Rhetoric)
  • ENG-709: Seminar in Rhetoric (Embodied Rhetorics)

Fall Semester 2020
  • ENG-306: Argumentative Writing
  • ENG-308: Technical Writing

Spring Semester 2020
  • ENG-405: Teaching Composition
  • ENG-497: Career Decisions for ENG Majors

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

Fall Semester 2019
  • ENG-306: Argumentative Writing
  • ENG-605: Theory/Practice of Teaching Composition