Laura Michael Brown


Office:449 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA


Courses I am Teaching:

ENGL 250: Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Communication
ENGL 310: Rhetorical Analysis
ENGL 418: Seminar in Argumentation: Rhetoric and Public Memory
SP CM 497: Speech Communication Capstone
ENGL 602C: Research Methods: Rhetorical Analysis


Ph.D., English (Rhetoric and Composition), Pennsylvania State University
M.A., English (Rhetoric and Composition), Pennsylvania State University
B.A., English, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Research Areas:

Rhetorical theory and criticism, public memory theory, rhetorics of race and racism, rhetorics of space and place, feminist historiography.

Determining what and how we choose to remember is a complicated rhetorical process with significant public consequences. How we publicly remember is often entangled with questions about power and values (about what is or is not important) and questions about identity (about who “we” were, are, or might become as a people). My research focuses on public memories surrounding race—from celebrations of communities of color and activist movements to episodes of racist violence and experiences of systemic injustice. I study those moments when communities disagree about how to remember their racial pasts; in particular, I examine how ideas about place and regional identity drive those disagreements.

About My Teaching:

As I see it, a fundamental project of rhetorical studies is recognizing how power shapes and misshapes communication. Through careful attention to context, I teach students to recognize that communication norms are rhetorically constructed and to consider who is/is not served by those norms. I carry that same attention to context into my classrooms. As my students change from semester to semester, I work to recognize the needs of individual students and to build community within each new group.

Recent Publications:

“Flyover states, No-Man’s Land, and the Bible Belt: Introducing Critical Regionalism for Rhetorical Analysis.” Communication Teacher vol. 34, no. 3, 2020, pp. 198-203.

“Remembering Silence: Bennett College Women and the 1960 Greensboro Student Sit-ins.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly vol. 48, no. 1, 2018, pp. 49-70.

Outside of the University:

I love reading fiction and spending time outside. I’m usually trying to teach myself something new about knitting, quilting, sewing, or embroidery. My partner and I have three cats, and I enjoy the challenge of teaching them to do tricks.