Lee M. Pierce (they/she)

Assistant Professor of Rhetorical Communication | Learn more at leempierce.com
Blake B 117
(585) 245-6333 (voicemail only)
piercel@geneseo.edu
they/them
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Lee Pierce

About Lee

I am a professor of rhetoric and communication at the State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo. I write, teach, and speak about the importance of rhetorical literacy and the threat that cliches pose to our collective future. My areas of specialty include stylistics, close reading, critical studies of race and ideology, and U.S. popular and political culture and counterculture.

I also sometimes show up in the mainstream media as an expert on rhetoric, speech, and communication. Check me out in the Washington PostHer Campus, LinkedIn Pulse, Hello Giggles, and ABC7 News. You can also find my TEDx Talks analyzing Beyoncé’s”Formation” and Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” on YouTube (along with a few attempts at stand-up comedy). Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramLinkedIn 

Look for my book Tense Times: Rhetoric and Syntax in US Political Culture coming out late 2022 from University of Alabama Press.

My Commitment to Students

I commit to a cliche-free classroom in which all policies are intentional, fair, and treat students as whole people with complex identities. We will aim for quality over quantity, deepening our understanding of a few core concepts through discussion and application. I commit to being accessible, reasonable, and the first to reach out. I commit to setting high expectations while preparing and supporting you to meet those expectations. 

I am faculty advisor to The Lamron student newspaper and Chromatic digital arts collective. I am also the intern supervisor for the SUNY Geneseo Communication Department’s social media interns as well as the thought leadership interns that work on my podcast, RhetoricLee Speaking.

Mentoring & Advising

I am faculty advisor to The Lamron student newspaper and Chromatic digital arts collective. I am also the intern supervisor for the SUNY Geneseo Communication Department’s social media interns as well as the thought leadership interns that work on my podcast, RhetoricLee Speaking.

In addition to advising and supervising internships, I also mentor individual students through directed studies and research assistantships. In 2018 and 2019, co-sponsored student projects received the Kyrwood Summer Research Fellowship Grant. I have sponsored undergraduate research presentations at the Eastern Communication Association’s Annual Conventions and the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conferences (SURC).

My aim as a mentor and advisor is that students are able to pursue projects of interest that contribute to the collective good while also cultivating a life-long long of learning and creativity.

Latest Publications

"Dave Chappelle's Sticks & Stones as Black Radical Tragic Comedy," Text & Performance Quarterly 42 (2), 2022

"Aisha's Broken #BlackGirlMagic in FATE: A Winx Saga," Dismantle Magazine, October 2021

“For the Time(d) Being: The Form Takes Hate in The Hate U Give, Women’s Studies in Communication 43 (3), 2020

"Schadenfreude over Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was more about cosmic justice than joy in another’s pain," The Conversation, October 14, 2020

Teaching Certifications

2019        Cultural Competency Certificate, SUNY Geneseo

2019        Effective Teaching Communication, Open SUNY

2018        Safe Zone Train-the-Trainer, OUT Alliance, Rochester, NY

2017        Safe Zone, SUNY Geneseo

2017        Diversity and Inclusion Certificate, University of Georgia

2015        Interdisciplinary Certificate in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Georgia

Office Hours Fall 2022

Mondays and Wednesdays 4:15p-5p in Blake B 117 or by appointment

Classes Taught

REGULAR SEMESTER COURSES (4 credits)

COMN 230 Rhetoric & Public Speaking I: Identity (offered every Fall)
Rhetoric is the oldest discipline in the world, predating science and philosophy—because it is concerned with the most essential human endeavor: using symbols to influence belief. This course helps students develop a rhetorical perspective on the world in which belief is an effect of persuasion. Students will explore a range of rhetorical theories surrounding identity and critique oratory about identity and self. Students will craft and deliver original speeches that focus on self and identity. Credits: 4(4-0). Offered every two years.
Pre-requisites: COMN 100.

COMN 231 Rhetoric & Public Speaking II: Power (offered every Spring)
Rhetoric is the oldest discipline in the world, predating science and philosophy—because it is concerned with the most essential human endeavor: using symbols to influence belief. This course helps students develop a rhetorical perspective on the world in which belief is an effect of persuasion. Students will explore a range of rhetorical theories surrounding power and critique oratory about power and privilege. Students will craft and deliver original speeches that focus on power and privilege. Credits: 4(4-0). Offered every two years.
Pre-requisites: COMN 100.

COMN 333: Rhetoric of Stand-Up Comedy
Offered infrequently and/or as a special topics in COMN 459 Critical Rhetoric. Watch, write, and perform comedy while learning theories of rhetoric and public speaking. Discuss topics like cancel culture, trigger warnings, hipster racism, and more.

COMN 458: Visual Rhetoric
As we become fully immersed in the so-called ‘visual age,’ we need to become critical consumers and producers of the media saturating our lives. This course engages the visual age while pushing back against the tendency to assume that “new” media cannot be studied through classic principles of style, composition, and design. This course introduces strategies for critiquing and producing visual media including juxtaposition, pose, figure, metaphor, composition, duration, rhythm, montage, and foregrounding. Students will write visual analysis and produce visual messaging. We approach visual culture as a site of convergence for power and privilege. Credits: 4(4-0). Offered every two years.
Pre-requisites: COMN 100, either COMN 230 or COMN 231

COMN 459: Critical Rhetoric
This course focuses on a topic or related group of topics relevant to a critical approach to rhetorical studies. Research in the areas of critical studies and rhetorical theory and criticism will be applied and discussed. The course may integrate both theoretical and practical applications. May be taken without limit for credit but only under different subtitles. Credits: 4(4-0). Offered every two years.
Pre-requisites: COMN 100, either COMN 230 or COMN 231

COMN 100: Human Communication (offered every semester but taught by rotating instructors)
A large lecture survey course and introduction to the major open to all students interested in Communication and those considering the Major/Minor.