Chris Mays, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Chris Mays


Chris Mays teaches rhetoric and writing. His current research explores the implications of complexity and systems theory in various contexts within rhetoric and writing studies.

Specifically, he is interested in how writing functions in complex and dynamic environments and also in the phenomenon of interlocutors holding certain beliefs in spite of seemingly overwhelming counter-evidence - commonly referred to as the phenomenon of "stubbornness."

Following these interests, his current projects highlight connections between writing studies and systems theory, between Kenneth Burke and posthumanism(s), and between stability and change in public discourse.

Research interests

  • Writing studies
  • Visual rhetoric
  • Cultural and public rhetorics
  • Composition pedagogy
  • Posthuman studies
  • New materialisms
  • Complexity and systems theory
  • Neurorhetoric

Courses taught

  • Multimodal Writing and Visual Rhetoric: Text, Image, Culture
  • Advanced Nonfiction Writing
  • Renaissance Through Contemporary Rhetoric
  • Understanding Arguments
  • Professional Communications
  • Rhetorical Histories of Scientific Communication: Theories of Sustainability and Ecology
  • Persuasion, Propaganda, and the Rhetoric of American Social Policy


  • "From ‘Flows' to ‘Excess': On Stability, Stubbornness, and Blockage in Rhetorical Ecologies." Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture 19 (2015).
  • "Priming Terministic Inquiry: Toward a Methodology of Neurorhetoric." Co-authored with Julie Jung. Rhetoric Review 31.1 (2012): 41-59.


  • Ph.D., English Studies (specialization in rhetoric and composition), Illinois State University
  • M.A., English, Case Western Reserve University (Ohio)
  • B.A., English, University of Illinois at Chicago