Leslie Harris

Professor, Undergraduate Program Director
 Johnston Hall 226

Rhetorical Leadership Faculty Member


PhD, Communication Studies, Northwestern University
MA, Communication Studies, Northwestern University
BS, Communication Studies and Gender Studies, Northwestern University

Research Interests

My research focuses on rhetoric in public culture, especially as it pertains to representations of gender. My current research centers on nineteenth century representations of motherhood and family in legal, political, and social contexts. I have a background in rhetorical criticism, rhetorical history, and argument theory.

Courses Taught

Commun 335: Critical Analysis of Communication
Commun 436: Recent Rhetorical Theory (Sample Syllabus, pdf 224kb)
Commun 472: Rhetorics of Radicalism in the U.S. (Sample Syllabus, pdf 101kb)
Commun 651: Topics: Rhetorics of Radicalism in the U.S. (Sample Syllabus, pdf 122kb)
Commun 701: Critical Analysis of Communication
Commun 765: Argument Theory and Practice (Sample Syllabus, pdf 91kb)
Commun 874: Rhetoric of Women’s Rights in the U.S. (Sample Syllabus, pdf 510kb)

Selected Publications

Harris, L. J., & Harris, A. (2020) What the Threat of Gun Violence Has Taught a Generation of American Children. Gender Policy Report, University of Minnesota.
Harris, L. J. (2019) Home-Making, Nation-Making: American Womanhood in Progressive Era Presidential Rhetoric. Heidt, S. J., & Stuckey, M. E. (Eds). Reading the Presidency: Advances in Presidential Rhetoric . New York: Peter Lang.
Lawler McDonough, M. , Marks, L. , & Harris, L. J. (2017) “A Truly Inspiring Notion”: A Case-Study of Project-Based Graduate Service-Learning. Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement , 8(2).
Harris, L. J. (2014) State of the Marital Union: Rhetoric, Identity, and Nineteenth-Century Marriage Controversies. Waco, TX: Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.
Harris, L. J., & Kim, S. (2014) ‘True’ Americans and ‘Violent’ Immigrants: Making Sense of Wife Murder in Chicago, 1870–1910. Immigrants & Minorities: Historical Studies in Ethnicity, Migration, and Diaspora .
Harris, L. J., & Allen, M. R. (2011) The Paradox of Authentic Identity: Mormon Women and the Nineteenth Century Polygamy Controversy. Rowland, R. (Ed). Reasoned Argument and Social Change , 340-347. Washington D.C.: Reasoned Argument and Social Change.
Harris, L. J., & Smith, K. (2010) Feminists for Life and the Appropriation of History. Gouran, D. S. (Ed). The Functions of Argument and Social Context , 158-163. Washington D.C.: Washington D.C.: National Communication Association.
Harris, L. J. (2010) Law as Father: Metaphors of Family in Nineteenth-Century Law. Communication Studies , 61, 526-542.
Harris, L. J. (2009) Motherhood, Race, and Gender: The Rhetoric of Women’s Antislavery Activism in the Liberty Bell Giftbook. Women’s Studies in Communication , 32(3), 293-319.
Harris, L. J. (2006) Torn from Her Very Bosom: Melodramatic Argument in Nineteenth Century Law. Riley, P. (Ed). Engaging Argument , 293-298. Washington: National Communication Association.