Derek Handley

Assistant Professor

Teaching Interests

  • Rhetorical history
  • Argumentation
  • Rhetorical theory
  • African American Rhetoric and Literature

Research Interests

  • 19th and 20th century African American rhetoric and literature
  • publics and democracy
  • digital humanities
  • civic engagement
  • urban humanities.

Teaching Areas

I teach courses in spatial and urban rhetorics, argumentation, writing pedagogies, African American studies, and community engaged research.


  • PhD, Department of English, Carnegie Mellon University, 2018
  • MA, Department of English, Carnegie Mellon University, 2011
  • MFA, Department of English, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
  • BA, Department of English and Foreign Languages, Hampton University, 1994


Struggle for the City: Rhetorics of Citizenship and Resistance during the Black Freedom Movement, Penn State University Press (forthcoming Fall 2024)

“The Line Drawn”: Freedom Corner and Rhetorics of Place in Pittsburgh, 1960s-2000s Rhetoric Review Volume 38, Issue 2

“Stealth Veterans and Citizenship Pedagogy in the First-Year Writing Classroom” Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning Volume 16, Issue 2

“Of War and Words: a Conversation about the Humanities with General Martin Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” in collaboration with Noah Comet, US Naval Academy. Leadership and the Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 1