Bryan  J.  McCann 
Assistant Professor  - Rhetoric & Cultural Studies
Bachelor's Degree(s): Illinois State University (2002)
Master's Degree: Illinois State University (2004)
PhD: The University of Texas at Austin (2009)
Phone: (225) 578-6813
Office: 227 Coates Hall


Curriculum Vita

My work broadly engages the intersection of rhetorical and cultural studies, with an emphasis on the racialized and gendered politics of crime and violence in public culture. My published scholarship appears in the journals Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies; Critical Studies in Media Communication; Communication, Culture, & Critique; the edited volume Communication Activism; and other international, national, and regional outlets.


My teaching and scholarship draw heavily on my involvement with community organizing efforts concerning the prison-industrial complex, organized labor, and other social justice issues. In addition to appearing on local newscasts and the national program Democracy Now!, I have written articles about the death penalty for the online periodicals AlterNet and Jurist.


I also gave a TEDx talk in 2014 on race and criminal justice.


I live in New Orleans with my partner, Ashley, and our two English Pointer mixes, Harvey Milk and Cap'n Jack Sparrow.

Area of Interest

Rhetorical theory and criticism, cultural studies, Marxist and Post-Marxist thought, race and racism, gender and sexuality, social movements/communication activism, rhetoric and violence, prison-industrial complex, popular music (hip-hop)

Awards & Honors

Outstanding or Top Three Paper awards in Critical and Cultural Studies, Rhetoric and Public Address, Intercultural Communication, and the Kenneth Burke Society; Northwest Communication Association Human Rights Award (2008); National Communication Association Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award (2009); Western States Communication Association B. Aubrey Fisher Outstanding Journal Article Award (2014); National Communication Association Critical and Cultural Studies Division New Investigator Award (2014)

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Articles


"On Whose Ground? Racialized Violence and the Prerogative of "Self-Defense" in the Trayvon Martin Case." Western Journal of Communication 78 (2014): 480-99. (Recepient of B. Aubrey Fisher Outstanding Journal Article Award, Western States Communication Association). Link to full text.


"Entering the Darkness: Rhetorics of Transformation and Gendered Violence in Patty Jenkins's Monster." Women's Studies in Communication 37 (2014): 1-21 (Lead article). Link to full text.


"Redemption in the Radical and Neoliberal Imaginations: The Saga of Stanley "Tookie" Williams," Communication, Culture, and Critique 7 (2014): 92-111. Link to full text.


"Affect, Black Rage, and False Alternatives in the Hip-Hop Nation," Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies, 13 (2013): 408-18. Link to full text.


"Contesting the Mark of Criminality: Race, Place, and the Prerogative of Violence in N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton,Critical Studies in Media Communication 29 (2012): 367-86. Link to full text.


“Turning Silence into Speech and Action: Prison Activism and the Pedagogy of Empowered Citizenship,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 8 (2011): 331-52 (Lead article). Co-authored with Stephen John Hartnett and Jennifer K. Wood. Link to full text.


“Genocide as Representative Anecdote: Crack Cocaine, the CIA, and the Nation of Islam in Gary Webb’s ‘Dark Alliance,’” Western Journal of Communication 74 (2010): 396-416. Link to full text.


“Therapeutic and Material <Victim>hood: Ideology and the Struggle for Meaning in the Illinois Death Penalty Controversy,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 4 (2007): 382-401. Link to full text.


“Fighting the Prison-Industrial Complex: A Call to Communication and Cultural Studies Scholars to Change the World,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 4 (2007): 402-20. Group authored piece with fellow members of the Prison Communication, Activism, Research, and Education (PCARE) writing collective. Link to full text.


Book Chapters, Invited Articles, etc.


"'A Fate Worse than Death': Reform, Abolition, and Life without Parole in Anti-Death Penalty Discourse," in Working for Justice: A Handbook of Prison Education and Activism, eds. Stephen John Hartnett, Eleanor Novek, Jennifer K. Wood (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013), 187-202. Link to book description.


 “Queering Expertise: Counterpublics, Social Change, and the Corporeal Dilemmas of LGBTQ Equality,” Social Epistemology 25 (2011), 249-62. Link to full text.


“Saving Kenneth Foster: Speaking with Others in the Belly of the Beast,” in Communication Activism, Volume 3: Struggling for Social Justice Amidst Difference, eds. Lawrence R. Frey and Kevin M. Carragee (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Forthcoming), 263-90. Co-authored with Jennifer Asenas, Kathleen Feyh, and Dana Cloud. Link to full text.


“The Kairos of the Vanguard,” Conference Proceedings of the Alta Conference on Argumentation, 2007, 147-57. Co-authored with Dana L. Cloud and Kathleen E. Feyh. Link to full text.